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Bubbly Benson biker to be banished

Posted by on October 4th, 2005 at 10:40 am

Benson Hotel bike lane, Portland OR

According to this story in today’s Portland Tribune, this creative bike lane stencil in front of the Benson Hotel will not be around for long.

“It will be removed. I don’t want any taxpayer-paid infrastructure to promote drinking and driving, even if it is riding your bike,” said Sam Adams, the city’s transportation commissioner.

I’m glad Sam Adams is taking a stand on this. In one of this summer’s fatal bike/car crashes investigators found that the bicyclist involved had been drinking and that this might have had something to do with the crash. Drinking while biking is really no joke and it shouldn’t be the subject of a bike lane stencil. I just hope this doesn’t put an end to our bike lane stencil tradition.

For more photos of Portland’s bike lane stencils check here, here, and here.

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  • H October 4, 2005 at 2:02 pm

    Perhaps he should be replaced by an image of a city commissioner with his pants on too tight. Some folks need to loosen up.

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  • Joe Johnson October 4, 2005 at 5:41 pm

    Mr. Sam Adams,

    Do NOT waste more of our taxpayers’ money by scraping up this stencil art. Here’s your solution: draw a circle around the figure and put a slash through it, then stencil the letters MADD underneath, I am sure someone will do this for the price of a can of spraypaint. I will.

    Sincerely,
    Joe Johnson

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  • Mark Lear October 4, 2005 at 7:10 pm

    Despite the quote attributed to me in the Tribune, I’m really pleased that Commissioner Adams has made the right decision to remove the martini glass — it is not a big deal, but is the right thing to do. My quote in the newspaper did not reflect my comments to Jennifer Anderson. I made it really clear that if it was up to me, I would remove the martini glass. This is too serious of an issue to send a mix message.

    I know that we have tons of great bicycle stencils that show a bicyclist doing things we would never encourage people to do when riding a bike — like reading a book, playing a saxophone, playing golf, or playing tennis. I also know that it wasn’t the intent of the maintenance workers to encourage drinking and bike riding.

    That said, I also know that at least 5 of our last nine bicycle deaths in Portland involved DUII. I also know that a number of national studies have indicated that riding a bike while intoxicated significantly increases your chance of being in serious crash.

    Bottom line, Commissioner Adams deserves credit for championing Traffic Safety more than any Commissioner in recent history. I look forward to working with him and our other community partners to convince the public that we need to get serious about real solutions to our drunk driving problems.

    Mark Lear
    Traffic Investigations Manager
    City of Porland Office of Transportation

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  • Duane October 4, 2005 at 8:14 pm

    As an outsider (Medford) even though there seems a tendancy to for bikers to lapse into the bad habits and dangers of automobile drivers (drinking & driving in this case) I am encouraged that a discussion is even taking place in Portland. This is a great opportunity to achieve and maintain a higher standard than cars ever hoped to achieve. (Though that may not be saying a whole lot.) Portland is a beautiful town and (pardon the melodrama) now is the time to seize the moment.

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  • Paul October 4, 2005 at 11:20 pm

    Ok, I appreciate the issue of drinking and driving. But this seems a little severe of a response. I mean if cyclists or motorists are taking their cues from stencil art I think we are facing larger issues. If stencils are to be normative then why are all the stencils white males?

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  • Kevin October 5, 2005 at 8:47 am

    I agree with removing the glass. How would we, as bicyclists, feel if the image had a car instead of a bike?

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  • West Cougar October 5, 2005 at 9:42 am

    It is pretty simple. Either one is a humorless bore that thinks intellect means seeing both sides of every issue, no matter how stupid, or one is not.

    As for whether I’d feel differently if the image were a car, this is the stupid thinking! Cars are not bikes. Car drivers kill. In quite large numbers. That joke’s been long ago ruined.

    Say it 10 times, “bikes are not cars.”

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  • H October 5, 2005 at 1:04 pm

    On second thought, maybe a cyclist with a U-lock in his hand would be appropriate.

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  • hanna October 5, 2005 at 3:31 pm

    should maybe they also remove the headphones from the bicon(s) (mentioned in the article) wearing them? i mean, bikes are vehicles and riding whilst ipodding is (last i checked) illegal and dangerous.

    btw, wasn’t the I(ntoxication) in the recent DUI-related bicycle deaths always attributed to the D(river) rather than the cyclist?

    also btw, there’s a blond female bicon on the (E) Hawthorne Bridge approach.

    grumpily yours.

    ps. i like the martini bicon and would personally never interpret it to mean that i should drink and bicycle.

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  • B October 6, 2005 at 8:49 am

    I say poo on the people who got this removed, and on those who are now advocating the removal of other icons because – well who knows why.

    Does anyone truly think that this sign was an overt or even defacto endorsement by the city for drunken cycling? Should we rip up those stencils that show people – like Mark pointed out – playing tennis or a sax while on the bike because they show acts that shouldn’t be done whilst riding? Does anyone seriously think that the city is advocating tennis-biking with that one?

    Funny, I always thought these stencils were just supposed to be funny variations of the standard biker sign. I always thought they were supposed to be reflective of the TYPES OF PEOPLE who cycle in our city, not of what you should do on a bike.

    So again, poo. Poo.

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  • Team Midnight October 6, 2005 at 10:26 am

    Team Midnight is rather fond of a little biking and drinking. Oh, there are rules. You gotta be really careful and if you can’t hold back, not go too far with the drinking, can’t get home, can’t ride cautiously, then you ain’t part of Team Midnight.

    Team Midnight supports the martini glass (or any beverage, really) in the hand of the cyclist.

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  • [...] Then, who can forget the infamous Martini removal episode (here’s the aftermath)? [...]

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