bike lane characters

Here are the winning designs of Portland’s ‘Bike to Books’ bike lane stencil contest

Avatar by on July 5th, 2017 at 3:24 pm

A few of the winners. See them all below.

This is Portland at its finest: An art contest to create new bike lane characters that’s hosted by the Bureau of Transportation with the aim of getting more young people to read and ride bikes to the library.

Read that last sentence again and think about how many things have to be working right for something like that to happen. (Hints: A great education/encouragement program at PBOT’s Active Transportation Division; streets safe enough for to make neighborhood cycling a viable option for many young people; and a strong, community-supported library system.)

PBOT launched their ‘Bike to Books’ bike lane art coloring contest on May 1st. They received 196 entries and judged them for originality, creativity, and whimsy.

Here are the winners…[Read more…]

Latest bike lane art is a nod to Portland’s love of cycling and soccer

Avatar by on June 21st, 2017 at 5:49 pm

Coming to a bike lane near you.
(Graphic: PBOT)

One of our beloved cycling culture quirks around here is that our transportation bureau adds creative flair to bike lane symbols. It’s been going on since 1999 and the fact that it has survived as an official tradition for this long is a testament to the City of Portland.

It’s gone from being something that started organically at the maintenance bureau to becoming much more official. Case in point is a press release just sent out about an event tomorrow where a member of the Portland Timbers Major League Soccer team will help PBOT crews install a soccer-themed character on SW Naito Parkway.
[Read more…]

City launches ‘Bike to Books’ art contest to kick off Bike Month

Avatar by on May 1st, 2017 at 3:23 pm

Bike to Books launch at Hillsdale Library-6.jpg

Multnomah County Youth Librarian Barbara Head at Bike Storytime in Hillsdale this morning.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

The City of Portland and Multnomah County Library (with an assist from Metro) have teamed up on a novel way to promote National Bike Month: They’re hosting an art contest with a grand prize of having the winners’ design installed as a bike lane character.

Ever notice how some of the bike lane symbols around town have extra special flair? Some are subtle little twists and others are nothing short than a work of art. It’s a tradition that the Portland Bureau of Transportation started back in 1999. And now four lucky young Portlanders will get a chance to have their vision turned into a piece of infrastructure.

The “Bike to Books” program kicked off this morning at the Hillsdale Library. With the library’s book bike (more on that later) parked in the entrance, over a dozen pre-schoolers were treated to a special, bike-themed storytime. Youth Librarian Barbara Head kept the kids entertained (no easy task at that age) with bike books and bike-themed songs. It’s all part of an effort to get people of all ages to bike to the library during the month of May.

Any Multnomah County resident in kindergarten to 12th grade can grab a coloring contest flyer from a library or online and give it your best shot. The contest is open all month long and entrants must return the finished art to a library branch. Four grand prize winners (one for each age category) will get their bike lane art installed. The second place prize is four passes to The Lumberyard Indoor Bike Park and third place gets a Nutcase helmet.
[Read more…]

Our city has memorialized Bowie and Prince in the most Portland way possible

Avatar by on July 28th, 2016 at 3:12 pm

Prince and David Bowie are the latest additions to Portland's bike lanes.(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Prince and David Bowie are the latest additions to Portland’s bike lanes.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Portland isn’t known for its rock music legacy, but we do have something no other city has: memorials to two modern-day rock titans that are made out of bike lane markings.

You might have heard about our huge Bowie vs Prince bike ride. Not to be outdone, maintenance crews from the City of Portland’s transportation bureau have lent their creative skills to bike lane symbols that honor both Prince and David Bowie — two artists who unexpectedly passed away this year.

[Read more…]

Latest city bike stencil pays tribute to a turn of phrase

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on June 24th, 2016 at 11:33 am

fish bike

(Photo: Greg Raisman, Portland Bureau of Transportation)

Fish don’t need bicycles. But hey, once in a while they can be useful.

[Read more…]

Bike lane art honors late Blazers star Jerome Kersey

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on February 25th, 2015 at 12:15 am

Jerome Kersey, the local basketball hero who died last week at age 52, has been granted one of Portland’s highest honors:

Kersey bike lane

The Jerome Kersey Bike Lane outside the Moda Center on NE Multnomah Blvd.
(Photo J Maus/BikePortlnd)

[Read more…]

On NE Glisan, new bike lane character (and lower speed limit) earn clucks of approval

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on February 3rd, 2015 at 9:16 am

chicken tall

Male? Female? The comb seems hiply unisex. Either way, it’ll now have a safer time crossing the road.
(Photo: Terry Dublinski-Milton)

Portland’s famous bike lane characters keep getting more colorful. As we wrote in December, this unique and wonderful tradition has been making a comeback, thanks to creative city staffers.

[Read more…]

PBOT’s whimsical bike lane characters make a comeback

Avatar by on December 29th, 2014 at 11:10 am

symbol

PBOT is back to having fun with bike lane symbols.
(Photo courtesy City of Portland)

15 years after if first started, a fun City of Portland tradition seems to be making a comeback.

In 1999, a city employee named Todd Roberts decided to create a little hat from a piece of thermoplastic left over from installation of a bike lane symbol. After that, dozens of bike lane characters began to appear throughout Portland. In 2009, we shared a slideshow of the characters compiled by one of their biggest fans — northeast Portland resident Jim Waigand.

Unfortunately, for the past several years it’s seemed like PBOT crews had stopped laying down these whimsical symbols. I hadn’t seen or heard about any new ones and assumed it was just another part of Portland’s past cycling swagger that has recently gone missing.

But a few weeks ago I was excited to see the tradition return.
[Read more…]

Portland’s bike lane characters; a proud tradition continues (Slideshow)

Avatar by on January 15th, 2009 at 12:33 pm

One of Portland’s customized
bike lane markings.
-Slideshow below-
(Photo: City of Portland)

2009 marks the 10th anniversary of a proud Portland tradition: our creatively modified bike lane pavement markings or what I like to call, “bike lane guys”.

The “unlikely cycling hero” who started the tradition in 1999 — according to Portlander Jim Waigand, who has documented the phenomenon since 2003 — is former City employee Todd Roberts. In an article published in VeloVision Magazine in September 2003, Waigand uncovered the fascinating story behind the practice. (I’ve uploaded that article as a PDF with permission from the publisher. You can download it here.)[Read more…]

New bike lane stencil by Joe Biel

Avatar by on December 13th, 2005 at 1:39 pm

newbikelane_character

Some of you may remember that Joe Biel (founder of Microcosm Publishing) is working on a documentary about bike art. He was particularly interested in Portland’s whimsical bike lane characters.

I just heard from Joe that after a few meetings and phone calls he was given the opportunity to design and lay out his very own bike lane character. So here it is, courtesy of Joe Biel. It lives on NE 33rd, just past the Columbia Slough (by the DEQ).

To see more of Portland’s bike lane stencils, check out these photos.