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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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.