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First Look: Portland’s new solar-powered LED bike lane lights

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

They’re on!
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

As promised, yesterday the City of Portland installed solar-powered lights to delineate the bike lane on NE Couch as it approaches the Burnside Bridge.

The lights, imported from Denmark by Saris Racks, are part of a test by the Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) to see whether they improve visibility of the bike lane and provide a safety benefit for road users. Because of the “s-curve” at this location, some people tend to veer into the bike lane while driving onto the bridge.

I went out last night to see the lights in action last night…

As you can (hopefully) see in the photos above, these lights are not very bright. Perhaps they’ll get brighter as they soak up more light; but as of right now they’re not exactly super impressive. That being said, they are definitely visible from the perspective of a bike rider. I haven’t seen them from inside my car, so that will be the next test.

Speaking of cars, are drivers respecting the bike lane more with the lights? While I was out there last night, I didn’t see anyone drive into the bike lane.

Another issue we’re currently trying to find out more about is whether or not the installation is complete. Right now, there are relatively large divets around each light. We suspect PBOT will fill in these divets with some sort of material in order to maintain the smoothness of the bike lane stripe.

We’ll keep you posted on any developments with this interesting new addition to the bike lanes.

Have you ridden by these yet? Let us know your thoughts.