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Oregon Bicycle Laws

Posted on August 26, 2020 in

Cycling is a way of life in Oregon, especially in the Portland area. In 2017, 6.3% of all Portland commuters relied on bicycles to go to work — this rate is significantly higher than the national average, which states that only 0.5% of commuters who bike to work.

However, more bikes on the road means that Oregon cyclists are at risk of a serious accident. Understanding Oregon’s bike laws can help you avoid a collision with a motor vehicle, as well as hold a negligent driver liable if he or she violates these laws.

Oregon Cyclist Requirements

Oregon law considers bicycles as vehicles, and as such, you carry the same rights and duties as an Oregon motorist. This means you need to obey any traffic signs and signals, including stop signs and red lights. You must also alert drivers and pedestrians to your turns and stops using the appropriate hand signals.

You must also adhere to the following bicycle laws:

  • If you are riding slower than normal traffic, you must ride as far to the right as possible on two-way streets, and as far left as possible on one-way streets. You do not need to ride near the curb if you are in a bike lane.
  • You must use a bike lane if one is available, unless you are about to turn, you are avoiding a hazard, or the bike lane is about to turn into a right-hand turn lane.
  • You can ride a bicycle on a sidewalk anywhere municipal laws do not prohibit it. In Portland, you can ride a bike on all sidewalks except those in the downtown core. If you are passing a pedestrian on a sidewalk, you must yield the right of way to him or her and give an audible signal while you are approaching.
  • Motor vehicles must always pass cyclists safely, and you have the right of way in bicycle lanes. Motorists must also yield to you if you are riding on a sidewalk and crossing the street or passing in front of a roadway, but you must slow down in these situations.
  • All cyclists and bike passengers under the age of 16 must wear a helmet when riding on a public roadway or on public premises. Cyclists and passengers over the age of 16 do not have to wear a helmet, but doing so greatly reduces the risk of fatality during a bicycle accident.

What to Do After a Portland Bike Accident

While bicycle laws can protect you from harm, they cannot prevent a negligent driver from taking careless actions. If you suffer an injury in a bicycle accident, call 911 immediately and seek medical treatment. If you are able to move without danger or pain, you can take the following steps to preserve evidence.

  • Provide a statement to the responding police officer and collect his or her badge number.
  • Photograph your physical injuries, damage to the bike, and the area around the crash.
  • Collect the other driver’s contact and insurance information.
  • Collect contact information from any witnesses in the area.

You should also contact a Portland bicycle accident attorney after you receive medical treatment. A lawyer can help you navigate discussions with insurance companies, investigate your accident and build a compelling claim, and understand the damages you may qualify for. If you have not reached out to your lawyer already, schedule a consultation before speaking with any insurance representatives. At Tillman Law, our Portland injury lawyers can help you recover compensation after a serious accident. Contact us at our Portland office today to schedule a free case evaluation.