Ruckus Composites is a Portland-based company that specializes in repair of carbon fiber bicycles. Ruckus’ Shawn Small and Dan Steinle frequently record podcasts on topics related to bicycles and carbon fiber, known as the Fiber Side Chats. Shawn and Dan recently invited Ray and Chris Thomas of Thomas, Coon, Newton & Frost to their studio to discuss bicycle law, including rules of the road, how Oregon compares to other states, and how insurance coverage can protect bicyclists.
The episode is here. We hope you enjoy it!
The Oregon Environmental Council (OEC) recently published an article called “E-Bikes: Rules of the Road & Why We Love ‘Em.” Their post highlights the benefits, joys, and convenience of incorporating an e-bike into one’s daily life. They include testimonials from people who use e-bikes for family travel, to go camping or to keep doctor’s appointments, and as an alternative to commuting by car or motorcycle.
The OEC’s post also linked to TCNF’s newly-released free booklet on the rights and responsibilities of e-bike riders—E-Bike Rights: A Legal Guide for E-Bike Riders—which you can read more about here.
The recent prevalence of e-bikes on Portland streets, and the even more recent influx of e-scooters, has increased the public’s curiosity about state and local law governing the devices. Many Portlanders now know that e-bikes and e-scooters are prohibited on sidewalks statewide, users of both must be at least 16 years old, and e-scooter users must wear helmets, but not e-bike riders. (For a comprehensive look at Oregon e-bike law, see our firm’s legal guide here.) A lesser known provision of Portland city code came to my attention recently in an article by the Oregonian’s Lizzy Acker, which included the following statement:
I emailed Portland Bureau of Transportation spokesperson John Brady on Friday to ask him some question about the scooters and he informed me that city code does not allow scooters in city parks, including the esplanade and the Springwater Corridor, so I can’t recommend you take this route home.
TCNF Partner Cynthia Newton spoke with KATU traffic reporter Hannah Olsen about getting your kids to school safely by bike. In this clip, aired in Portland on August 27th, 2018, Cynthia explains her five rules for safe bike travel to school.
1. Find a good route from where you live to your school. That way you can follow the same route every day. No fuss. No rush.
2. You can ride on the sidewalk everywhere in PDX except downtown. Remember to slow to a walking speed when crossing driveways and entering crosswalks so cars have more time to see you.
3. When crossing the street, always use a crosswalk. There is a crosswalk at every corner, even if there is no paint on the roadway. Enter at walking speed so cars have more time to see you.
4. Kids under 16 are required to wear a helmet. Kids are more likely to wear a helmet if their parent does.
5. Wear white and use a light. Lights—a white one in front and a red one in rear—are required in limited visibility conditions, but wearing white or using a light anytime makes you more visible. Drivers don’t hit cyclists they can see.
KATU’s article about this conversation with Cynthia, including some additional advice from TCNF attorney Chris Thomas, can be found here.
TCNF’s team of bicycle trial lawyers is pleased to announce the completion of Oregon E-Bike Rights: A Legal Guide for Electric Bike Riders. Written by Ray Thomas, Jim Coon, Cynthia Newton and Chris Thomas, the booklet contains a comprehensive discussion of laws governing the use of electric bicycles in Oregon. Topics include riding in bike lanes, on sidewalks, in state parks and on federal land, as well as insurance coverage and advocacy efforts to improve e-bike laws. TCNF’s bike lawyers felt the need for this booklet now due to the recent increase in popularity of electric bikes and the interesting legal space they occupy between bicycles and motor vehicles.
You can download the booklet here. Updated to 2nd Edition in November 2018.
We hope you find this guide useful and that you contact us with any questions about Oregon e-bike law.