A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Button’s no help on this little ride

Written April 20th, 2020 by Hasso Hering

This “beg button” at Pacific and Geary doesn’t help you if you’re on a bike.

To start with, what about these pedestrian crossing buttons during the coronavirus crisis? How many unwashed hands have touched them, and how often do they get disinfected? The answers, presumably, are lots and never. So how safe are they?

This particular one is on Pacific at the corner of Geary Street going south. It confused me. “Push button,” it says. But there’s no button, at least none as shown on the illustration. Turns out that the button has been replaced by a touch plate below the arrow.

This one does not, however, help you cross Pacific. There’s no pedestrian crossing there, so ODOT didn’t install a button or plate in that direction.

Which means that if you’re on a bike, hoping to get across Pacific, the signal doesn’t change because the pavement sensor is useless until a vehicle comes up. And on a Sunday afternoon during our Days of Corona, when traffic is light to none, the wait can be long.

But eventually, even a long wait ends. A car comes up, the light turns green, and you can join me on a short jaunt down Geary Street before we turn right and get on the Periwinkle Creek Bike Path for a few minutes’ ride down this Albany path. (hh)

12 responses to “Button’s no help on this little ride”

  1. Gordon L.Shadle says:

    Afraid of touching the button or touch plate while on your bike? Simple.

    Just wear a pair of those thin blue disposable gloves while riding to and from the store. And don’t forget to tie-on your cute, homemade cloth mask.

    You’ll probably be spreading all kinds of germs about, but you will feel more secure. Feelings of well-being are critical while riding your bike during a pandemic.

    • Rich says:

      Guess I miss the point of your sarcasm? Can you help us out?

      • Gordon L. Shadle says:

        Hasso wondered about the safety of touching this crossing button/touch plate.

        I gave him the politically correct answer we are being fed by the media and multiple levels of government.

        If putting on a costume of rubber gloves and a clever cloth mask makes you feel safe, do it.

        Just don’t confuse your feelings with reality.

        • HowlingCicada says:

          Reality, as best as I’ve concluded from multiple sources I consider reliable:

          1 – Masks and other low-grade face coverings are probably of little value to protect the wearer from catching the virus and might even lead to greater risk from increased face touching, etc.

          2 – The same coverings are likely to help a lot to keep someone who is infected (often unknowingly) from spreading the virus. This means that masking needs to be mandatory in places like grocery stores to protect the public.

          The argument for mandatory masking is analogous to the argument for mandatory emission controls on cars. Those controls don’t benefit the individual car owner. Voluntary controls would not have made the air in Los Angeles breathable — not enough prople are into what you would sarcastically call “virtue signaling.” One of the biggest shortcomings of many conservatives and libertarians is their refusal to recognize the outsized detriment of externalities.

  2. Richard Vannice says:

    I thought bicycle riders could proceed with caution regardless of what the signal light indicates..

    • Hasso Hering says:

      True, but only after one phase of the lights. If the lights don’t change, what’s a phase? And crossing a multilane high speed highway on a slow bike against a red light — does that sound advisable to you?

      • Jim Engel says:

        When I ride I think walking a bike across the street is smarter that trying to pedal up to speed. IF it looks like you may get hit you can push it away & “sacrifice” the bike to give you a moment to get outta the path.

        I must be mistaken on the new bike laws. I was under the impression riders could “slow” down for red & if no cars close by just zip thru.

        • Hasso Hering says:

          That’s for stop signs and blinking red lights. For signals it’s different. Cyclists can proceed on red if the light does not turn green “after one full cycle.” But if the light doesn’t change, it’s hard to know when one full cycle has run its course.

  3. Ray Kopczynski says:

    “There is no evidence to support the use of cloth masks to control the emission (you call it “spread”) of particles even if the wearer is infected but asymptomatic.”

    Appears to be a very well researched article. That said, placebos (aka cloth masks) do work for many people.


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