Does Oregon have a Bicycle Helmet Law?

Like a lot of legal questions, the question of whether Oregon has a mandatory bicycle helmet law is answered with “it depends”. For bicycle operators under he age of 16 a helmet is required if they are operating a bicycle on a public street or on premises open to the public (like parking lots) per ORS 814.485 Failure to wear protective headgear. For a premises to be considered open to the public it must be made open to the general public…

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Oregon Bicycle Law in the News

Two of our contributors were recently featured in news articles about Oregon bicycle law: Ray Thomas explained the law regarding flashing bicycle lights for The Oregonian’s Joe Rose, specifically how the Oregon statute prohibiting flashing lights on motor vehicles does not apply to bicycles. Charley Gee was quoted in Michael Andersen‘s BikePortland.org‘s story about Uber’s illegal launch in Portland and the insurance implications of being hit by an Uber driver.  Vehicles operated by Uber drivers do not carry the levels of insurance…

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What are Oregon’s Bicycle Parking Laws? by Charley Gee

A bicycle parked blocking access to newspaper boxes, in violation of Portland city Code 16.70.320(A). Oregon’s state statutes do not contain any laws that dictate how a person is supposed to park a bicycle. This has resulted in many cities and towns of Oregon drafting their own bicycle parking ordinances. In some of those cities a violation of the ordinance can result in an illegally parked bicycle being impounded . Below I have included the bicycle parking ordinances for the…

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When do Oregon bicyclists have to signal? by Charley Gee

Oregon law requires bicyclists to signal their turns and stops. While that seems like a simple proposition, this law actually goes deeper than that and contains some key differences from the signaling requirements of motor vehicle operators. Turning ORS 814.440 Failure to signal turn requires a person operating a bicycle to signal their turns, and ORS 811.395 Appropriate signals for stopping, turning, changing lanes and decelerating provides the method for doing so: 100 feet prior to a left turn a…

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When Do Oregon Bicyclists Have to Use Lights? by Charley Gee

As the rains return to Oregon, the sun sets earlier, and we return to standard time, I see more bike lights illuminated on my rides to and from work. Oregon law requires that bicycle operators use lights in “limited visibility conditions.” Excerpt from ORS 815.280 Violation of bicycle equipment requirements (1) A person commits the offense of violation of bicycle equipment requirements if the person does any of the following: (a) Operates on any highway a bicycle in violation of…

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Do Portland’s new Waterfront Park signs have any legal authority? by Charley Gee

Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park was named one of the best public spaces in the country in 2012. With a mix of walkers, joggers, cyclists, tourists on Segways, and animals on (and off) leashes the paths can be a jumble of transportation modes and uses. The City of Portland has recently installed signs to encourage “faster” riders to use Naito Parkway and also to ride slowly when the path is crowded. Credit: Amanda Ulrich, Instagram: @amandarunpdxforcongo Credit: Amanda Ulrich, Instagram: @amandarunpdxforcongo…

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When can a motor vehicle stop or park in the bicycle lane? by Charley Gee

Following last week’s post about motor vehicles operating in the bicycle lane, I was asked several questions about motor vehicles stopping or parking in bicycle lanes. It is not rare to see a car or delivery truck parked in the bicycle lane.  If a motor vehicle is parked in the bicycle lane, is it breaking the law?  It depends.  Under Oregon state law, it is not illegal for a motor vehicle to stop or park in a bicycle lane under…

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Can a motor vehicle operate in a bicycle lane? by Charley Gee

At our bicycle legal clinics, we are often asked about motor vehicles operating in the bicycle lane. While a bicycle lane has one of the purest rights-of-way in the Oregon Vehicle Code, the law does allow motor vehicles to operate upon the bicycle lane in certain circumstances. Oregon law contains a blanket prohibition of the operation of a motor vehicle upon a bicycle lane. ORS 811.435(1), so in most situations a motor vehicle operating in a bicycle lane is operating…

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Are Electric Assisted Bicycles Legal to Ride in Oregon? by Charley Gee

Electric Assisted Bikes, also known as e-bikes or e-assist bikes, are a growing trend, not just in Oregon but worldwide. The New York Times recently ran an article profiling the growth of sales that e-bikes are experiencing in Europe, and their growing popularity with “older people, delivery businesses and commuters who don’t want to sweat.” E-Bike Sales are Surging in Europe, August 25, 2014.  There has been recent local focus as well.  Jennifer Dill, Director of the Oregon Transportation Research and…

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What should I do when facing a red light in a bicycle lane at a T-intersection? by Charley Gee

One of the benefits of being a bicycle rider in Oregon is that we are granted the same rights as motor vehicle operators under the law. That granting of privilege, however, is a two-edged sword because we are also limited to the same restrictions and responsibilities of motor vehicle operators under the law (except for those laws that have no application to bicycles). This restriction can sometimes result in inefficiencies. For example, when a rider is in a bicycle lane…

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