Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on May 4th, 2009 at 8:50 pm
[The following guest essay was written by TriMet bus operator Dan Christensen. You might remember Dan as the guy who started a petition among bus drivers in opposition to the new bikeways through the Rose Quarter Transit Center. Shortly thereafter, I shared a letter he wrote explaining his position.
If that episode didn’t tell you what an outspoken and candid guy Dan is, the essay below will. It came to me in an email from Dan last week and I got his permission to share it. It’s not earth-shattering, but it’s a nice bit of rare, positive vibes from the other side of the windshield.]
If I had my way right now I would throw a party for all the bicyclists in Portland. There would be horns and streamers and one giant bicycle shaped cake.
Why? Why would I, a bus driver be honoring the bicyclist of Portland? Have I gone crazy? Am I mad? Has some unknown agent from another planet that is hunted by the FBI possessed me? Nope.
“What is super fantastic is the almost arms race like growth in the quality of the lights.”
I am happy, now let me tell you why.
In the last 6 months I have seen a huge jump in percentage of bicyclist who are using lights at night. No joke, starting about midway through last summer the number of glowing bikes has gone way up. That has prevented many of what I like to call “OH MY GOD!!” moments. I’ve asked around for other drivers to pay attention and they also confirm my observation, a few have even given me head counts.
This is awesome.
But the reason for my total fired up willingness to spring for a city wide bike party is not just more lights… no that’s great, but what is super fantastic is the almost arms race like growth in the quality of the lights.
I’m talking lighted vest, helmets, gloves, undergarments…(just kidding) Bars of lights, spinning lights, pulsing lights, double pulsing lights, cylon light bouncing back and forth lights, pulsing and moving lights. Hey I thought I was high tech when I got a light that went on my helmet but I am falling way behind on the light race. It’s stunning, dazzling and most of all it’s way safe.
There are times that I can see bikes further away then cars. I can look up in the dead of night and say “that my friend, way way way up there is a bicyclist” If anything I may be in danger of being blinded by the OMSI Lightshow like effects that are rolling around Portland. In the name of all that is good, pure and special about our great city.
I say to all of you
GOOD ON YA!!
I’ll keep you posted on the party details. By the way, Dan is a seriously talented guy (beyond driving a bus). He’s the curator of the TriMet Confidential blog and you can follow his fun musings via Twitter @Dan_Christensen (like this one: “Portland cleaned by the rain, Buzzed by the caffeine, made happy voodoo doughnut, Destroyed by rush hour, happy commute everyone!”)