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ODOT bus ad: ‘Keep an extra eye out for bicycles’

Posted by on June 30th, 2010 at 10:14 am

While standing on SE Hawthorne Blvd last night I looked up and saw an ad on the side of a TriMet bus that caught my eye…

(Photo © J. Maus)

The ad struck me as being sort of odd, but I can’t quite figure out why. What do you think about it?

The billboard was paid for by the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) as part of their annual ‘Bicyclist Safety’ program managed by their Transportation Safety Division. According to an annual evaluation of the program from 2008, ODOT spent about $125,000 on bike safety efforts. This money was split between four funding programs (a mix of grants and communication pieces like the one above). For comparison, in 2008, ODOT spent just over $100,000 on ‘Pedestrian Safety’ programs and $950,000 on its ‘Occupant Protection’ programs (primarily seat-belt use education and enforcement).

In 2008, 411 people were killed in traffic crashes in Oregon and 26,805 were injured. Of those fatalities, 350 people were in a car (either driving or passengers). 52 people were killed while walking and 10 of the fatalities happened to people riding bicycles.

Earlier this year, ODOT held a series of open houses across the state to help them update their Traffic Safety Action Plan.

Learn more about ODOT’s safety efforts on their website.

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  • bahueh June 30, 2010 at 10:21 am

    was that on Al’s bus?

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  • david....no! the other one June 30, 2010 at 10:27 am

    Just curious, which side of the bus was the sign on? The loading side? or the traffic side? Which would you think would get the most viewage from motorists? just wondering

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 30, 2010 at 10:28 am

    it was on the left side of the bus.

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  • kitten June 30, 2010 at 10:46 am

    interesting. it is not great, but at least it is bringing awareness. Though I think a more targeted message would have been better. For instance, reminding drivers to watch for bikes while turning right.

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  • El Biciclero June 30, 2010 at 10:59 am

    I saw one of these in Beaverton this morning, only it was “Keep an extra eye out for pedestrians”. It was on the driver’s side of the bus.

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  • Kt June 30, 2010 at 11:00 am

    I actually like it.

    “Check your blind spots” is always a good message for anyone regardless of transpo mode.

    I think it’s a very good start.

    Is it odd because there are aliens in the car instead of humans? Purple and green with multiple eyes– it’s cute!

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  • bahueh June 30, 2010 at 11:03 am

    better than say…
    “Should cyclists pay taxes!!?”

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  • wallflower June 30, 2010 at 11:19 am

    The back of the bus would be better for obvious reasons, I feel. I like it too! ODOT are trying and I support their efforts.

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  • beelnite June 30, 2010 at 11:19 am

    What’s odd about the sign?

    Well nothing really.

    Drivers really are aliens and they and their vehicles are definitely responsible for “ICU” visits.

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  • beelnite June 30, 2010 at 11:20 am

    OK I swear it – I am being sarcastic!

    I drive too… 🙂

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  • beelnite June 30, 2010 at 11:21 am

    California plates!?!?!?

    Or old school Oregon?

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  • beelnite June 30, 2010 at 11:23 am

    And I’m sorry but…

    The eye tentacle is coming out of the aliens rear end… if he even has a rear end!

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  • John Lascurettes June 30, 2010 at 11:58 am

    The irony of this ad being on a trimet bus after a trimet bus killed two pedestrians and injured three others recently is not lost on me.

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  • buglas June 30, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    @beelnite #11


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  • El Biciclero June 30, 2010 at 12:06 pm


    Doesn’t your extra eye grow out of there? What are you, weird?

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  • El Biciclero June 30, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    I also think the pedestrian version shows a green alien with two extra eyes out. Why do bicycles only get one extra eye? What kind of discrimination is this? Aliens are so biased it’s not even funny. But come to think of it, maybe the green aliens keep two eyes out for everyone, while the purple aliens only keep one. In that case, we should only hate the purple aliens; green aliens are cool.

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  • Pete June 30, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    The odd thing is the driver is looking the wrong way for cyclists. I like the ad, though – better than nothing.

    Reality is that I’ve rarely been right-hooked by drivers that didn’t see me!

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  • ERN June 30, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    I appreciate the sentiment, but one could make an argument that it makes cycling seem more dangerous than statistics bear out, and/or suggests that drivers should expect cyclists to ride unpredictably (which some do). I’m not sure why drivers have to keep an “extra” eye out for us. I would hope that two are enough.

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  • Andrew Plambeck July 1, 2010 at 10:05 am

    Unfortunately, I think it’s far too necessary a message. I so often (whether biking, driving, walking or on the bus) see people not paying a lick of attention to what’s going on around them (again, whether they’re driving, biking, walking…).

    How many times have you almost been killed because some driver is making a right turn through your bike lane without looking over his/her shoulder? It happens to me all the time. I just hope they focus-tested this to the point of being effective.

    We sure need the message proliferated.

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  • are July 1, 2010 at 11:21 am

    re comment 19, never. i am never in the bike lane to the right of a moving motor vehicle approaching an intersection.

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  • John July 1, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Why not just one sign that says “keep an eye out for bikes & pedestrians”? And after the TriMet crash, I’m hoping the space was free…

    Imminent Backlash: “Oh, oh! So you’re saying drivers are purple, tentacled monsters!”

    Chiding aside, I agree it’s a good start.

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  • Paul Tay July 2, 2010 at 5:41 am

    Sum cycling ODOT genius gotz sum extra tax dollas ta burn? Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. Not a chance. Cain’t possibly be true.

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