Solar-powered LED guides show Burnside cyclists the right path

The Saris lights provide a delineation point between roads and bike lanes.

Bicyclists making their way to the westbound Burnside Bridge now have a bevy of lights to guide them.

Madison, Wisc.-based Saris Cycling Group has imported and is testing a set of "Cycle Guide Lights" from a Denmark company, on the Burnside Bridge approach. The LED lights are solar-powered and sit within bike lane markers.

The lights both provide a clear indication of where the Burnside’s bike path, for riders pedaling in from Northeast Couch Street, they also delineate the lane for auto drivers using the same route.

Portland is one of the first three markets in which Saris is testing the lights. The others are Chicago and the Madison suburb of Fitchburg, Wish.

“Many cities are trying to figure out how to create low-stress environments for cyclists with the idea that increasing their comfort levels will bring more people to ride,” said Sarah Reiter, Saris’ category manager.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation is using the Burnside/Couch test to determine if the lights will work elsewhere in the city. The systems cost between $11,000 and $15,000 a mile, or about $140 a light.

The lights go on automatically, powered by a solar cell that collects light during the day.

Saris said the lights can handle a 20-ton load and, because they’re flush-mounted, are protected against snow equipment.

In areas such as Madison and Denmark, it’s worth noting that the units can also survive for as long as one year in a snowdrift.

This BikePortland post provides several excellent pictures of the lights in application as well as observations from riders who’ve navigated the Saris-lit path first-hand.


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