A picture of a handwritten note stuck on the windscreen of a car parked in the middle of a bike lane telling cyclists to go around and that the driver doesn't care about where they're parking has captured the attention of Boston residents.
The photo, shared on the r/boston subreddit, is a screenshot of a submission to the BOS:311 app, used to report non-emergency municipal issues, such as illegal parking. From the photo, it can be seen that the car was parked in Roxbury, a neighbourhood in Boston with the words: "I don’t care that I’m in the bike lane. Just go around me!!"
While road.cc has covered countless parking incidents in the bike lane, this one probably stands out because of the unique nature of both the intentional placing of the vehicle as well as the response led by citizen reporting, plus the fact it has gone viral since.
The BOS:311 app is flooded with people reporting illegally parked cars, often many in bus and bike lanes.
User Jack_Jacques wrote: "Hop off your bike, grease up the wheels and roll it up the back, over the roof and right down the windshield and hood. Leave a note saying you went over instead of around."
One person said: "Steal the wheels from the passenger side and add a note that says 'No worries, you're a bike now, welcome to the lane'," reminding everyone of the sketch by Tim Robinson's 'Biker from Another Planet' (two motorbikes with a little house in the middle?!). Another person noted: "Bet they’d care if a bike just so happened to break off their mirror while trying to go around them."
In fact, the official reddit account of the Boston citizen reporting website/app was forced to give a much-need reminder to everyone: "Please don't park in the bike lane everyone".
While almost everyone was in unanimous agreement of the driver being a myriad of offensive words, one person remarked: "As much as I hate c***y drivers, I hate a society in which we rat each other out even more."
However, there was a thoughtful reply right below it: "I mean, just a temporary bit of the latter can help a lot with the former. We certainly don't rely so much on 'rats' to address most crimes, because by now, those crimes are taken seriously and actually enforced against -- unlike this one. Solution? That we take this crime seriously and actually enforce against it."
Despite the alleged poor state of cycling infrastructure in the United States, Boston is one of the cities in the country which has recently taken to implementing active travel policies and installing segregated bike lanes.
The usage of cycles has also seen a bump in the city since the Covid lockdown. According to data from Axios, the number of average daily bike trips per 1,000 in the Boston area rose from 26 to 35 between 2019 and 2022.
However, as is the case here in the UK, the access to bike lanes didn't come without friction. road.cc reported back in 2010 that cycle paths in the city were removed by city authorites just weeks after they had been put in place, raising questions about the entrenched car use and people's acceptance to understanding that increased bike usage helps the community as a whole.
By the looks of it, things seemed to have improved in Boston since then. However, as cycling campaigners would tell you, it's a long road.
In 2017, Boston residents in the city turned a new leaf in creative campaigning, putting up eight huge cartoon cut-outs to send a message to the then-mayor to improve infrastructure and to highlight to drivers the role they can play in keeping cyclists safe.
A little over two years ago, in a press conference in Roxbury no less, Mayor Michelle Wu announced that the city would undertake a major expansion in the city's network of separated bike lanes, with a goal to put 50 per cent of the city's population within a three-minute walk of a protected bike lane within the next three years.
"We are adding 9.4 miles of new bike lanes by the end of next year, to mend key gaps and expand our network," she said Mayor Wu, adding that the plan also promised to add 100 new stations to the Bluebikes network — a city-wide bike sharing system, similar to the Manchester's Bee Network, and also new speed humps and raised crosswalks to calm traffic around the city.
Adwitiya joined road.cc in 2023 as a news writer after graduating with a masters in journalism from Cardiff University. His dissertation focused on active travel, which soon threw him into the deep end of covering everything related to the two-wheeled tool, and now cycling is as big a part of his life as guitars and football. He has previously covered local and national politics for Voice Wales, and also likes to writes about science, tech and the environment, if he can find the time. Living right next to the Taff trail in the Welsh capital, you can find him trying to tackle the brutal climbs in the valleys.