Crashing bike stencil

← Back to Forums


Ahlir
Participant
#

I’m looking into creating a stencil for applying warning marks to pavement. Something you might use to, oh, point out a pothole. I took a quick look on the internet and there’s nothing suitable.

I’m not an artist or a draftsman. Not even close. I’m thinking of something along these lines:

The general goal is for it to be simple and strong and scalable. It has so be suitable for stenciling using regular spray paint. I think this means no fussy detail or large homogeneous areas of paint. If you can do it as (say) an AI file that would be great.

I will gladly offer up a growler of your favorite beer (or equivalent) as a token of my appreciation. This is not a commercial venture in any sense of the word; I just want to spray down some reminders for myself (and others.)


HiddenVariable
Participant
#

perhaps this is what you’re looking for:


edmonds59
Participant
#

Cyclist crashing on a Lincoln Log?


Ahlir
Participant
#

That’s the sign for rail/trolley tracks (we could use those also around here).

It’s close, but no one in Pittsburgh would realize that those dippy little things are supposed to be potholes.


wojty
Participant
#

Something a bit more like this:


reddan
Keymaster
#

Needs lava.


wojty
Participant
#

Warning, Temple of Doom ahead.


Ahlir
Participant
#

hmm. Something missing there… ah! got it.


Ahlir
Participant
#

But seriously, folks. If anyone can sketch out a good stencil that would be great.


reddan
Keymaster
#

Ideally, it would include a directional element, so that it could be pointed at the actual hazard, not merely indicate potential death ahead.


robjdlc
Participant
#

Just a note, putting down street stencils yourself is considered graffiti and can get you arrested. I’m all for safety warnings, but proceed with caution.


Ahlir
Participant
#

@reddan: I’m assuming a separate arrow stencil which can be oriented as necessary.

@robjdlc: You’re probably right. But I’d be willing to get into (a small bit of) trouble if I could parlay it into publicity.

[this is not a legal offer nor an inducement of any kind; that’s in the prospectus]:

Imagine you have a bunch of people silly enough to get into this kind of trouble… and they decide to make an outing of it. What if they could somehow leverage it into an issue in the upcoming local election?


edmonds59
Participant
#

I’m certainly not advocating anything, but there is the Urban Repair Squad.

http://urbanrepairs.blogspot.com/


fungicyclist
Participant
#

“Russian Bears Dismounting From Bicycle Ahead”?

Where in the wild is edwardm?

Completely supportive of the idea. Legality is “skirtable”; think a work around can be found. More then a decade ago I lived on a small Island in the middle of the Chesapeake and was appalled to find floating fish with cigarette butts embedded in their gills. When I moved to Baltimore observed people flinging their butts out the window like they were throwing them in the trash. Was part of starting a program to stencil “Drains To Bay” on storm grates. Brought idea to Pgh a decade ago, which has caught on. http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09281/1003703-55.stm

I’m not positive, but I suspect the local authorities will allow, if not permit, this urban activism. In NY people are paid by a fund established by (personal injury) lawyers to document and maintain a database of bad sidewalks, potholes, and whatnot for suits against the city. Given that’s a logical and really attractive next step, (though of course it’s not appealing to the City), perhaps “the powers that be” could be persuaded to permit these warnings?


robjdlc
Participant
#

Ahlir: A bunch of folks last year in nyc tried laying their own bike lanes and got arrested. Its also why bike-pgh cant just hire people to put up bike friendly signs – all of these things have to be signed off and done by the city.


Ahlir
Participant
#

http://urbanrepairs.blogspot.com/ is cute but a little light on technical details.

Hm… I see that Krylon sells the right kind of paint, in 5 gal pails (though only in white and yellow). That might be enough for my immediate neighborhood, I think. 3-M has the kind with embedded glass spheres for reflectiveness (but it’s more expensive).

@rob: so what do you suggest?


robjdlc
Participant
#

Option A: Buy the paint, make stencils and go nuts with the possible outcome of getting a fine / getting arrested. Immediate satisfaction with potential long term consequences. If you don’t get arrested, your paint will wear out after a year.

