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-   -   springwater trail safe at night for the evening commute? (http://bikeportland.org/forum/showthread.php?t=1346)

artizin 11-09-2007 11:22 AM

springwater trail safe at night for the evening commute?
now that it's getting dark earlier.. is the springwater trail safe at night? Anyone have any issues?

just curious.

Attornatus_Oregonensis 11-09-2007 12:32 PM

I travel between downtown and Sellwood. I've had one basic problem: Nearly hitting animals (possums, mostly) and people, on bike or on foot, who are wearing clothing so dark you can't see them until you're right next to them. Watch out for that.

Thorlak 11-09-2007 01:14 PM

With the exception of this http://bikeportland.org/2007/08/25/c...e-springwater/
I haven't heard of anything bad happening at night on Springwater. I think
this is a very isolated incident.

Cruizer 11-09-2007 02:19 PM

Link to discussion of same topic exactly one year ago!
Here are some experiences shared in November '06 by riders who biked through the downtown-to-Sellwood section after dark.


Also, this topic brought an idea to mind. I live in Sellwood and I wanted to participate in the bike rides in memory of Tracy and Brett but didn't because I would have been riding home alone in the dark either through the isolated, unlit, 3-mile long stretch of the trail between Ross Island Sand & Gravel and Sellwood or else on very undesirable streets. In the future, when there are evening bicycle events (hopefully for happier reasons), it would be nice if people in different neighborhoods could organize to ride home together after dark. Or maybe there already is a place where arrangements such as this can be made and I'm not aware of it. Like it or not, the Springwater Trail after dark reveals an arena of modern life where men have a bit more freedom than women.

Cruizer 11-10-2007 10:48 AM

Alternative to SWT: Downtown to Sellwood after dark
I tested some routes today that I think I would feel safe biking by myself coming home to Westmoreland/Sellwood from downtown after dark and I decided upon:

Hawthorne to Ladd,
Ladd to 21st (The tricky intersection at Division requires patience as the light cycle goes through several steps.)
21st to Clinton
Clinton to 26th
26th to Gladstone
Gladstone to 28th
28th swings around and becomes Bybee; cross the McLaughlin overpass and then you're in Westmoreland.

As Bybee curves past the golf course it is very dark at night and hard to actually see the road in some places. Passing motorists actually provide an assist with their headlights.

devtchkajenn 11-10-2007 08:37 PM

As a woman, I refuse to bike on the springwater trail at night time.

I tried it once during the summer at 4:30am and holy beejus! Talk about most frightening experience ever. I couldn't see, plain and simple. Especially riding through the forest park.

But then again, I start the trail at Flavel over by 92nd and go to 17th.

Tomorrow I am going to be brave and not take the bus to work. Going to explore some alternative routes to get 17th, we'll see how that goes...

artizin 11-19-2007 02:00 PM

Well I've had no problems at all at night... but my lights are blinding I actually might be scaring people away. I've seen a few sketchy people out there at night. I would be reticent to ride that trail alone at night if I was a lady.

right now my girlfriend buses it to downtown, but she want's to start riding her bike, I wouldn't want her riding out there at night alone... but she's not the most confident person on a bike, so the idea of here on the busy streets of portland skirting the river up to the hawthore bridge scares me a little. Especially with recent events involving cyclists and cars/trucks. Spring water seems like the lesser of 2 evils to me... but I wouldn't let her do it alone at night.

mizake 11-19-2007 02:15 PM

swt at night
As stated above, the only problem I've had on the trail are joggers who wear dark clothing with no reflective surfaces. I actually have a pretty bright light, too. Otherwise, its a pretty well-used trail by many cyclists and foot-bound folk so I feel pretty safe using it.

Attornatus_Oregonensis 11-19-2007 08:10 PM

I have no problem because I'm confident that I can repel any attack. But it really bothers me that people won't use such a great trail because of the perception of a lack of safety. I've said this before, but I ride the trail every morning between 6 and 6:30 am and again between 6 and 6:30 pm, and, for what it's worth, I will intervene in any situation if I feel someone is being hurt or threatened. But, whatever, there's no guarantee I'll be there.

But it begs the question for me: Is the Springwater really unsafe? I know of only the one incident, posted above, that I regard as one of those proverbial "could have happened anywhere" things. Other than that, is it just fear? I'm not sure.

Also, what would it take to feel safe? More lighting? It seems to me that the really dark stretch on the big bend along the Holgate Slough (where I hit the possum) is isolated no matter whether it's well-lit.

People should not be afraid to ride bikes in Portland. Idealistic yes, but an achievable and worthwhile goal, IMHO.

Oldguyonabike 11-20-2007 09:02 AM

My impression of winter rides on the Springwater is how incredibly DARK it is. I don't feel or see the human fear factor so much, but I certainly appreciate it. Its like solo backpacking when I have greater fear of people than the wildlife. That being said, I agree with AO that critters are more troublesome. Racoons tend to skidaddle, 'possums don't. Cats are a crapshoot what they are going to do.
Lights are a dilemma because you need enough to see, but they can blind oncoming cyclists on the narrow path. I remember a regular on-coming morning cyclist when the 205 path was still open who left me disoriented every time. If you use those blinding lights, please point them down at the path/road and if you have them mounted on your helmet, please divert your gaze away from me when we approach.
I've also wondered if there's some reflector technology that would be added to the edges (not middle) of these dark paths. They use them in the streets. Some blue reflectors could easily keep us on the trail and maybe dissolve some sense of the deep isolation of the dark. I would like to suggest it to Tri-met as they rebuild the 205 path, but sure who to direct it to.

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