MassBike Launches “Same Roads, Same Rules” Campaign

bikes and carsIn response to the sharp rise in bicycle commuters and recreational bicyclists, MassBike, in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, the Department of Conservation and Recreation, and the Department of Public Health, has launched a new safety campaign to educate both bicyclists and motorists about the role of bicycles on the state’s roads. The centerpiece of the Same Road, Same Rules campaign is an educational website at

The Same Roads, Same Rules website focuses on the most important things both motorists and bicyclists need to know about the role of bicycles on the road. Visitors can explore safety tips for bikes or cars, detailed information about state laws, or common myths and misconceptions from both bicyclist and motorist perspectives.

Even though winter is upon us, we want to keep bicycling in the public consciousness year-round. With our agency partners, we will be expanding the reach of the campaign next Spring with a major media blitz, street teams, and more. We encourage everyone to spread the word to all the bikers and drivers they know, and to post comments on the Same Roads, Same Rules website – we may use your ideas to make the campaign even better!

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8 Responses to MassBike Launches “Same Roads, Same Rules” Campaign

  1. Phil Lindsay December 7, 2009 at 2:51 pm #

    Are we sure we want the same rules as drivers? They get to go on limited access highways and have a lot different safety needs than someone on a bike. I know in other states the recognize that bikes don’t necessarily want or need (?) to stay at all red lights until they turn. Smal local one way streets pose another issue. Whatever, I hope this doesn’t lead to registering bicyclists like drivers. Disaster!

    • Shane December 8, 2009 at 10:34 am #

      Phil I would suggest you take a look at our recent bicycle safety law that we got passed, it actually repealed registering bicyclists (something that had previously been in the law books) I think you will be happy with the changes we have made to keep cyclists safe on the streets.

  2. richw December 11, 2009 at 12:56 am #

    generally, i agree with the concept of “same road, same rules.” if cyclists use the roadways responsibly we get more respect from motorists. however, undoubtedly, there are dozens of situations where following the strict letter of the law is impractical and sometimes less safe. for instance, many country roads i ride on are narrow and have no shoulder. it is debatable whether we cyclists should hug the right side of the road as the car’s side mirror whizzes by our heads or take the lane and put up with their angry response. hence, i have reservations about the conclusions that motorists will come to from this educational compaign. i believe that motorists will miss the point of your slogan. they will focus on what they perceive as cyclists ignoring the rules and place blame on us. a more direct statement of our goals would be “respect bicyclists equally.” i wonder if other massbike member agree with my thoughts.

  3. Ken Cheeseman December 28, 2009 at 12:12 am #

    While I support MassBike’s efforts to promote cycling safety while riding on the road I’m not sold on this phrase as sending exactly the right message. In fact, we already do not follow exactly the same “rules” nor does the law always apply equally to cycling as it does to driving so it’s confusing even to the informed cyclist.

    I think automobile drivers will interpret it from their own perspective and feed more fuel to the constant complaint of cyclists who run reds and stop signs. The phrase seems designed to send an equal message of road safety responsibility to cyclists as it does to motorists, which works in theory but given how vastly outnumbered, out powered and outweighed the bicyclist is a simpler straight forward reminder to drivers that “Bicyclists have a right to use full lane”. Or “Respect Bicyclists’ Right to the Road” would make me feel like someone was truly watching my back.

    • Shane December 29, 2009 at 12:16 pm #

      Hello Ken

      The same roads same rules campaign, combined with our recent success in getting the bicyclist safety law passed, and our upcoming 2010 legislation agenda is designed to do just what you say. Level the law to protect everyone, and give everyone the same rights on the road. We understand that it is a work in progress, and we hope that you support us as we push hard to address these concerns.

  4. Ken Cheeseman December 31, 2009 at 12:20 am #

    Dear Shane,

    You can count on my support for MassBike and the efforts being made on behalf of cyclists and their use of the roadways.

    But I must admit that I find the efforts of organizations like the Livable Streets Alliance, with which I know MassBike occasionally works in partnership, to be far more progressive and forward thinking.

    Encouraging cycling safety- like helmet use, responsible riding, using lights and LAB instruction are all well and good and will go some way in protecting those who are currently cyclists and those just joining the ranks but the larger issues of infrastructure changes and the cultural changes necessary before bicycles will more widely be considered as an alternative means of transport to the auto require a broader vision than I feel “Same Road Same Rules” currently includes.

    As you say, “it is a work in progress” and perhaps a smaller more focused effort like “Same Roads, Same Rules”, which makes motorists feel less threatened and puts an onus of responsibility on the cyclist will win over a driver or two that might otherwise be inclined to run a cyclist off the road or cause a legislator to vote in favor of legislation curtailing a cyclists rights.

    Then again, it may simply draw advocacy energy away from the obvious infrastructure failures that go hand in hand with an autocentric model of transportation planning as we continue down the road of getting cyclists to “play by the rules” before we will be considered legitimate enough to ask for what we really need.

    Ken Cheeseman

    • Shane December 31, 2009 at 1:31 pm #

      Hello Ken

      Thanks for your support, if you are curious MassBike is currently and in the past has worked on many infrastructure problems. Same Roads Same Rules should not be seen as our only effort, in fact it is but a small component of our overall strategy. If you would like to review some of our past infrastructure work, our current work, or our plans for next year simply follow the following links. I think the place we failed the most in the past was that we were very bad about telling people what were were up to. Something our new communication strategy has been working to fix.

      MassBike and the MBTA
      MassBike’s Calendar of public meetings (let your voice be heard on important infrastructure issues!)
      A selection of various projects we have worked on this year (here and here)
      our plans for more infrastructure next year
      A history of some of our past accomplishments

      We feel that a strong safety campaign, combined with a strong legislative push, and a strong effort for better infrastructure will have the best results. We will continue to utilize this full court press approach in the coming year, and we are excited to be able to more effectively let you and everyone else know about it :) We applaud Livable Streets, and hope to continue are strong partnership with them moving forward. They are great and we love working with them.

      If you see a place where we could be more effective, or more have some progressive ideas we would be overjoyed to hear from you. It is people like you that help us do even more! Thanks for taking time to comment and have a happy new year.

  5. grouchycyclist May 17, 2010 at 8:53 pm #

    I have a major problem with this campaign. Sure, the little phrase is catchy, but it creates the wrong impression among motorists that there is equality between cars/trucks and bikes. This is incorrect. While there is congruence among the rules, there is not equality. Per MGL 85, there is a hierarchy and cars/trucks are at the bottom of the pile. That fact needs to be pounded into the head of every motorist. Motorists in Massachusetts have turned the courtesy that cyclists extend to them into an entitlement and will not give it back until they are forced by legal and social pressure. I am sick of being honked at, screamed at, swerved at while riding my bicycle on the side of the road. I am sick of having stuff thrown at me. I am sick of being screamed at to “ride on the #$%$#@% sidewalk!”. I am sick of having cars swerve into the opposite land and then swerve back and jamming on their brakes in front of me even after I have take the lane. I am sick of cars violating the 4 foot law. I am sick of being cut off on turns. And this “same roads/same rules” campaign is a sell out.