Tag Archives: sidewalks

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 is not a bicycle lane or bicycle path when a bicycle lane or bicycle path is adjacent to or near the roadway.”

However, the law only restricts bicycle operators from operating on the roadway when there is a bicycle lane and the sidewalk, while part of the highway, is not part of the roadway.  The roadway is “the portion of a highway that is improved, designed or ordinarily used for vehicular travel, exclusive of the shoulder.”

Charley Gee is an attorney at Thomas, Coon, Newton & Frost where he represents injured bicyclists and pedestrians.

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 a motor vehicle is approaching, the bicyclist must slow to the speed of an “ordinary walk” while approaching and entering. ORS 814.410(1)(d) Unsafe operation of bicycle on sidewalk.

Second, a bicyclist is entitled to the same rights and responsibilities as a pedestrian while in a crosswalk.  ORS 814.410(2).  What this means is that the requirement that a motor vehicle stop at a crosswalk when a pedestrian is crossing the roadway also applies to bicyclists.  ORS 811.028 Failure to stop and remain stopped for pedestrian.  Oregon law even requires cars to stop when any part of a person’s bicycle moves onto the roadway in a crosswalk with the intent to proceed across.  ORS 811.028(4).  A bicyclist can’t leave the sidewalk into the path of a car, though, if the car is so close it constitutes an immediate hazard (like it wouldn’t be able to stop safely), even if the bicyclist is entering a crosswalk.  ORS 814.410(1)(a).

Third, a bicyclist must always keep in mind that while riding on the sidewalk and in crosswalks is legal under state law, cities have the right to make it illegal under their city ordinances, so it is important to know the laws of the cities you ride in.

Charley Gee is a bicycle attorney in Portland, Oregon.  He practices at Swanson, Thomas, Coon & Newton where he represents bicycle riders and pedestrians in personal injury cases.

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 13 largest cities in Oregon.

Portland

Portland City Code 16.70.320 Operating Rules

No person may:

A. Leave a bicycle so that it obstructs vehicle or pedestrian traffic on a roadway, sidewalk, driveway, handicap access ramp, building entrance, or so that it prevents operation of a parking meter or newspaper rack;

B. Leave a bicycle secured to a fire hydrant or to a police or fire call box;

C. Leave a bicycle on private property without consent of the owner or legal tenant. Consent is implied on private commercial property;

D. Leave a bicycle on a street or other public property for more than 72 hours[.]

Salem

Salem City Code 101.150 Parking of Bicycles

It shall be unlawful for any person to leave a bicycle upon any sidewalk, except in a bicycle rack. If no rack is provided, he shall leave the bicycle so as not to obstruct any roadway, sidewalk, driveway, or building entrance; nor shall any person leave a bicycle on public or private property without consent of the person in charge or the owner thereof.

Eugene

Eugene City Code 5.400 Operating Rules

. . .

(2) No person may park a bicycle in or near a public thoroughfare or place in such a manner as to obstruct traffic or endanger persons or property.

Eugene City Code 5.420 Impounding of Bicycles

(1) A bicycle left on public property for a period in excess of 24 hours may be impounded by the police department.

(2) In addition to any citation issued, a bicycle parked in violation of this chapter may be immediately impounded.

(3) If a bicycle impounded under this chapter bears an Oregon driver’s license number, or other means of determining its ownership exist, the police shall make reasonable efforts to notify the owner.

(4) A bicycle impounded under this chapter which remains unclaimed shall be disposed of in accordance with the city’s procedures for disposal of abandoned or lost personal property.

Gresham

Gresham Revised Code 8.70.040 Misuse of a Bicycle or NonMotorized Vehicle.

No person shall leave a bicycle or non-motorized vehicle:

(1) in a manner which obstructs a street. sidewalk, driveway or building entrance;

(2) on private property without the consent of the person in charge or the owner of the property;

(3) on public property for a period in excess of 18 hours; or

(4) in a public parking lot in a vehicle parking space. A bicycle may only be parked in a public parking lot where special provision has been made for bicycles, in the stand, rack, or other bicycle holder

Gresham Revised Code 8.70.050 Impoundment.

(1) A bicycle or non-motorized vehicle in violation of GRC Article 8.70 may be immediately impounded by the police department.

(2) If a bicycle or non-motorized vehicle impounded under this section is licensed, or other means of determining its ownership exist, the police shall make a reasonable effort to notify the owner.

(3) A bicycle or non-motorized vehicle impounded under this section that remains unclaimed for a period of more than 60 days may be disposed of in accordance with GRC Article 2.81, the city’s procedures for disposal of abandoned or lost personal property.

