[UPDATE: Don’t miss this very informative comment by Greg Raisman from PDOT.]
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.
A few observations:
- I think it’s funny how Lt. Kruger has to cover his butt with the anti-bike crowd and mention how the cops might still issue $94 tickets for riding without a light (moral: be very nice to them when they stop you!).
- Biggest shocker in that article? Jeff Bernards, cyclist to the core, suggests the cops should “hand out more tickets” to bikers without lights to send a strong message. Now there’s a guy who cares deeply about keeping us safe.
- And I wonder what ever became of the bike safety brochure? I heard the cops would hand out literature along with the lights but didn’t read about that in the Oregonian article. [update: Just heard from PDOT: It’s at the printer!]
- There seems to be some confusion about the genesis of the cops involvement with this program. I assumed they got the idea from Shift’s highly successful “Get Lit” program. But, in today’s article, Boaz Herzog says Mark Lear from PDOT gave them the idea. And I heard from a reliable source that Commander Bill Sinnott (head of Traffic division) came up with the idea on his own.
- The Police need a better PR strategy. They should give this program a catchy name like Shift did with “Get Lit”.
All gossip and peanut gallery observations aside, this is an amazing testament to the kind of culture of bike friendliness that resides in our current Police administration. This is happening because people from the community, the city and law enforcement only care about one thing; keeping cyclists alive. And for that I give kudos all around!