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Sharing the road

A refresher on Oregon bicycle laws and basic road etiquette

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As the weather warms and Central Oregonians dust off their bicycles, it's good to remember the rules of the road, as well as some good old-fashioned etiquette.

Here are a few basic rules of thumb that are not only good practice—but also Oregon state law:

Riding a bicycle against traffic is a big no-no—and dangerous (sorry, mom—you were wrong).

Riding on the sidewalk? Yield to pedestrians and use your words (or perhaps a bell) to warn that you'll be passing.

When crossing sidewalks or driveways, riders don't need to get off bikes—but do need to slow down to a speed that does not exceed "a speed greater than an ordinary walk." No, that doesn't mean a brisk power walk.

For those on electric bicycles, riding on sidewalks is prohibited altogether.

Is there a bike lane? Riders better be using it while on two wheels, with the exception of navigating obstructions, passing other riders, gearing up to take a left turn, staying clear of vehicles in right turn lanes or if they're riding at near the speed of traffic.

Use hand and arm signals.

Riding at night? Use a white headlight and a red reflector.

For those driving cars, it's common courtesy to slow down and give bicyclists at least 3 feet of space when passing. State law dictates drivers allow enough space to avoid contact with a bicyclist if they should fall on any road posted with a speed of 35 miles per hour or greater. In a "Driver's Field Guide to Sharing Oregon's Roads" on oregon.gov, drivers are urged to use caution when coming out of driveways, alleys and side streets. Do a double take when looking left to make sure no vehicles, including bicyclists, are in the oncoming lane. Take a good look in mirrors when taking a right. There may be a bicyclist in the adjacent bike lane—and they have the right of way.

Drivers and bicyclists looking to brush up on how to share the road legally and safely can find the "Driver's Field Guide to Sharing Oregon's Roads" and "Oregon Bicyclist Manual" on Oregon.gov.

About The Author

Keely Damara

Reporter | The Source Weekly

Speaking of Biking, oregon Bike Laws

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