Biker Bob goes guerilla

Biker Bob and some pals went guerilla on rocky spots for bicycles. They painted their own cycle symbols along the Hip Strip, and in a fall motif, too.

But don’t call it “civil disobedience,” said Bob Giordano, bicycle activist and director of the Missoula Institute for Sustainable Transportation. Rather, call it “positive citizen action.”

Or call it downright dangerous, “extreme, very risky behavior,” said Bruce Bender, city chief administrative officer and regular bike commuter.

Giordano has clashed with city officials in the past, but this time, he’s landed in court and may seek a jury trial. Would a jury applaud his acts or see the paint job as a nuisance?

In other painting news, the Northside pedestrian bridge is getting scrubbed. It’s also getting some new features, like lots of lights.

I tried to find out the number of folks who use the bridge, and couldn’t put my finger on it. Got close, though, with some data from Ann Cundy, senior transportation planner in the Office of Planning and Grants.

Here’s a link to data from the springtime bike-ped count. (A count was done in the fall and data is still being compiled.)

Cundy said there weren’t enough people to do counts on the Northside bridge, but there’s a couple intersections close by.

At Orange and Spruce Streets, for instance, the weekday count over the course of two commuter hours was 79 total. Walkers made up roughly two-thirds of the total, and bikers made up one-third.

At Higgins Avenue and Spruce Street, there were 859. That’s just a few blocks away, on a farmers market Saturday.

Cundy said it’s fair to conclude many of the folks at Higgins and Spruce used the Northside bridge and bypassed Orange Street.

Without real numbers, though, it’s hard to know for sure. One reason I was curious is I walked over that bridge late the night of the recent attack, maybe 10 p.m. or so. (OK. Late for me.)

And guess what? I was struck by how busy it was with regular looking people. Sorry bleeding heart people for any offense.

Specifically, I was surprised by the number of people who were just walking or biking across the bridge, not using it as a stage for their hollering or preaching or drinking.

The counts linked above are comprehensive, so take a peek at how bike-ped traffic looks in your area. Oh, and TGIF.

— Keila Szpaller

One thought on “Biker Bob goes guerilla

  1. We did this action in a very safe manner. It took us 15 minutes to put down the symbols, not even disturbing traffic. There was very little traffic at 9:30pm that evening- it is much busier in the day. Even crews hired by the city often do road work at night to minimize disruption.

    We put down a form of ‘sharrows,’ or shared lane markings that promote safety and awareness, which the City has done too. Too many cylists (and walkers) have been hit by drivers on the hip strip, and the driver usually states, ‘I did not see the cyclist.’ Sharrows help with that.

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