I have never seen anything like what happened on tonight’s evening commute. A few inches of snow has led to utter chaos on roads throughout the Portland region.
Schoolkids trapped in buses until way past their bed times, multiple car pile-ups, dozens of cars just abandoned on the side of the road, people hitch-hiking or giving up on their cars and walking several miles to get home, standstill traffic on I-5 and Highway 26, five to seven hour commutes with people passing out survival snacks to strangers. You know those traffic maps news stations show every night? Almost every major highway was deep red until about 10:00 pm. Like a traffic blood bath.
My social media timelines were an amazing contrast — full of complete and utter misery for people inside motor vehicles, and then sheer joy and glee from people who were lucky enough to be on a bike.
Almost everyone I follow who rode a bike today was downright jovial about their commute.
“Advantage bike & ped. Love it when weather conditions turn the tables,” wrote one friend on Instagram. Another person I follow said, “The cyclocross bike was the right choice for travel this evening. Fast and easy: I passed miles of cars lined up at a standstill.”
Our friends at Biketown said they had about 90 or so rides after 3:00 (when the snow started to accumulate). “They’re not huge numbers,” said a Biketown rep, “but it was nice to hear from some members that we were the only way to get home once the roads were completely clogged.”
I did get a phone call from one bike rider who said his typically one-hour ride home took him over three hours tonight. He implored me to caution riders. “The amount of incredibly unsafe behavior of drivers on the road tonight was really astounding,” he said.
But overall the night was a big win for biking, which once again proved to be the most resilient form of transportation.
The commute from hell was heaven on a bike.
How’d it go for you? Will you ride to work in the morning?
Don’t miss our companion editorial, Don’t blame the weather for this mess, which was posted this morning.
— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – email@example.com