Health and Wellness

How to Bike in Boston Without Everyone Hating You: A guide.

Biking to work to reduce your carbon footprint? We’re all for it—so long as you’re not a jerk about it. You know the type: The cyclist zipping through traffic, sans helmet, headphones in and the volume turned up. Yeah, that guy’s a jerk. To avoid becoming that two-wheeling stereotype, take a peek at our guide for being a likeable, totally-not-a-jerk urban biker.

First, brush up on our city bike laws—especially these basics:

  • You’re required to follow all traffic laws.
  • You should always ride with the flow of traffic (unless otherwise indicated).
  • Hand signals are mandatory when turning.
  • Helmets must be worn by children under the age of 17.
  • Bikes are allowed on all public rights-of-way except limited access highways. (Remember this?)

Now, get to know a few rules of the road that, while not enforceable by law, every cyclist should follow:

  • Riding on the sidewalk is permitted in Boston, but the city (and pretty much every pedestrian ever) encourages street use. Translation: Get off the sidewalk.
  • If you’re over 17, you aren’t required to wear a helmet—but just know that if you don’t, everyone on the road hates you.
  • While you’re strapping on that helmet, throw on a shirt and reflectors while you’re at it. Road burn isn’t a good look on anyone.
  • En route jamming to your Spotify playlist? Fine by us—just pull out that left earbud (that’s the ear facing traffic), and turn down the volume. Heck, they even make single earbuds for just this purpose.
  • Cyclists are allowed to ride side-by-side so long as cars can get by. But here’s the thing, no car is getting by without its driver suffering a mild heart attack in the process. So do everyone a favor and get behind your buddy, single-file style.

For more rules of the road, head here.

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About the Author

Keriann Coffey

A clothing-obsessed, double-latte-dependent editor who enjoys extra blue-cheese-stuffed olives (aka free snacks) in her Stephi’s martinis and Sunday strolls on Castle Island with her sister’s dog (it doesn’t count as dognapping if you’re related).

Comments

  1. Gus Burti says

    Here’s my list of people I don’t want to associate with:
    Trumpers
    Bicycle commuters
    Vegans
    Pitbull owners
    Bernie Bros
    Intersectional Feminists
    Marathon Runners
    Cross Fitters

  2. Bryan says

    How about be aware that you are not a motor vehicle? You should not be sitting on your bike in the middle of a lane of traffic waiting for the light to turn green.

    If you hear vehicles behind you but no one is passing you, take a look behind you and if there is a conga line of traffic behind you, pull over and let them pass.

    If you can adhere to these or the other rules in the article move to Cambridge!!