Occasionally, on recent trips to Redmond, I’ve used the 3 bike rack on the front of the Metro buses. With the high demand, even these are not enough at peak times. All buses crossing the bridge, regardless if they are on route or heading to base are required to stop for cyclists. I’ve even had a bus driver have me put my bike in the bus for the ride across.
The three bike racks make me nervous. I’d seen a post a while back about a city somewhere deciding not to go with them due to turn radius, but otherwise had never heard or seen a problem with them. I just can’t stomach to watch my bike bouncing around on them and every pothole makes my skin crawl with dread. So I often sit in further back in the bus so I can’t see my bike on them.
That said, I’d never heard or seen any reports off bikes actually coming off. You’d think with a bus going 50 miles an hour over the most congested highway in the state, that if a bike had come off, we’d hear about it.
Yesterday, Metro stopped using these racks. To keep the racks on the suburban routes (and these are much needed) they took the two-bike racks off the downtown locals. This makes sense as a temporary fix since during the day you’re not allowed to have your bike in the free ride zone anyhow. As a long-term fix it’s no good as these are the most popular routes in the city and often, when it is wet and cold, I laze out and take my bike on these routes cross-town.
Gene Bisbee, as expected, has fuller comments here.
What I am wondering though, did anyone actually have their beloved steed fall off the bus?
On Kent Peterson’s bike blog, the comment from Metro implies bikes have been falling off, but doesn’t come out and say it (now that you mention it). It is indeed an interesting choice of wording, and makes me wonder what their motivation is.
On a personal note, Portland’s Tri-Met buses have recently invested in the 3-bike racks, and I’m more nervous than ever. I rarely bring my bike on the bus (barring bicycling catastrophe), but the whole thing makes me wonder…