Sunday, June 3, 2007

Nightriders, Portland's unacknowledged menace

About 12:30 last night, during the usual late-night study session, I decided to go out and get us some snacks (by the food choices I am suspicious I may be pregnant, but that's another story). I didn't know I was driving into a deathtrap, a madhouse of drunken and reckless riders hell-bent on getting t-boned by some random car. The streets were stuffed with drunken, reckless, heedless, godless hipster barfly bicyclists. It was a vehicular manslaughter waiting to happen, and I was the sober one!

The gauntlet I ran was a particularly bad one -- 28th street between Stark and Glisan. This area has lots of alcoholic night life, starting with The Good Foot at one end, and terminating with Lucky's East Tavern on the other. The Laurelhurt Beer Theater sits right in the middle as well. So -- it can be anticipated that there would be many drunken revelers. The warmth was incentive to get on a bike (also because it's so dam cool to bike in Ptown), and the nearly full moon provided the added excuse of lunacy to these idiots.

It seemed everywhere I turned there were folks on bikes, most with no lights, swerving all over the road. At one point I was headed up Burnside when two bicyclists (no lights, again) came barreling out of a side street one block ahead, doing easily 25 mph, streaking right across Burnside without so much as turning their heads. I turned corners near Stark St. to find 4-5 bicyclists huddled in a group in the middle of the street just shooting the shit. Right around a blind corner, for crissakes!

To be fair, I did see some responsible bicyclists with lights, riding in the flow of traffic, etc. They were in the steep minority last night, however.

I've always complained about the "bar rush" kids who ride, lightless, in close-in NE neighborhoods at night. Vancouver street and Interstate are the worst areas, a veritable highway on weekends, bicycle-traffic volumes approaching that of the Hawthorne Bridge during the morning commute. They ride like there is no one else on the road, and especially in the winter are completely clad in black including black hoodies pulled over their helmetless heads. It's nightmarish if you need to do anything in a car at those times.

So if you are someone who likes to ride around Portland at night on a bike (I am one of these people) I have 2 requests -- 1. Get some fucking lights, flashers if at all possible. 2. Don't drive drunk (you don't want me drunk behind the wheel, what makes DUI'ing ok when you are riding a bike for crissakes!).

Ok I feel better now, the weather has me a might peckish.

Enjoy your short and precious life,



Tate said...

wow, crazy evening for you. but i agree, as a bike rider it pisses me off that i follow the rules of the road, and see all this people being stupid. You can not play chicken with an auto.... you will not make it
and drinking and driving of any vehicle is stupid.

CtheG said...

yep, I agree. Stupid. glad you made it through the sea of wheels with no motors, mechanical or otherwise.

Anonymous said...

if you live that close-in... walk for your midnight snack! cars suck!

Bpaul said...

Is a timing thing... only so many more hours to study before finals. I aught to have been on a bike actually, as opposed to either walking or driving.