“I got caught in there [rail tracks]. And it put the fear of death in me. And that was the last time.”
— Portlandia star Fred Armisen on why he doesn’t plan to ride a bike when he moves to the Pearl District
Often when I’ve brought up issues related to sub-par bicycling conditions that I believe pose a safety hazard, I’ve been met with criticism.
Whether it was bone-jarring bumps on the Esplanade, the lack of shoulders on rural roads, or the dangers posed by streetcar tracks, some people react by saying, “Toughen up! Stop whining! Learn how to ride your bike and get over it!”
However, I remain convinced that high quality, smooth streets and paths are imperative if we expect more people to give bicycling a try (and an OHSU study agrees).
Over the weekend I read something in The Oregonian that was just the latest validation of my feelings on these issues. The article was about Fred Armisen, co-star of the hit cable miniseries “Portlandia”.
Turns out Mr. Armisen loves the subject of his ridicule so much that he’s thinking about moving here. “If he does,” reports The Oregonian’s Brad Schmidt, “he’s got his eye on the Pearl District.”
However, if he moves to this streetcar-laden neighborhood, will he ride his bike around like he did in the infamous “Bicycle Rights” skit asks The O?
“You know, I don’t bike around — I’m too scared,” he said. “I tried once, we were shooting this thing for Portlandia. I got caught in the train, you know the train track? I got caught in there. And it put the fear of death in me. And that was the last time.”
Armisen is young and healthy. If he’s too afraid to bike in the Pearl, what does that say about our city?
No word yet whether or not Armisen will lend his acting talent to the upcoming City of Portland video about bike/track safety; but perhaps a cameo would help raise the profile of this important issue even more.