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

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 by Charley Gee

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? by Charley Gee

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? by Charley Gee

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? by Charley Gee

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? by Charley Gee

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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Who has the right-of-way at a four-way stop in Oregon? by Charley Gee

Everyone has seen the infamous Portlandia skit. Despite what you may have learned in driver’s education about four way stops in Oregon, the person who stopped first or the person to your right does not have the legal right-of-way. Neither does the person going straight have right-of-way over the person turning left if they are not already in the intersection. The only person who has the right-of-way at a four way stop in Oregon is the vehicle operator who is…

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Does a bicyclist have to stop for railroad crossing signals in Oregon? by Charley Gee

Yes, all vehicles have to stop and remain stopped when a railroad signal is displayed or a train is approaching and is close enough to be an immediate hazard. In Oregon a vehicle (which includes a bicycle whether operated on the street or the sidewalk) must stop for a railroad signal or when a train is approaching and is close enough to be an immediate hazard, even if there are no railroad crossing signals.   Railroad crossing along Portland’s new…

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Is it legal to pass on the right on a bicycle in Oregon? by Ray Thomas

Oregon law did not specifically authorize passing on the right until 2006, when the law was clarified to follow the great majority of other states and the Uniform Vehicle Code in specifically allowing bicycles to pass other vehicles on the right when it can be performed safely. In Oregon bicycles and motor vehicles share the same traffic lane and the fluid movement of traffic is in everyone’s best interest when performed in a safe manner. The Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA)…

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Does Oregon have a Dead Red Law? by Charley Gee

No.  Oregon does not have a “dead red” law. A dead red law is a law that provides an exception to the violation of Failure to Obey a Traffic Control Device when the light does not detect a vehicle (like a bicycle) and the light fails to cycle through to allow a roadway user to proceed.  This can result in a person being stuck at a light without any option for lawfully passing through the intersection. ORS 811.260 Appropriate driver…

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