Quick Reference Guide: Legal Rights of Bicyclists

A quick reference guide to the legal rights of bicyclists in the state of Oregon, provided by the bike and pedestrian lawyers of Thomas, Coon, Newton & Frost. Shareable pdf file here.

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Quick Reference Guide: Legal Rights of Pedestrians

A quick reference guide to the legal rights of pedestrians in the state of Oregon, provided by the bike and pedestrian lawyers of Thomas, Coon, Newton & Frost. Shareable pdf file here.

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Protecting Sidewalks and Bike Lanes from Construction – Ray Thomas

The other day I was driving along Tualatin Valley highway during afternoon rush hour. Both lanes in each direction were filled with cars. As I drove through an area where construction was occurring I saw that the crew had stopped work for the day and left a furled up construction sign on a tripod stand right in the middle of the bike lane. Whoever did it was not thinking about a commuter bicycle rider coming along and having to leave…

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What is the legal significance of “crossbikes” on neighborhood greenways? – Chris Thomas

Portland’s inner eastside contains an extensive network of neighborhood greenways: low traffic side streets that encourage bike traffic by including sharrow pavement markings, bike-specific wayfinding signs, speed bumps, diverters, and fewer stop signs.  Examples include NE Going, NE Tillamook, SE Clinton and SE Lincoln.  While greenway riding is typically a low key alternative to riding in a bike lane or on the shoulder of high-volume, auto-oriented streets, the crossing of higher speed arterials that cross the greenway can be stressful.  At…

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Is a bicyclist allowed to ride on the sidewalk when there is a bicycle lane on the same street?

Yes, in Oregon, a person can ride a bicycle on a sidewalk even if the street they are riding along has a bicycle lane. Oregon is a mandatory sidepath law state, which means that the law requires a bicycle operator to use a bicycle lane if one is present instead of riding in the mixed traffic lane.  ORS 814.420 Failure to use bicycle lane or path prohibits a person from “operat[ing] a bicycle on any portion of a roadway that…

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Conflicting Crossing Signals

I have been asked by some attendees of our bicycle legal clinics about the legal operation of the crossings along the new Orange Line MAX in Portland, specifically the crossings at SE 12th Avenue and SE 8th Avenue where there are both pedestrian crossing signals and bicycle signals. At these crossings, if nobody triggers the pedestrian crossing signal by pressing the button then bicyclists get a green bicycle signal but the pedestrian crossing signal remains a red “do not cross”…

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Do Bicyclists have the Right of Way in the Bicycle Lane over Drivers Wishing to Turn?

I have had several readers and non-readers ask me to explain the right of way bicyclists have while riding in a bicycle lane over a car driver wanting to turn over and across the bicycle lane. A bicyclist has the right of way in a bicycle lane and a turning motorist is required to yield to the bicyclist before making their turn, even if the motorist arrives at the intersection first and is displaying a turn indicator. ORS 811.050 Failure…

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What does “Impeding Traffic” mean?

Earlier this year Salem cyclist David Fox had an encounter with an irate motorist on State Street, a three lane one way street that runs by Oregon’s State Capitol. Despite riding to the right on the street, the motorist became angry at him and told David “if I was impeding traffic, then I had to pull to the side. But I told him he had plenty of room to go around. The last thing he said was: ‘I hope you…

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Do bicyclists have the right of way on narrow streets?

Narrow residential streets with parking often present scenarios like the one in the photo below and have prompted residents to try novel solutions in an effort to make traffic flow safe and efficient. At the bicycle legal clinics I present, I have been asked about how the right of way works on streets that are too narrow to allow two vehicles to proceed at the same time, even if one is a bicycle. There is a mistaken presumption by some…

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Do bicyclists have to yield to buses in Oregon?

In some circumstances bicyclists, and all other vehicle operators, are required to yield the right of way to transit buses in Oregon. ORS 811.167 Failure to yield right of way to transit bus requires that vehicle operators approaching a transit bus from the rear are required to yield the right of way to the bus if the bus is trying to re-enter traffic after stopping to drop off or pick up passengers AND the bus has a illuminated, flashing yield…

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