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News » Local News

Side Notes 6/18-6/24

Sharing the road

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Think you know the rules of the road? Find out what Oregon law says about sharing the road. Here are some highlights.

1. Bikes are vehicles. That means that when code refers to vehicles, it's talking about bikes too. In other words: bicycles are required to follow the same rules of the road (with a few exceptions) as cars. [ORS 814.400] Note: This includes electric bikes. [ORS 814.405]

2. Bikes are allowed to ride on the sidewalk, with some conditions. They must not suddenly leave the curb and enter traffic, operate their bike in a generally reckless manner, or approach a crosswalk at a speed greater than that of a pedestrian. Cyclists riding on the sidewalk are required to yield the right of way to pedestrians and give them an audible warning before passing them. Electric bikes may not be used on sidewalks. [ORS 814.410]

3. Generally speaking, if there is a bike lane nearby, bicycles are to ride in it, moving in the same direction as automobile traffic. Riding in the bike lane is not required when the bike lane isn't safe to use at reasonable speeds and when the cyclist can safely exit the lane to pass someone else in the bike lane (whether cyclist, pedestrian, or car), to avoid debris or hazardous conditions, to prepare to turn right or continue forward when bike lane is to the right of right-turned auto traffic. [ORS 814.420]

4. Bikes can take the primary lane of traffic to pass a bike or vehicle, when preparing to turn left, when necessary to avoid hazards along the right side of the road, and when the road is too narrow for bikes and cars to travel safely side by side. [ORS 814.430]

5. Bicyclists are required to signal for at least 100 feet before stopping or turning, unless it isn't safe to ride without both hands engaged. [ORS 814.440]

6. "Look Ma, no hands!" is not a legal way to ride a bicycle. Bicyclists are required to keep at least one hand on the handlebar at all times, and maintain full control, even if carrying a large package or other item. [ORS 814.450]

7. Your bike needs to have a seat. [ORS 814.470] Also, no handlebar rides. Seriously. [ORS 814.486]

A note for drivers, while these statutes are phrased with an emphasis on the actions of cyclists, there's important info here for motorists as well. Namely, a reminder that there are (rather common) circumstances (like roundabouts) in which bicyclists are permitted to take the lane. So before you let road rage get the better of you, consider whether the cyclist in front of you has a reason to be there.

About The Author

Erin Rook

Erin is the Source Weekly's Associate Editor. Before moving to Bend in 2013, Erin worked as a writer and editor for publications in Portland including PQ Monthly and Just Out. He has also written for the Willamette Week, El Hispanic News, Travel Portland, OUT City, Boston magazine and the Taunton Daily Gazette...

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