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

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?

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?

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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BikePortland.org Post: Is it legal to ride with my dog?

Bicycle law contains a lot of interesting questions, but the one Jonathan Maus of BikePortland.org asked me recently was one of the more interesting I’ve ever heard: Is it legal to ride your bike with your dog?  Read the BikePortland.org post to find out!

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Do bicyclists have to walk their bikes in crosswalks? by Charley Gee

I encounter this question a lot in the bicycle law clinics I teach. The short answer is: No.  There is no statewide legal requirement to walk a bicycle in a crosswalk. There are, however, a couple of laws to keep in mind when riding up to or in a crosswalk. First, when a bicyclist in Oregon is riding on a sidewalk and is approaching or entering a crosswalk (and also a driveway, a curb cut, or a pedestrian ramp) and…

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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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