Here’s the thing– we have a LOT of people who ride bikes in Portland, and unfortunately we have a LOT of people who have been injured and killed while riding bikes in Portland. My favorite cafe waitress this week was wearing a sling and moving slowly ’cause someone opened a car door into the bike lane directly in front of her.
The shrine will be dedicated to La Madonna del Ghisallo, who was originally the patron of vulnerable travelers, but then asked to also take care of bicyclists, too.
Why is this so awesome and important? Well, a few reasons that I’m coming up with are:
1) Roadside shrines cause traffic issues. People slow down to look at them. Pedestrians cross traffic lanes to leave flowers. There was a woman killed in my hometown who was taking care of a roadside shrine and someone lost control of the car and ran into her.
2) Portland is a very unchurched town. Lots of us are ‘spiritual, not religious’. This gives those people an open space to mourn and remember and pray for safety. It takes a little bit of that fear of the Church Building away, that fear of walking into a new place and being judged, and honestly? A little bit of that fear of the Christian. Because a lot of ‘spiritual, not religious’ people are only familiar with Christian beliefs a la Jerry Falwell and George Bush, and they be scary men, yo.