Option B: Report potholes / dangerous street elements to 311 and spend that time/money working with the lovely folks at bike-pgh and your council members encourage the development and importance of our biking infrastructure and let the city put down the paint and maintain it henceforth.


fungicyclist
Participant
#

Blocking access to a broken bridge might be more analogous then painting bike lanes. Some of the “bike traps” here on the northside present a clear and imminent threat to public welfare and safe legal vehicular traffic on our roadways. (We have two foot deep and wide holes with wide grates at the bottom: bike traps. I have one at every corner of my block! Stu documented a few around here, which got me looking.)

Putting out flares or traffic cones or those triangular reflecting thingies to change the traffic flow is illegal, except under exigent circumstance, like if there’s a wreck ahead, or the roadway has fallen away in a mudslide or a plane has parked in the middle of the highway, or a sinkhole has opened up.


dwillen
Participant
#

There is a storm drain on my street that has no grate. This winter it mated with a pothole, so now there is a giant hole in the side of the road. At some point this spring, someone (city? citizen?) stuck a traffic cone in the hole, to keep people from driving into it. The hole expanded a bit, swallowed the entire traffic cone which I’m sure is well on its way to the golf via the Ohio. I reported it to 311 7 or 8 months ago?

I don’t see marking potholes and other more permanent hazards as that big of a deal. Just tell whoever stops you that you’re working on a volunteer effort for the city. As much as I love supporting the local bike shops, I would have rather not spent over $100 for a new wheel thanks to a giant pothole on a major arterial road, WELL AFTER pothole season ended (though in my case, paint wouldn’t have made a difference).


wojty
Participant
#

I think I brought this up before somewhere on the board, but it seems relevant to this too. A quick splash of color in a pothole would assist in locating it for cyclists/motorists/city officials rather quickly, I would think.

Then again, with how quickly these things become filled with debris/expand, not sure how much a splash of paint will do, versus this project which has it ‘baked in’ so to speak.

I am all for some guerilla markings. Especially if it gives enough heads up to realize that it isn’t just a puddle coming up, but a rim bender.


Ahlir
Participant
#

rob: why choose? Why not both A and B! Division of labor.

I don’t quite see how the two could be mutually exclusive. Seems like a lot of A going on could be a good argument for having the city prioritize B.

In any case, it’s not clear to me that A is necessarily a criminal activity. As others are pointing out, it’s acceptable to do something “illegal” if the purpose is to save a life or prevent bodily harm. I mean, look, the legislature just voted in the “castle doctrine” which, as near as I can tell, legalizes drive-by shootings (as long as what you’re driving is your own car). I find potholes life-threatening. Aren’t I allowed to pop a pothole with a simple shot of spray paint?

But on a more serious note, those urbanrepair people (echt hipsters, judging by the looks of their website) seem to need a truck or car to schlep around their guerrilla stencils, paint, rollers, etc. I was trying to think up a more biker-friendly solution, like a roll-up stencil and a can of spray paint. But how do you keep that stencil flat (yeah I know, the pothole is full of rubble). How do you keep the paint mess off yourself and your bike? Also, my wife thinks hot-pink is the right color, since it’s not one of the official traffic colors (white, yellow). Do you think that’s visible enough? There’s also green and orange (which [un?]fortunately is a construction color). Suggestions welcome.

[addendum]

wojty: Just looked at your link. I thought it was going to be that stunt where they stick a flowering plant (or something else cute) into the pothole. Yawn. I did consider simply spray-painting the hole, but potholes themselves are evolving phenomena: they get bigger, things pulverize. Painted gravel just gets strewn about. A warning marker on sound pavement somehow seems more useful. (That said, I have to admit that one of the loveliest sights I glimpsed this past winter was a pothole with a frozen puddle nestled within it! Two of a biker’s favorite sights. In one place!)


