Portland Bicycle Advocates Check Our Bike Safety Habits

The Bicycle Transportation Alliance recently tested Portland bicyclists’ use of safety lights at night and found that while more people are using them than expected, we’re still not as safe as we should be.

The organization headed up Portland’s first Bicycle Lights Use Survey, during which more than 50 volunteers counted bike lights at 33 locations around Portland on three weeknights between 6:30 and 8:30. The survey found that only 80 percent of cyclists used adequate front lights, while 75 percent had adequate rear lights.

“It’s a higher number than many of us had anticipated, but it’s still not good enough,” the BTA concluded on its blog. “If 1 in 5 motor vehicles didn’t have adequate headlights, we’d have a serious problem on our roads.”

Oregon bicycle law requires cyclists to equip themselves with a white light visible at least 500 feet away from the front of the bike, and a rear light or reflector visible “from all distances up to 600 feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful lower beams of headlights on a motor vehicle.”

For the purposes of the survey, the BTA defined adequate front lights as “white, clearly visible from one block away” and adequate rear lights as “red, clearly visible from one block away.”

Read more about bike safety from Portland bicycle attorney Ray Thomas.

[ photo by : clagnut ]