View Full Version : Dollar store flashlights to help the poor...

07-28-2008, 10:14 PM
I live near the Beaverton Transit MAX station. I find all kinds of after dark cyclists riding without lights.

I've become adept at stopping some of them and telling them about how riding w/out lights after dark is a fast way of getting nailed with a ticket, even if you don't get hit. ($125 no headlight/$125 no taillight/$90 no helmet (underage)... getting the ride to the police station, calling your parents, explaining to them what you were doing out, paying $340 in tickets, etc...)

I've thought about buying a small supply of dollar store flashlights and giving/selling them to the people who I stop... perhaps even giving/selling a patch of red retroreflective film to act as a rear reflector...

So, What do you think? Would it work?

Rubberside Down!

Hey, this is my 700th post! :D

07-28-2008, 11:06 PM
I think that would certainly be a nice gesture, but in no way will doing such a thing automatically convey the awareness of the importance of being properly lit while riding a bike in dusk and darkness. Tonight, I walked over to the local mall (Cedar Hills Crossing, formerly Bernard's mall). On the way back as it was getting dark, in the span of about 2 minutes, I kid you not...on Hall Blvd, I saw three, different, completely unrelated people going their separate way on bikes, and not one of them had a light, a reflector or anything reflective on their person or bike. Of course as many of you know, this section of Hall is plenty busy that time of night, with cars zipping back and forth at a pretty good clip.

In case you think these particular people on bikes were little kids that didn't know any better, they were'n't. All were adults or close to it. One was a working stiff kind of guy on a mountain bike with the shocks and so forth. Another was....(take breath...:cool:) a dude on a fixie. The last...my memory is vague on this one....I think it was a teenage girl on one of those easy rider modern cruiser kind of bikes.

I could barely believe what I was seeing....that none of them had any illumination whatsoever.

No doubt, there's any number of excuses why people don't have their bikes illuminated. A major one though, might be that some of them really don't understand just how invisible they are on a bike with no illumination once it's dark. Maybe the gesture of handing out free illumination would be a way to work on making a point about overcoming invisibility.

Even when people are given something in this respect, and have had the concept carefully introduced to them, they still don't get it. So it is that you have the people given free red blinkys and then doing dumb stuff like mounting them on the front of the bike.

Chilly Willy
07-29-2008, 03:59 AM
Sounds like a nice idea- how do you propose affixing them cheaply and easily? Duct tape? Clamps?

07-29-2008, 05:56 AM
Sounds like a nice idea- how do you propose affixing them cheaply and easily? Duct tape? Clamps?

Yes... or zip ties... or they can hold them in their hand and attach it themselves later.

One thing I left out in my earlier post was the part of my lecture that talks about Oregon's 51%/49% rules.

If I'm a driver, and you're a cyclist, and I hit you at night. If you don't have a light, (and you LIVE)... You get a ticket too. Then I claim that "This unlit biker came out of nowhere and BAM!!! I hit him. I had no chance to stop until after I hit him" If the judge is unsympathetic he might side with the driver... if it was 50% my fault, and 50% yours, we each pay our own court fees, but if it was 51% your fault, you pay 100% of my court fees, and if you have insurance, it's yours that gets to pay.

Rubberside Down!

07-29-2008, 06:33 AM
It's funny, because some of us "flashlight guys" have pretty much the same conversation about what kind of "giveaway" lights are best, albeit in a slightly different context. ;)

I'm not sure what you could get at the Dollar Store that would work best in this context. Maybe if they sold some of those silly "9-LED OMG BRIGHT!" lights or something. You could get away with a 1-LED (which I know you can get online for 99 cents) but really it'd have to be a blinky. A solid 1-LED would be just about invisible in traffic. It'd have to be something compact that you could mount w/ rubber bands or an O-Ring or something. A regular old 2D flashlight might be too heavy (unless you used duct tape?) :D

I tried to look at this before (for my little photo essay) but got accosted and never got around to finding a suitable light at the nearest discount store. I'll have to try again later.

Oh, and it was Beaverton Mall... I dunno if anyone really called it Bernard's (unless that was an interim name change before they switched to CH Crossing - I was living out of state at that time so I missed all that excitement ;)). Bernard's is a throwback to the days when it was Bernard Airfield back in the 60's.

So ends your Beaverton Historical Trivia Tidbit of the day. :D