Portland Bus Driver Says Let There Be Light…on Bikes

Usually when we talk about someone having a windshield perspective on this blog, we don’t mean it as a good thing. But today, courtesy of Streetsblog Network member Bike Portland,
we bring you a windshield perspective that is actually quite helpful.
TriMet bus operator Dan Christenson has written a guest column about
how happy he is to see more bicyclists using lights at night — because
it means he sees them so much better:

311205200_5adb8c6f59_m.jpgPhoto by Jonathan Maus of Bike Portland.

In
the last 6 months I have seen a huge jump in the percentage of
bicyclists who are using lights at night. No joke, starting about
midway through last summer the number of glowing bikes has gone way up.
That has prevented many of what I like to call “OH MY GOD!!” moments.
I’ve asked around for other drivers to pay attention and they also
confirm my observation, a few have even given me head counts….

[W]hat is super fantastic is the almost arms-race-like growth
in the quality of the lights. I’m talking lighted vest, helmets,
gloves, undergarments…(just kidding). Bars of lights, spinning lights,
pulsing lights, double-pulsing lights,
cylon-light-bouncing-back-and-forth lights, pulsing and moving lights.
Hey, I thought I was high tech when I got a light that went on my
helmet, but I am falling way behind on the light race. It’s stunning,
dazzling and most of all it’s way safe.

There are times
that I can see bikes further away then cars. I can look up in the dead
of night and say “that, my friend, way way way up there is a
bicyclist.”

Elsewhere around the network: Transit Miami looks at some bleak statistics on cycling safety in Florida; the Oregonian’s Hard Drive column reports on Platewire.com, a site where dangerous motorists get called out by license plate number; and Urban Review STL provides a wheelchair perspective, shall we say, on the obstacle presented by sidewalks without curb cuts.

  • Ed Greenberg

    Clearly there are two (or more) kinds of bike riders. There’s a “rider community” of people who study bike safety, understand that bikes are part of a “system”, expect equal treatment, blog, etc.

    Then there are folks who see a bicycle as an extension of themselves. They just hop on and go. Many of them have no clue as to the large body of ideas and memes that surround bicycling. They are just trying to get around, probably because they cannot afford, can’t drive, or just don’t have, a car.

    I’m not sure how we can reach those people.

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