(4) A bicycle or non-motorized vehicle impounded under this section may be held until the person using the device at the time of the impound is acquitted or provides proof that
security deposit or the fine upon conviction has been paid, unless otherwise ordered by the
Circuit Court or other court of competent jurisdiction.

Hillsboro

Hillsboro Municipal Code 8.28.100 Bicycle parking

A. It is unlawful to park or leave a bicycle upon the sidewalk, except in areas designated under HMC 8.28.100(B).

B. Designated areas for the parking of bicycles and only bicycles are as follows:

1. At the curb on the street and sidewalk, beginning at the intersection of the north boundary of Main Street and the west boundary of N 3rd Street, thence north 20 feet;

2. At the curb on the sidewalk beginning at the point on the north side of E Lincoln Street that is 55 feet east from the easterly boundary of N 2nd Avenue, thence east 20 feet; and

3. During the months the municipal swimming pool is in operation and while bicycle racks are maintained in the street for parking bicycles:

a. On the street on the easterly side of S 9th Avenue beginning at a point 10 feet south of the south boundary of E Cedar Street, thence south 35 feet; and

b. On the street on the southerly side of E Cedar Street, beginning at a point 15 feet east of the east boundary of S 9th Avenue, thence east 45 feet.

C. The manager will cause the appropriate number of bicycle racks to be erected, kept and maintained, each with the proper marking by signs or painting, upon each of the areas under HMC 8.28.100(B).

Beaverton

Beaverton City Code 6.02.430 Impounding of Bicycles.

A. It shall be unlawful to leave a bicycle on public or private property without the consent of the person in charge or the owner thereof.

B. A bicycle left on public property for a period in excess of 72 hours may be impounded by the police department.

C. If a bicycle impounded under this section bears an Oregon driver’s license number or is licensed by this City or another City or other means of determining its ownership exists, the police shall make reasonable efforts to notify the owner.

D. An impoundment fee set by Council resolution shall be charged to the owner of a bicycle impounded under this section except where the bicycle was stolen.

E. A bicycle impounded under this chapter which remains unclaimed for 60 days, shall be disposed of in accordance with BC 2.05.010 through 2.05.026.

Bend

Bend City Code 6.35.000 Bicycle Operating Rules.

Except for bicycles operated by on duty law enforcement personnel:

A. Bicycles shall be parked so they do not obstruct a roadway, sidewalk, driveway or building entrance.
. . .

Bend City Code 6.35.005 Impounding Bicycles.

A. A bicycle left on public property for more than 24 hours may be impounded by the Police Department.

B. If a bicycle impounded under this code is registered, or other means of determining its ownership exist, the police shall make a reasonable effort to notify the owner. No impounding fee shall be charged to the owner of a stolen bike.

C. A bicycle impounded under this code and remaining unclaimed shall be disposed of in accordance with City procedures for disposal of abandoned or lost personal property.

D. Except as provided in subsection (B) of this section, a fee established in the City’s Fee Resolution shall be charged to the owner of a bicycle impounded under this section.

Medford

None

Springfield

None

Corvallis

Corvallis City Code 6.10.060.150

No person shall park a bicycle upon a street or upon a sidewalk except in a rack to support the bicycle or against a building or at the curb, in such a manner as to afford the least obstruction to pedestrian traffic.

Albany

Albany City Code 13.40.150 Parking

No person shall park a bicycle upon a street or upon a sidewalk except in a rack to support the bicycle or against a building or at the curb, in such a manner as to afford the least obstruction to pedestrian traffic.

Tigard

Tigard Municipal Code 10.36.180 Parking Restrictions

From and after December 18, 1967, it is unlawful for any person to park or leave a bicycle upon the sidewalk within the City; except in areas designated by ordinance, which areas shall be properly marked by signs or painting and provided with racks for parking bicycles.

Lake Oswego

Lake Oswego Code 32.10.810 Requirements for Operation of Bicycles Generally.

. . .

7. Obstructing Traffic – No operator of a bicycle shall leave his bicycle lying or standing in such a manner that shall hinder or impede pedestrian or vehicular traffic upon the sidewalks or paths or upon the highways or alleys or public ways within the City, but shall take proper care to see that his bicycle is so placed as to avoid annoyance and danger of accident during his absence from it.

8. Use of Designated Bicycle Stands – The City may designate such place or places within commercial zones exclusively for parking of bicycles and no person shall stand, park or leave any bicycle on the highway or alley or sidewalk within 200 feet of any such place designated exclusively for bicycle parking by the City.

