A bike lane video game on N. Williams

Someone has stenciled several video game symbols in the N. Williams bike lane.
– See the rest of them below –
(Photos © J. Maus)

A cherished local tradition of adding character and personality to our bike lanes has taken a new twist. Someone has painted symbols from Nintendo’s Mario Kart video game in the bike lanes on N. Williams Ave.

The painted symbols begin south of N Tillamook Avenue with a set of speed-boosting arrows (see above) and the symbols continue to about N. Cook Ave. There are several bananas…

A mushroom (which a reader tells me is worth an extra life in the game allows you to store a speed boost)…

And a star (which gives you invincibility)…

While this sort of vandalism is obviously illegal, I don’t think anyone is looking to crack down on it. Reader Steve R. wrote us to share this sentiment about the symbols:

“I’m sure this is very illegal. As I pedal home from work, though, I find it engaging and humorous. Would motorists similarly decorate their lanes? I suspect not – this good-natured vandalism is a sign that bikers take pride in their bike lanes and the biking community we’ve created. Well, that is my impression anyway.”

Have you seen the symbols? What’s your impression? I find them to be great conversation starters with my fellow Williams commuters.

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Clarence
12 years ago

I wanna get chased by Ms. Pacman!

Matthew
Matthew
12 years ago

Hah! That’s wonderful!

(In Mario Kart, the mushroom gives you a speed boost)

Nick
Nick
12 years ago

I feel like a total pedantic dork for saying this, but…

Mushrooms give you an extra life in most Mario games, but these are inspired by Mario Kart, anthen and there).d in Mario Kart, they actually give you a speed boost. The difference between the mushroom and chevron it that you can “store” the mushroom and trigger its speed boost when you want, whereas the chevrons give you a speed boost right when you drive over them.

Richard Masoner
12 years ago

Speed boost FTW!

Erin
Erin
12 years ago

I’ve been seeing these. A few weeks ago there was just a banana. Now there’s a star and a banana – and more. I’ve been curious to know what game it is. If someone does PacMan symbols, I’d be more apt to win! Definitely fun. 🙂

patrickz
patrickz
12 years ago

I ran/rode into them as I made my way to pick up my new commuting machine, so I was in a good mood and that banana one had me imagining whole ribbons of imagery along the lane. I had no idea they were from one of those games, but they bring the whole lane system into a friendly, cozier place. My thanks to the perpetrators.

Dave
12 years ago

Hah, that’s awesome 🙂 It is from Mario Kart 🙂

Ely
Ely
12 years ago

Make sure you do the appropriate sound effects as you ride over. 😉

April
12 years ago

Oh man. Mario Kart is one of the few video games I really enjoyed as a kid. I love it.

A.K.
A.K.
12 years ago

I love these! Though I think the speed boost is broken, it never works for me unless I pedal harder. 😉

trail abuser
trail abuser
12 years ago

Oh great, now kids will want to ride their bikes to school. YOU HEAR THAT VANDALS??

Caroline
12 years ago

I like it so much I wish I could say I did it! 😀

eli bishop
eli bishop
12 years ago

so envious! it makes me want to “vandalize” a lane. what game could we play on holgate? 🙂

Donk
Donk
12 years ago

@eli bishop, if you can figure out how to do Excite Bike, I’ll start riding Holgate instead 😉

Spiffy
Spiffy
12 years ago

awesome! I haven’t seen them but that’s even better than the power-boosting sharrows…

even though it’s illegal it’s not bad… they’re not offensive and they’re well done and colorful…

I’m all for more of these on all bike routes…

peejay
peejay
12 years ago

Cue the hand-wringing about graffiti vandals spoiling it for all cyclists in one, two, three…

SilkySlim
SilkySlim
12 years ago

I think some classic RC Pro-Am “oil slick” spots would be fun (and topical!).

Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson
12 years ago

A red shell would be really quite handy in Beaverton to take care of the overabundance of Californian drivers, particularly around the Tek campus, Cedar Hills Boulevard, Farmington, TV, Hall and Watson…

K'Tesh
K'Tesh
12 years ago

If I remember there were shells (were they red or green?) that would orbit you, and knock other competitors silly if they got to close. I’d like those for when I’m up between a curb and a too close car.

justa
justa
12 years ago

public art! bike lanes! two of my very favorite things!!

Marcus Griffith
Marcus Griffith
12 years ago

Didn’t the star make you invincible AND give you a prolong speed boost? Been awhile since I played and I haven’t played the more recent ones…

Glad to see the Blue Shell and Bullet didn’t make the list. However, the lightening could explain the increase in mini bikes around town.

Drew
Drew
12 years ago

Too bad for me as I avoid N.Williams. Too many yogis and doors flying open.

Did I miss it? Again?
Did I miss it? Again?
12 years ago

I know I am about to get flamed for being a downer and not being in the spirit, but here goes anyway.

I realize that this is in good humor and these particular stencils do no harm, but is this really a good path to start down (no pun intended).

This only adds fuel to the fire that is cyclists feel they are above laws (be they right of way, stop signs, red lights, vandalism, etc.).

No, it would not be cool if drivers created their own stencils on the roads, and cyclists would probably be the first to point out that drivers do not need anymore distractions, and rightfully so.

Bike commuting should be a serious subject and treated as such. This means, for better or worse, respecting and maintaining current infrastructure. If you do not like it, take the steps to have it changed. Vandalism only makes us look like immature law breakers. Not exactly the look I want when I am trying to get respect from other road users.

OK… let the name calling and flaming begin.I do ask that we skip the obligatory “Troll”/”Trolling” comments if that’s ok?

Bob_M
Bob_M
12 years ago

Get off of my lawn!!

Esther
Esther
12 years ago

The only thing that would make this better is if Mario and Luigi appeared with lil Martinis 😉

Paul
12 years ago

Awesome. Another way to discusss the benefits of cycling. It puts a smile on your face!! I feel the exact opposite as the above. Cycling should only be taken seriously when safety is the issue. These stencils are clearly not a safety issue (unless the bananas become real). It’s a thoughtful addition that will do nothing but put a smile on someone’s face. In fact, I bet when drivers see them, it makes them want to be a part of the game. Nice work.

Michael M.
12 years ago

I’ve only seen the speed-boosting arrows because it’s been a while since I’ve ridden Williams north of Tillamook. Not being a gamer, I didn’t know what they are or what they’re supposed to signify. The whimsy of the enterprise is somewhat lost when you’re ignorant about the origin, though the other symbols are at least inherently more fanciful. The arrows just had me scratching my head wondering what PBOT was up to now; it would have been clearer to me that a banana and a mushroom are not official designations of some kind.

All in all, seems like something that will put smiles on a lot of faces and is unlikely to have any downsides.

Lethal Panda
Lethal Panda
12 years ago

I think this is Portland’s cue to make this permanent. We should discourage vandals by making our city beautiful and fun.

gl.
12 years ago

Lethal Panda: “We should discourage vandals by making our city beautiful and fun.”

YES. THIS!

trail abuser
trail abuser
12 years ago

I like these little themes that make neighborhoods interesting and fun for kids and adults. In Beaverton there’s an Alice in Wonderland themed neighborhood with a park and streets named after characters.

billy bob
billy bob
12 years ago

City of Portland should put distance markers on the lanes too.

Like you are 1/3/5 miles from city center.

That would be informative for out-of-towners who come there too.

Corporate sponsorships cannot be far off…

Anonymous
Anonymous
12 years ago

Coins to designate the optimal high speed travel path, especially through turns.
Now slow speed and high speed cyclists have their own mini-lanes.

q`Tzal
q`Tzal
12 years ago

Coins to designate the optimal high speed travel path, especially through turns.
Now slow speed and high speed cyclists have their own mini-lanes.

q`Tzal
q`Tzal
12 years ago

Corporate sponsorship should take the form of bike lane sweepers that are plastered like Nascar.
They’d be going slow enough to sell tubes, patch kits and what ever.
Do it right it might even be profitable.

