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Another Portland Blog

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

 

Boxing Day

One of Portland's new "bike boxes" popped up on SE Hawthorne yesterday. My first thought isn't, "Hey, is that hyphen really necessary?" but "man, I'd be really embarrassed to use one of these things if I rode my bike more often."

Will the boxes save lives? No doubt. Will they force drivers to acknowledge the existence of bicyclists? Absolutely. Would I use them? Maybe not.

I guess this makes me the sort of moron that would rather risk severe personal endangerment than draw attention to myself or, to be completely honest, feel like a dork. The boxes urge bicyclists to slip out of the bike lane and sit in a bright green box in front of cars while waiting for lights to change at some of Portland's most dangerous intersections. I know at least four people who have been hit by cars while riding their bikes but I'd still be reluctant to use one. Of those four, one sustained major injuries, one broke an arm and the other two wound up with bumps and bruises.

I'll be curious to see how many of the bike commuters in my neighborhood will make use of the box that's slated to be installed at an intersection a few blocks from my house. Another thought: will these boxes aggravate drivers during rush hour as they have to wait for a bicyclist to peddle out of their way and back into the bike lane? Here's hoping the boxes don't led to a slew of road rage incidents.

I've got to be honest here, I can't see many bicyclists using these things and I fear that too many drivers will mess with (i.e. flip off, yell, blast past) those that do.

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