fungicyclist
Participant
#

Chartreuse is rather attention garnering? I’d like something highly reflective, “shiny” even, like a handful of glass microbeads tossed on top of the paint. (This works, I’ve done it.) Actually I’d fancy little blinkie at every pothole, solar powered and epoxied to the pavement. Easy enough to chip up or cover with asphalt once “they” attend to it. Been playing around with old Sprout Fund green blinkies to that end, but they are fragile and don’t last as long as the road hazard and I’m out of broken scrounged solar chips. If only there was a public spirited venue where this idea could be presented for funding….someplace that could, if you will, “kick start” this idea into an action. Oh, well, maybe someday…

(Oh, the blinkies are for you swank folk up on the East End plateau with your dainty little divots. We’re going to set gasoline/oil and tire fires in our potholes down here on the northside. We can grill roadkill in the summer and huddle around them in the winter for warmth.)


robjdlc
Participant
#

Ahlir: they don’t need to be mutually exclusive, and you can do anything that is illegal, its just illegal. I’m just tossing around the consequences, so the real expense here is obviously money, when you do something illegal you risk having to pay fines and that sort of thing, so if you’re capable of absorbing a given expense for doing the illegal thing, you might have to absorb the surprise expense of getting arrested for it.

By the letter of the law, the only thing you’re allowed to mark public property with must wash away with the rain, which doesn’t do this cause much good.

Like I said, I’m all for having a heads up before my bike gets swallowed by a giant pothole, but I personally can’t afford that sort of risk and see my time better spent trying to get legitimate markings on the road.

Theres a thread from last year where we brainstormed the sort of equipment and things we’d need for this.


Ahlir
Participant
#

One of the (many) annoying things about WordPress is their crap search function. Can anyone suggest some useful search terms for the thread that @rob alludes to?

I tried, but all I got was stuff like the guy who peed on his helmet and was wondering if it was still good to wear. Or maybe it was his cat that peed on it. Whatever, I didn’t click through…


Ahlir
Participant
#

@fungi: 3-M sells microbeads for $50/gallon. Somewhat incongruously, Martha Stewart also sells them, at $4.98 per 6.4oz. I suspect that 3-M has the better deal (especially with their 20%-off sale, good until the end of May).

On a serious note: I believe the microbeads would need a better substrate, such as, in fact, the one provided by 3-M pavement paint. If I sprinkle them on the pavement, the spray paint will just blow them away. If I sprinkle them afterwards I don’t see that there’s enough gumminess to hold them. Do you think if I take the 3-M product (in white) down to the Home Depot and ask them to color it up in {pink,green,chartreuse} they would do it? I’d pay extra, of course.


fungicyclist
Participant
#

Oooo, where’s that thread. At least he didn’t pee on his cat and then try to wear it as a helmet?

@robjdlc: I take exception to your unsupported statement that this particular activity would be illegal. There was a crumbling building in Wilkensburg on which someone spray painted “Danger: Falling Debris” or the like. Sure, it’s the building owner’s responsibility to remedy the situation, but in the time between the onset of the dangerous condition and the solution, it was their civic duty to alert passersby of the danger, was it not? And, as much as you seem inclined to inappropriately qualify this proposal as simple graffiti, that’s not the intention of the action at all, is it?


fungicyclist
Participant
#

@ahlir: “Enough” spray paint as a base does bind the wee glass balls. On other occasions I’ve used a clear spray adhesive to affix the tiny shinys.

I overlooked your post about 3M offering paint with glass balls above. Sorry, I think you posted while I was composing.

Martha does fancy the shinys. They also sell the glass balls in bulk at fabric shops, and last I checked, at WalWhatever too. Doesn’t May end in a few hours?


Marko82
Participant
#

reddan
Keymaster
#

@fungicyclist: IANAL, but here’s what appears to be applicable PA law

I think Rob’s point is important: it does not matter what your intent may be, an overly officious poseel ossifer can very easily make a case that you are someone who “intentionally defaces or otherwise damages tangible public property or tangible property of another with graffiti,” per the applicable statutes.

