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Photo Caption Contest: Bikes as a (small) part of traffic

Posted by on December 7th, 2009 at 2:39 pm

View of NE Broadway during the morning rush hour.
Share your caption ideas in the comments.
Larger version here
(Photo © J. Maus)

“It might not inspire folks to ride, but might inspire them to advocate.”
— reaction to the photo from @ehdub on Twitter

I sat near the Broadway Bridge this morning to snap photos of bundled up bikers on one of the coldest mornings of the year. I ended up shooting the photo above because I have a thing for pictures of bikes in traffic. I turned it into our header photo and, after pointing it out on Twitter, it generated a lot of feedback

I’ve been amazed at the mix of reactions. Here are a few:

    Dan Kaufman – Kind of turns my stomach. I’d change it in a couple days.

    @territory – come on, you can do better with the pho pic on the header. Inspire us.

    Kyrstin Westwind: “I love that BikePortland reflects the fall variety of experiences we have as cyclists: it ain’t always pretty!”

    Tony Tapay: “Reminds me of the iconic image of the man in China facing down the tanks.”

    @joebikepdx – Reality is we do need bravery to change a dangerous world. The photo’s an example. and To me it’s inspiring in that it shows simple, unnoticed bravery. I wonder what the driver of the white pickup is thinking….

    @AnneHawley – I’m new to bike commuting & find photo inspiring not scary: if those guys can do it, I can do it! Possibly I’m just odd…

    @philkinjerksi – I think it is good to inspire but also keep the perspective grounded. Things can’t always be rosy

    @dkaempff – I think it’s a useful photo for achieving that purpose. Nothing wrong with showing where we need to improve, bsides the good.

    @ehdub – It might not inspire folks to ride, but might inspire them to advocate.

    @VeloBusDriver – Yikes! Bad spot to ride in if you can avoid it – Many commercial vehicles have a blind spot in that area

I’m enjoying this feedback, because it gets to the heart of one of the issues I’ve been mulling lately about BikePortland’s role in the community. That is: How can we best use criticism and the truth to push the conversation forward, without becoming too negative and/or scaring people away? How is the mission of “To inform and inspire” best served?

In addition to hearing your feedback on the photo, how about a caption contest? Several folks suggested this and it might be fun. So here goes: We’ll pick the best caption and the winner can have a crack at a Front Page editorial on any bike-related topic they choose (we reserve the right to edit the piece for clarity if necessary) and/or a set of BikePortland postcards and stickers.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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jj
Guest

“Bikes use too much in the way of road resources.”

“Bikes don’t pay gas taxes!”

MeghanH
Guest
MeghanH

Who’s the real tough guy? The guy driving the oversized white pickup truck, or the nice lady next to him in the bike lane?

Nick
Guest
Nick

“We really fit in with the orange color scheme of this website”

jj
Guest

Sorry…missed one:

“Bikes never pay their fair-share.”

Aaron Hayes
Guest

Yikes, I rode that route to work for 3 years, and faced that exact same scenario countless times. I’d say:

Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right, Here I am, stuck in the middle with you!

st
Guest
st

“Just another day of the 9-to-5”

Daniel
Guest

“…mmmm car exhaust….warm”

Dave
Guest

“Remember when you used to see people in cities? That was nice.”

bahueh
Guest
bahueh

the opposite of that photo can be seen on a late August day at 8:00am crossing S.E. Grand onto the Hawthorne…if your aim is to inspire through use of photography (and I’m guessing it is with the amount of pictures you share here), show the opposite image. power in numbers, etc, etc.

cricism and truth? maybe stop using photos of one extreme to exemplify a generality?

myself? I love this time of year as there are fewer people in the bike lanes.

Northwest Girl
Guest
Northwest Girl

The woman cyclist between the two massive trucks?

A rose between two thorns.

HowardBollixter
Guest
HowardBollixter

I love the relaxed posture of that cyclist.

“As a matter of fact, I DO own (a part of) the road.”

Joe
Guest
Joe

Another reason why we choose to ride instead of driving, less heart burn 🙂

Brian E
Guest
Brian E

Bikelane? Actually, it’s more of a guideline than a rule. …

Mike
Guest
Mike

I think Aaron wins already!

My entry:

If you were on a bike, rush hour wouldn’t bug you

Shawn Small
Guest

I went a different route with it.

Shane
Guest

How about:

Would your mother ride here?
Build bikeways for families
not just “Vehicular Cyclists””

Paul S
Guest

Inspired by MeganH:

“Guess which commuter is ‘overcompensating.'”

Shawn Small
Guest

errr well that didn’t work…lets try this again.
My attempts at a caption contest</a?

fool
Guest
fool

so this is what exactly 6.4% of the roadway feels like.

Nick V
Guest
Nick V

On your leftrightleftrightleftrightleftright…..

ScottG
Guest
ScottG

A sliver of hope

Roland Couture
Guest
Roland Couture

I hesitate to project my own ideas of heroism or tragedy or “good” or “bad” on this photo. It’s a couple bikes, a truck, and a bunch of cars, on a cold day. About par, actually. In short, it’s the truth. If it’s not such a rosy picture for cycling, I suppose I’d agree in a sense. But I wouldn’t say it was unnecessarily critical; in fact I’d call it a welcome departure from the overly florid tone of promotionalism I normally see regarding cycling in Portland. Portland is still located in America and this is what it looks like. On the other hand, you would never catch a “driving advocate” (chiefly the car-making corporations) showing the public an image this realistic. See this: http://bikeportland.org/2009/10/30/want-to-be-like-copenhagen-think-about-vacuum-cleaners-and-raging-bulls/

The good news is, assuming all single-occupancy vehicles, about 8% of the people visible or assumed to be present in this photo are prepared for the oil crash (2 out of about 25). My caption would be geared toward the future Portland Historical Society photo library and would say “NE Broadway at the peak of the petroleum era, 2009”

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

“I’m a loner, Dottie. A rebel.”

Esther
Guest
Esther

Hmmm. This picture reflects the reality of so much of bicycling in America, one that I feel fortunate that I really only experience in inner Portland during Rush Hour (apologies in advance to the critics of ‘Portland Smugness’). That said, maybe it goes to show that no matter how good we have it, we still have plenty of opportunities for positive Change (the foundation of a very successful political campaign in the last year, I might add). How about the oldie but goodie: “There’s always room for improvement”?

Esther
Guest
Esther

I also really like bahueh’s pointing out there are some good examples of the opposite problem (bike traffic). I would love to see a juxtaposition of the two images with a caption like “Which would you prefer?”

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

I agree w/ Esther. 🙂

bahueh
Guest
bahueh

if you’re just wanting a caption:

“How not to drive a semi-truck in downtown PDX”.

JoeyB
Guest
JoeyB

Hey, what’s that small orange thing down by my wheel? Oh no! Did my orange fender fall off my truck?! Phew, it’s just a puny biker.

are
Guest
are

c’mon, man, drop the flag

Joe
Guest
Joe

yes i say #5 wins, good call! LOL

karl d
Guest
karl d

Hey your helmet is on backwards!

David
Guest

“This is our current reality. Let’s do something about it.”

Kara
Guest
Kara

“You come here often?”

SD
Guest
SD

citi zen

david....no the other one
Guest
david....no the other one

How about

“We will overcome!”

Katusha
Guest
Katusha

“Megan Fox and Shia LeBouef lead Optimus Prime and the Autobots into battle!”

Ben Foote
Guest

Regarding this intersection….

One of the final presentations for the traffic and transportation class focused specifically on that intersection and bike lane; the west bound bike lane on Broadway at Larrabee. It was interesting to find out from those in the room who were knowledgeable about the coming streetcar expansion that the current plan for reapportioning the right of way there removes the right turn lane pictured and that the bike lane will be repositioned to be next to the curb.

This left me curious about other bike infrastructure implications of the Streetcar. Certainly I support the Streetcar and do not mean to pit one mode vs another but I would hope that the reapportionment of the right of way that is done in conjunction with this expansion is done with care and is cognizant of the safety and needs of all users.

buzz
Guest
buzz

“From the warmth of his Dodge Ram, the driver realizes that the cyclists will probably beat him to his downtown destination.”

Blah Blah Blah
Guest
Blah Blah Blah

“Finally…It’s getting cold, and soon there will be gravel on the road to complain about”.

Or…”Hopefully it snows soon, so I can complain about how the city is so unprepared”.

And another…”Ha, I bet I could get out of stopping at stop signs today since it is so cold”.

la otra
Guest
la otra

Hey, let’s have a special day just for bahueh, where nobody rides their bike, so he might have a better day not having to share to road. What about … yesterday!

trojanhearse
Guest
trojanhearse

Be glad someone is looking ahead.

Peter W
Guest

Nice shot. I don’t actually see any fear in the face of the rider–perhaps they don’t even realize what’s behind them–but I think if folks who don’t yet ride saw that they’d be terrified.

So I think a quote that goes well is (and I’ll probably mangle it):

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but the willingness to continue on in spite of it.”

I could see that being part of a series of photos and inspiring messages aimed at getting people on bikes.

Or, if you want something simple to use on a postcard to send to elected folks in a campaign to get more funding or something, I think a good quote would be simply:

“We’ve got work to do.”

jim
Guest
jim

“Am I going to be the next one to die here?”
It dosn’t look like a place where anyone with any common sense would be

Woodstock Bike/Transit Junkie
Guest
Woodstock Bike/Transit Junkie

“That thing got a hemi?”

or

“I eat cold for breakfast”

or

“Going Rogue”

Tankagnolo Bob
Guest

Caption: “A little bit goes along ways”

bobcycle
Guest
bobcycle

“Dang… If I had taken the lane back there I might have pissed off a few drivers but I wouldn’t be worrying about this semi running me over!”

doug smith
Guest
doug smith

I just wanted to add, that is a Knife River Corp . truck, sharing the lane (bike lane).

Duncan
Guest
Duncan

you should send that photo to knife river construction and tell them to stay in their own damn lane.

Morgan TT
Guest

“Whose bike lane? OUR bike lane!”

bobcycle
Guest
bobcycle

Duncan… I bike through here often and have found myself to the left of semi’s swinging wide to make the turn. IMHO the fault is with PDOT not the truck drivers. The lanes are too narrow for a large truck to safely make a turn without leaving the lane. Solution: re-stripe the area to accomoadate the traffic that commonly uses this route. In combination with the Williams crossing, the Flint entry, the Wheeler Av turn, the I-5 off ramp the dangers along this route are inexcusable in a designated Platinum city.