Thursday, December 02, 2010

Cascade Bike Club Distributing Free Bike Lights!

Cascade Bicycle Club will be distributing FREE bike lights to folks riding in Seattle on Thursday December 9th between 4 and 6pm. Bike safe, get lights!

Thanks to Seattle Department of Transportation's Bike Smart program, Cascade will light up December by giving away 420 bike light sets, first come, first served. Come find them at one of the following locations (look for the Cascade banners) to get your free light:

Burke-Gilman Trail between University Way and Brooklyn Ave in the U-District.

Entrance to the Elliott Bay Trail at Broad Street and Alaskan Way.

Jose Rizal Bridge at 12th Ave and Sturgus Ave (start of the I-90 trail)


Anonymous said...

I hate to sound like a grouch, but something about this program drives me slightly crazy. As a year-round commuter, I've invested in a really good lighting system. The lights that I think are the bare minimum one needs riding in darkness are not inexpensive. I would be surprised if this giveaway program is going to involve anything more than inexpensive "blinkies," which create the illusion of safety but in fact are not really enough light to keep one safe in the dark.

If someone is already well lit, the addition of another blinkie is nice, but I'd question why Cascade members or taxpayers need to fund this. And if somebody is going from zero lighting to whatever light they are giving away in this program, they are not really going to have enough light to be safe.

I think we'd do more to create safe riding if we set up demos at strategic points around the city showing people the visibility difference between a rider who is (a) unlit (b) equipped w/bare bones "blinkies" and the like and (c) equipped with really good lighting. Stop bike commuters and ask them to look 200 yards down the road at 3 demo riders equipped with (a), (b) and (c). Then hand them a list of lights that will really help them stay safe at night.

SeattleM+M said...

I'd say it's not an either/or proposition. Blinky lights are far better than nothing at all, and handing them out to the unlit - or to those of us who are lit but will pass them on to folks who aren't - seems like a good, and potentially lifesaving, idea. And maybe some freebie recipients will then develop safer habits. Anyway, giving out lights doesn't preclude demonstrating more effective lighting. Plus, this seems like a good and inexpensive outreach effort at a time when the Cascades could use some promotion.

Kent Peterson said...


Feel free to do your own program, give away better lights, do an education program or whatever.

If Cascade moves one ninja rider from total blackness to some visibility, I think that's a gain. And programs like this do raise awareness.

When I ran a similar program for the Bike Alliance, we gave Planet Bike lights to low-income riders who were completely unlit. I think lighting a single candle is better than cursing the darkness or saying I can't give away Niteriders so I'm not going to bother.

Cascade also does a "review your lighting" session every year. If you want to help out with that, I'm sure they'd love to see you there.

Marcy said...


Thanks for sharing this information. I continue to be surprised by how many people ride at night without any lighting (and how many pedestrians walk in black clothing without lighting). I totally agree with you that some lighting is much better than nothing.

Vannevar said...

As this blog post from yesterday suggests, "it is better to light one bike than to curse the darkness".

Bob said...

I hope it's not dark in Seattle between 4 and 6 pm when the unlit folks venture out to get their lights!

kfg said...

My bare minimum headlight system is a two head set up (I like two heads for the versatility and because I believe two lights signals "vehicle" to the driver brain better than one does) . The heads are made of nicely machined and anodized aluminum. They are functionally impervious to drop damage. They are o-ring sealed and have proven to be impervious to water intrusion in heavy downpours.

Being optimized for light weight (for at all times backup system carry) and run time (dusk 'til dawn in the summer) they aren't as bright as a Dinotte 400, but with both beams aimed together they are bright enough to see the pool even under a street lamp, light up street signs a block away and sufficient to actually see by at Amsterdam commuter speeds in complete darkness.

For this system I paid, including a set of starter primary batteries, over the counter full retail; six bucks. A new set of primaries costs a buck.

Decent lighting need not cost an arm and a leg, but it does require consciousness that lighting is an issue, which many riders seem to lack.

Here's to raising their consciousness and providing them with at least that single candle, which is certainly better than them being just another patch of the darkness.

"Safe" is impossible and Saf-ER has some value up to certain pragmatic limits.

Doug in Seattle said...


This time of year in Seattle I'm turning on my lights at about 4pm. By 6pm it is totally dark.