TriMet says its drivers are temporarily emphasizing a longstanding rule that bikes loaded on its bus racks ares supposed to be stripped of bulky accessories before boarding.
According to the transit agency’s bikes-on-buses policy, these rules apply to “panniers, child seats or any object that could block the headlights or the operator’s vision.”
We heard about this after two readers sent accounts of bus drivers telling people to remove such add-ons before boarding. TriMet Bicycle Coordinator Jeff Owen confirms that it’s “a reinforcement of our messaging for a while.” The issue may take new importance due to TriMet’s newest bus model, which improves driver lines of sight by extending its windshield almost as far down as the rack.
This is definitely a problem for Portlanders who have permanently affixed some of the huge variety of available bike accessories to their vehicles. Still, it’s at least useful to know the reason for the policy, to make sure your bike works within drivers’ safety constraints.
Though TriMet bus racks are far from perfect — for example, years of experimentation have failed to turn up a design that lets TriMet buses fit three-bike racks into the turning envelope of Portland’s narrow streets — being able to load a standard bike onto a bus is something that it’s useful for every bike user to know how to do in a pinch. Here’s TriMet’s video explaining how it’s done:
Or if you prefer, here’s the timeless “bike rack rap” from TARC in Louisville, Kentucky: