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Portland Police to distribute bike lights, safety brochures

Posted by on September 10th, 2005 at 9:21 am

Taking a cue from Shift’s highly successful “Get Lit” program*, Portland Police will soon be distributing free bike lights to visibility-challenged cyclists.

In addition, volunteers from Shift and traffic safety specialists from The City of Portland Office of Transportation have worked with the police on a bike safety brochure they will hand out along with the lights. Stay tuned for more details and an official statement from city officials.

This is a great example of what’s possible when community groups, the city, and the police all come together for a common goal of making our streets safer!

*A little background: Shift’s “Get Lit” program has given out free lights to thousands of cyclists and was recently featured in the Oregonian.

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1 Comment authors » Blog Archive » A call for patience and a new » Blog Archive » Police to discontinue free bike light » Blog Archive » Get Lit founder hopes to pass the » Blog Archive » Traffic Division appointment will impact » Blog Archive » Bill Sinnott to retire from Police Bureau Recent comment authors
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Patrick Cassidy
Patrick Cassidy

As we approach the equinox and the days grow shorter I am encountering many cyclists out after dark with no lights.

A front *be seen* light is essential – I believe the single most important cycling accessory you can own.

A tail light is highly desirable, but if you only have money for one light, get the front first.

The back end of your bike should have plenty of reflective stuff. The law states that rear reflectors are to be red, but I bend the rules a bit – 3 inch diameter amber SAE reflectors glow brilliantly under headlights – far brighter than any light on the market. You may have to finagle a bit to find a good method of attaching and properly aiming them, but they will help get you seen. A good tail light and a reflector together are excellent.

Note that the stock CSPC reflectors are really pretty humble. Still better than nothing. As a last resort, leave them in place, make sure they are clean and properly aimed.

And please trust me on that front light. Just do not ride without one.

Just my not-very-humble opinion.


[…] […]


[…] As I first reported back in September, Portland traffic cops are embarking on a new program to install free lights on bikes. This morning, the Oregonian has a more in-depth story that lays it all out. […]


[…] The episode will feature good news from around the country and when the producers got wind of Portland cops giving out lights to cyclists, they thought it’d make a good fit. We’re sharing the limelight with a boy who raised money to adopt a dog and a guy who left corporate life to be a cook. When I met up with them at Pioneer Courthouse Square they were talking with guys from the Lawyer’s Ride (see photo). […]


Cops give lights to cyclists

In the Can’t we all just get along? department comes this bit of Sept. news from Bike Portland:a great example of what’s possible when community groups, the city, and the police all come together for a common goal of making


[…] The Get Lit program organized by Jeff Bernards and Shift to Bikes has been a great success. This year they’ve given away over 500 pairs of high-quality Planet Bike lights…for free! Jeff’s innovative program has inspired a similar program by the Portland Police and the City of Portland. Despite this success, there are still many cyclists who are very vulnerable because they’re out on the streets at night without adequate lighting. You can help put lights in the hands of the needy by donating to Jeff and “Get Lit”. Besides a small grant, Jeff relies on your donations to keep this awesome program going strong. […]


[…] I think these results might be a bit misleading because many of this city’s cyclits are plugged-in and knowledgable about bike safety and would have a very high bar for giving a “good or very good” rating. Even so, it’s interesting to see the breakdowns by neighborhood and to know that despite some amazing efforts, we still have a lot of work to do. […]


[…] Sinnott was a tremendous ally of the bike community. He was open and sincere about working with us to find solutions and ease the sometimes tense relationships between cyclists and cops. He regularly attended meetings with Critical Mass participants, and his work with the Critical Mass Working Group was recently recognized with an Alice Award nomination. He was also instrumental in the Bureau’s free bike light program, which was covered nationally by CBS Sunday Morning. What I appreciated most about Bill was his willingness to meet and the time he took to respond to my questions and requests for information. Actually, he would often respond with intelligent questions of his own about various aspects of our bike culture. It was this interest and willingness to figure out what made bikers tick that made him such a great partner to bike advocates. […]


[…] Initiated a free bike light program with the Police Bureau (and appeared on CBS News to talk about it). […]


[…] His program—which was initially funded by an ODOT grant—has become such a success that it has garnered national media attention, earned him an Alice B. Toeclips award, and has been emulated by the Portland Police Bureau and other advocacy groups across the country. […]


[…] The law requires that all cyclists have a front light and a rear reflector. A little over one year ago, the Traffic Division of the Portland Police Bureau began giving out free lights to bicyclists who were stopped for violating this law. […]


[…] The Police Bureau, too, is clearly in the midst of shifting its paradigm for bicycle traffic enforcement, as its awareness of cyclists, and the laws that pertain to us, increases. This has led to wonderful things, like the Bike Lights program and a generally improved knowledge among all parties of what’s legal and isn’t on a bike. […]