Michweek
12 years ago

Love It!!

Amos
12 years ago

Sorry about the skid mark on the speed arrows, it’s totally mine. Damn squirrel.

CaptainKarma
CaptainKarma
12 years ago

If I was to do this sort of thing (not sayin’ I would!), I’d roll over to a hardware or paint store and get non-skid paint. Just sayin….

Pete
Pete
12 years ago

Did I miss it (#23): “This only adds fuel to the fire that is cyclists feel they are above laws (be they right of way, stop signs, red lights, vandalism, etc.).”

No flaming here; I respect your opinion. In my experience the ‘fire’ is fueled by emotion, intolerance, and ignorance (of bike-related laws, mainly). And despite how often we see it online and it seems to be popular public opinion, my experiences on the road are very different. Yesterday a guy in a big SUV rolled down his window and said “I’ll block traffic for you” as we edged across a busy four-lane backed-up street during rush hour, for example.

My point is, if something this fun is going to sway public opinion against cyclists, then so be it. There’s no logic involved, and you’ll never get respect from ‘them’ regardless of how legally you ride.

Nat West
Nat West
12 years ago
q`Tzal
q`Tzal
12 years ago

#39
I want this:
Pac man title song,
http://www.digitpress.com/dpsoundz/dp_pacmania.wav

h
h
12 years ago

Cool. It might lead more unwanted graffitis. I am pretty sure PBOT does not approve or appreciate these…

Kt
Kt
12 years ago

That’s awesome! I love the Mario Kart game except that my 7-year old niece and 5-year old nephew routinely beat me at it.

It’s a great game, and I love the symbols on the bike lane!

(At first, I thought the power-up/speed boost arrows were supposed to show people which way to ride in the bike lane– a good idea all around, if you ask me!)

#32, no name calling here, but I agree with Pete #38.

Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson
12 years ago

Heh, a lot of bicycle-equipped morons (I differentiate these from bicyclists) ignore the official arrows and one-way signs anyway. You’d think PPB would go for the easy money and stop people when they see wrong-ways, given how frequently they cause accidents going the wrong way.

Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson
12 years ago

: Yogis?

Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson
12 years ago

@31: Distance markers are on the guide signs; there’s no provision in the MUTCD for distance markings on the pavement.

Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson
12 years ago

@30: The ironic thing about the Alice in Wonderland neighborhood is that it’s definitely a contender for worst neighborhood in the Metro Region to live in, with it’s non-existent bicycle connections, extremely high crime, and the fact that housing costs anything given that most of the buildings are one good snowstorm from collapsing in on themselves…

Bill Lascher
12 years ago

I just saw the Star (I believe by the Waypost) this evening and had a good smile about it. I don’t think I was paying enough attention to notice the others, but I was entertained. It wasn’t distracting or easy to confuse with official markings, so I say it just adds a touch more enjoyability to the ride (similar to what I find as a pedestrian noticing little things about people’s yards and the like).

Izaac Spencer
Izaac Spencer
12 years ago

While this is illegal, there should be an easy way to legally apply for this kind of fun art to our city. I am all for this kind of addition since it may encourage more people to want to use the bike lane.

Another great example to encourage active transportation here.
http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0oGdLt.hWxM4h0BA1dXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTEzN2tqdXRhBHNlYwNzcgRwb3MDMQRjb2xvA3NrMQR2dGlkA0RGUjVfMTA0/SIG=120piqb8q/EXP=1282266878/**http%3a//www.youtube.com/watch%3fv=2lXh2n0aPyw

Red Five
Red Five
12 years ago

at what point does all this paint become a slipping hazzard? Then will it be funny?

Brent
Brent
12 years ago

What is next? “Frogger” stencils at crosswalks for pedestrians?