Category Archives: Jim Coon

E-scooters on Sidewalks and Bike Lanes, Oh My!

Gregg writes to ask what to do on his e-scooter when a bike lane goes onto the sidewalk, as it does on several Portland bridges.  Of course scooters are required to use available bike lanes.  ORS 814.514:

“[A] person commits the offense of failure of a motor assisted scooter operator to use a bicycle lane or bicycle path if the person operates a motor assisted scooter 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 [unless prohibited by local ordinance].”

But a scooter is not allowed on a sidewalk except to cross it to enter or leave adjacent property.   ORS 814.524:

“A person commits the offense of unsafe operation of a motor assisted scooter on a sidewalk if the person operates a motor assisted scooter on a sidewalk, except to enter or leave adjacent property …”

So what to do when, as on the Broadway or Hawthorne bridges, the bike lane goes up onto what looks like a sidewalk?  Or on Lovejoy eastbound west of NW 13th Avenue?  Where the sidewalk IS the bike lane, how can you use the bike lane but stay off the sidewalk?

The technical answer on the bridges is that the concrete way that looks like a sidewalk doesn’t meet the definition of sidewalk because sidewalks are defined as being next to the “adjacent property line,” ORS 801.485, and what’s outside the railings on the bridges is a 40 foot drop to the river.   That’s not “adjacent property,” and there’s no “line.”

On NW Lovejoy just west of NW 13th, where the bike lane is routed up onto the sidewalk behind the MAX shelter, take the bike lane, and tell the arresting officer you’re following the law that requires e-scooters to take the bike lane.  (Besides, who wants to ride an e-scooter between the MAX tracks on Lovejoy?)   

Announcing a New E-Bike Legal Guide by TCNF Bike Lawyers

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.

A New Project

Welcome to, a public service project of Thomas, Coon, Newton & Frost. We have launched this web page in an effort to improve the understanding of how the laws contained in Oregon’s Vehicle Code (and elsewhere) establish the rights and responsibilities of all of Oregon’s road users.  We will be examining specific locations and their legal quirks, answering questions, and publishing informative analysis of certain laws.

This project follows in the tradition of the many years of bicycle and pedestrian legal clinics we have presented in conjunction with many community groups, businesses, municipalities, and schools, as well as our articles, publications and Ray Thomas’ books Pedal Power and Oregon Pedestrian Rights.

Our authors will include three lawyers at Thomas, Coon, Newton & Frost: Partners Ray Thomas, Jim Coon, and Cynthia Newton as well as Associate Chris Thomas.

We also hope to provide insights and commentary from other authors in the community.

If you have any questions about Oregon bicycle law or Oregon pedestrian law please email Cynthia at

Rack and Door