So, be aware of the potential consequences of your actions, no matter how pure your motives.


robjdlc
Participant
#

Dan: nail on head.


edmonds59
Participant
#

I never thought I would see the words “Martha Stewart” referenced on this message board. I think it’s possible the rapture did happen. And we’re stuck here listening to Ke$ha music.


fungicyclist
Participant
#

“Disappeared” bike lanes and worn sharrow markings do not present a clear and imminent threat to my life. Bicycle eating potholes and sunken wide gapped storm grates do. If I’ve called 311 and written about a specific pothole, and nothing is done by the “powers that be” in a “reasonable” period of time, then I look at it as my civic duty to either fill it in (which may very well be totally illegal) or emblazon it so my friends don’t fall into it on their way to visit, and warn fellow pedalcyclists of a serious road hazard. They are essentially land mines. Heck there are so many here I sometimes forget one or two, which is why I always ride my mtb with fat rubber in the rain, (yet still I’ve almost been unseated and tossed into traffic on occasion).


Lyle
Participant
#

Hahahah. “Damaging” a pothole, the horror.


fungicyclist
Participant
#

@reddan: Familiar with the code on graffiti, but that’s not the issue, (though its applicability in this instance is arguable).

I’m suggesting there is probably some squirrelly case law at least requiring, for instance, someone who knows a bridge is out to make a reasonable effort to alert others to the situation. If you see a crime committed and don’t report it you are guilty of a crime (something called a felony misdemeanor if I remember correctly). If you see a fellow cyclist heading for a gaping hole and don’t at least call out to them, you could be guilty of reckless endangerment, and certainly be held liable in a civil proceeding.

Sure, a gungho cop can charge you with anything. Spitting is illegal. Eating a breath mint on the bus is illegal. Having non-missionary position sex in your own bedroom was illegal in Northern Virginia. Drinking from a “Whites Only” water fountain may still be illegal for persons of colour in South Carolina. The point I’m trying to make is that this is not black and white. It is not “simply illegal” to spray paint “Bridge Out” on a road sign if the bridge is out; it might even be construed as a duty.


reddan
Keymaster
#

The point I’m trying to make is that this is not black and white. It is not “simply illegal” to spray paint “Bridge Out” on a road sign if the bridge is out; it might even be construed as a duty.

No argument here. “Illegal” is not synonymous with “wrong”.

I simply wish guerrilla road decorators to be aware of some possible consequences to their actions; I have no need whatsoever to debate the validity of said actions.


ejwme
Participant
#

Some lawyer show I saw once had a lawyer in a therapy session with a shrink and various cards were strewn across the floor that said “innocent” “good” “legal” “ethical” and the likes on them. Lawyer says “wait, so none of them are the same?”

Good luck. I think even just a circle around the hazard would do, no need for a fancy stencil. Or if you do, make it a small one you can make out of a rigid material (plexiglass?) rather than roll-up, it will be less fuss and faster in case you are, ahem, observed.


fungicyclist
Participant
#

How about a big circle with a line at an angle through it? That’s universally known as “No”, would be visible, and might even be mistaken for something the City would do. (Maybe with a little bike silhouette above and below or inside, or so it “reads” “No Bicycles” without words?)

If folks were to call 311 and praise the “powers that be” for taking such action, they’d be hard pressed to bring “graffiti” charges and might even incorporate it as a stop-gap interim measure to deal with potholes and other road hazards?


Ahlir
Participant
#

My own preference is for something based on the middle sketch: it uses the rider’s legs to suggest the bike’s structural elements (stays, fork); less busy.

Notes:

I have a Wacom, so I could probably transfer your freehand sketch to AI (the latter makes it easier for a shop to reproduce).

I’m now thinking that a cart could be used to pull along the necessary kit for proper road painting.


salty
Participant
#

I’ve seen potholes outlined in orange, I assumed the city did that, perhaps to mark the ones to be patched?

If someone were inclined to do something, that sounds a lot easier than all the logistical problems with using a stencil and probably just as effective. Towing a cart sounds like a fast ticket to getting busted.


Ahlir
Participant
#

Circling the pothole in spray paint doesn’t convey the right message. It could mean that the city noticed it… but we’d just be kidding ourselves.

Placing a marker is both a service to bikers, and a deliberate reminder to everyone else that essential municipal services are being systematically degraded.

← Back to Forums

You must be logged in to reply to this topic. Click here to login.

Sponsors