Lake Oswego Code 32.10.815 Impounding Bicycles.

1. No person shall leave a bicycle on private property without the consent of the owner or person in charge. Consent is implied on private business property unless bicycle parking is expressly prohibited.

2. Unless bicycle parking is expressly prohibited on public property, a person shall leave a bicycle in a bicycle rack, if provided, or in accordance with section LOC 32.10.810(8).

3. A bicycle left on a highway or other public property for more than 24 hours may be impounded by the police department.

4. In addition to any citation issued, a bicycle parked in violation of this chapter that obstructs or impedes the free flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic or otherwise endangers the public may be immediately impounded by a law enforcement officer.

5. If a bicycle impounded under this chapter is licensed, or other means of identifying its ownership exist, the police shall make reasonable efforts to notify the owner.

6. A bicycle impounded under this section that remains unclaimed after 30 days shall be disposed of in accordance with LOC 14.04.120.

7. Impoundment under this section shall be done in accordance with the provisions of LOC 14.04.110, et seq.

Charley Gee is a Portland, Oregon, bicycle and pedestrian attorney with Swanson, Thomas, Coon & Newton.

Are Segways Allowed on Sidewalks? by Charley Gee

One of the more unique sights in Downtown Portland are the Segway tour groups, of which there is not one but two different outfits: Portland by Segway and Portland Segway Nation Tours. There are also individuals who use the devices for transportation and recreation.

Segway

A Segway is not called a Segway in the law. It is called an Electric Personal Assistive Mobility Device and this covers not only the name brand Segway but also the other types of devices made by Honda and others. I will use EPAMD as short hand. To be considered an EPAMD, a device must be self balancing with two non-tandem (i.e. no front and rear wheel) wheels, designed to only transport one person in a standing position, have an electric drive, and a maximum speed of 15 MPH.

EPAMDs are vehicles under Oregon law. They are not, however, motor vehicles and this is specifically noted in the law. This is an important distinction when reading the Oregon Vehicle Code to determine which laws apply to EPAMD operators.  Even though EPAMDs are not motor vehicles, Oregon requires operators to be 16 years old or older.  An operator does not need a valid driver’s license, though.

EPAMDs, depending on where they are operated, fall under either bicycle laws or pedestrian laws, as well as a set of requirements specific to them.

If a person is operating an EPAMD on a sidewalk they are subject to the same laws as a pedestrian, but also have the same rights, like crossing at a crosswalk. However, like bicycles on sidewalks, their operators are subject to additional responsibilities beyond those of pedestrians:

• An EPAMD operator cannot operate on a sidewalk in a careless manner that endangers or would likely to endanger any person or property (remember that this includes the operator).
• When an EPAMD in operating on the sidewalk and approaching and entering a crosswalk, driveway, curb-cut, or a pedestrian ramp an operator of a EPAMD must slow to the speed of an ordinary walk.
• When passing pedestrians on a sidewalk an EPAMD operator must give an audible signal.
• An EPAMD must yield the right of way to all pedestrians on the sidewalk.

One misunderstanding of the law that I hear quite often in Portland is that the EPAMDs are not allowed to operate on sidewalks in the downtown core. This is not correct. Bicycles, scooters, and skateboards are prohibited from the sidewalks in Downtown Portland but EPAMDs are not addressed in the city code. The state does allow cities to prohibit them, but Portland has not taken the step to do so.

EPAMDs do not have all of the same rights as bicyclists when operating on the road. The biggest difference is that an EPAMD is not allowed to operate on a road with a speed limit above 35 MPH unless there is a bicycle lane (or they are crossing the road). EPAMDs are allowed to be operated in the bicycle lane, on bicycle paths, and on roads with posted speeds under 35 MPH. In such circumstances EPAMD operators are subject to the same rights and responsibilities as bicycle operators, including having the right-of-way in the bicycle lane.

EPAMDs also have specific requirements and restrictions:

• An EPAMD cannot carry more than one person.
• An EPAMD must have lighting in limited visibility conditions, including a white front light visible from 500 feet and a rear red reflector or light visible from 600 feet.
• A person cannot install a siren or whistle on an EPAMD.

Since EPAMD operators are subject to the same laws as bicycle operators when in bicycle lanes, that covers the helmet law, which requires operators under the age of 16 to wear a helmet.  However, this is moot since operators must be 16 or older to legally operate an EPAMD.

Charley Gee is an attorney in Portland, Oregon, where he represents injured bicyclists and pedestrians.