I’m raising money so more people on bikes can Get Lit

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Educating cyclists and distributing lights in Wicker Park in 2010. 

I started the Get Lit: Use Lights at Night campaign last year because I thought too many people in Chicago cycled in the dark without headlights. Not only do city and state laws require the use, but it’s helpful for two other reasons: drivers in cars behind windshields and other distractions are more likely to see you; they can save your butt in court if you’re involved in a crash (the “I didn’t see the cyclist” defense can’t work if you’ve got a flashing white light).

In my experience being involved with two bike light distributions, recipients weren’t aware of the laws, or of the other benefits of having lights. In other words, this was the first time anyone had ever told them about using lights while cycling.

What is Get Lit?

It’s a distribution program to encourage cyclists to use lights.

It started off as a poster and postcard advertising the message about using lights at night, featuring a silhouetted cyclist (below). Lawyer Jim Freeman* graciously paid for the printing of 2,000 postcards featuring the “Get Lit” design by my friend Francesco Villa, and the “Things to know when riding a bike” and “Things do do after a collision” designs by my Moving Design colleague Rachel Ariyavatkul (both designs are at the bottom).

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The front of the postcard. There is one of two designs on the back side. See them below. 

I want to move from just giving people postcards and encouraging them to use lights at night to actually distributing bike lights to people without them. I’ve been involved with this twice before, always alongside Active Transportation Alliance.

This is where you come in: I want to raise $1,800 so the Get Lit campaign can buy and distribute 150 bike lights to make cyclists more visible to other users of the road. If we raise $2,360, we can distribute 200 lights.

Donate to give cyclists lights

There are three ways to make a tax-deductible donation:

  • Go to http://www.activetrans.org/getlit and type in your donation amount.
  • Write a check to “Active Transportation Alliance” and write GET LIT in the memo field.
  • Give cash or a check to myself if you see me, and I’ll pass it along to Active Trans.

You’ll receive the gratitude of transportation advocates, myself included, and those who will receive resources to cycle safer around town. If you want, I can also send you a handful of the postcards. Add “send me postcards” to your donation order or check.

Jason Jenkins, their education specialist, myself, and Active Trans volunteers will distribute them to Chicagoans who are cycling without lights on an unannounced date. If you would like to volunteer, contact Jason or myself.

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Educating cyclists and distributing lights in Wicker Park in 2010. 

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Things to do after a collision. The blue back side, the first of two designs.

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Things to know when riding your bike. The green back side, the second of two designs.

“Things to do after a collision” was based on Freeman’s presentation to the Moving Design group in 2011; “Things to know while cycling” is based on Jason Jenkins’s presentation to the same group.

*Lawyer Jim Freeman is also a sponsor of Grid Chicago.

9 thoughts on “I’m raising money so more people on bikes can Get Lit”

  1. WPB used to get lights at a lower price than $12 each, sometimes through Joe’s shop (he sold them to us at wholesale). Planet Bike has also been pretty good to similar programs elsewhere at extending a discount. I think we also were able to attach “get $ off a real light at any WPB bike shop” coupons to ours.

    If you really want cheap lights… I wish I’d spent more time there, but I remember walking past a few blocks in Guangzhou where every single shop sold LED arrays, and I’m pretty sure a really great deal could be haggled there.

    1. I’m familiar with those lights. I think they were $3-$5 and even included a WPB branding. I dislike those lights, and I don’t think they’re bright enough. 

      Right now we’re planning to use a Cateye brand light (that we’ve used before and has the easiest mounting option), but I’m going to look into contacting Planet Bike and Cateye about getting a donation. 

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