Support BikePortland - Journalism that Matters

TriMet steps up efforts to keep panniers and buckets off bus racks

Posted by on July 15th, 2013 at 3:49 pm

TriMet bus with rack

TriMet says its drivers are temporarily emphasizing a longstanding rule that bikes loaded on its bus racks ares supposed to be stripped of bulky accessories before boarding.

According to the transit agency’s bikes-on-buses policy, these rules apply to “panniers, child seats or any object that could block the headlights or the operator’s vision.”

We heard about this after two readers sent accounts of bus drivers telling people to remove such add-ons before boarding. TriMet Bicycle Coordinator Jeff Owen confirms that it’s “a reinforcement of our messaging for a while.” The issue may take new importance due to TriMet’s newest bus model, which improves driver lines of sight by extending its windshield almost as far down as the rack.

This is definitely a problem for Portlanders who have permanently affixed some of the huge variety of available bike accessories to their vehicles. Still, it’s at least useful to know the reason for the policy, to make sure your bike works within drivers’ safety constraints.

Though TriMet bus racks are far from perfect — for example, years of experimentation have failed to turn up a design that lets TriMet buses fit three-bike racks into the turning envelope of Portland’s narrow streets — being able to load a standard bike onto a bus is something that it’s useful for every bike user to know how to do in a pinch. Here’s TriMet’s video explaining how it’s done:

Or if you prefer, here’s the timeless “bike rack rap” from TARC in Louisville, Kentucky:

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. 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

38
Leave a Reply

avatar
12 Comment threads
26 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
29 Comment authors
eli bishopGlowBoyjimdavemessCaptainKarma Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Spiffy
Guest

I wish the bus drivers would emphasize “exit rear door”…

Spiffy
Guest

years of experimentation have failed to turn up a design that lets TriMet buses fit three-bike racks into the turning envelope of Portland’s narrow streets

the buses can’t even navigate their routes without cars having to move for them to turn… add that to the numerous illegal turns that are required for many of their routes…

they need to reroute buses and/or change the road designs so that the buses will fit and not need to do illegal maneuvers…

Elliot
Guest
Elliot

People don’t already do this? I remove all accessories from my bike before loading it on the rack… not because of the driver’s vision, but because I don’t want them to fall off.

And driver visibility is a legitimate concern. I’m not sure how car drivers with fuzzy dice can finish a trip without crashing, frankly. My wife tried to hang a My Little Pony Rainbow Dash plush on our rearview mirror a few weeks ago, but I no-sirred it. Safety rules.

Mark Allyn
Guest

Thank you!

Alan 1.0
Guest
Alan 1.0

Newb questions: What’s the right way to get a bike in or out of the rear slot when the front one is occupied? Is there etiquette for which one to use if they’re both empty?

was carless
Guest
was carless

This is sort of concerning. What about baskets? Like these which are permanently affixed to your bike?

Max
Guest
Max

I think we need to have a rap-off between the TARC guy and Dynamix (“Chillaxin on the MAX”).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qc-glJYnxJg

Joseph E
Guest

Don’t forget this guide to how/why to put your bike on the bus
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boiQKDHq7nk
“I Put My Bike On the Bus” Video

Disgruntled Commuter
Guest
Disgruntled Commuter

Thank you for bringing this up. My bike has a fixed basket and I use to use Trimet buses for emergency situations, otherwise commute 100% bikesBike. But now I have no back up plan other than locking it up and picking it up later.

I feel like this vision problem is a massive Design Flaw. Why not have a bike hadn’t on the back of the bus? Could probably even fit more that way

CaptainKarma
Guest
CaptainKarma

Guess I’ll not be riding TriMet. I get the feeling they don’t really want bikes on board anyway anymore.

jim
Guest
jim

Or you could use Bikeshare

eli bishop
Guest
eli bishop

seems unfair for child seats.