Notes from The Street Trust webinar
Aug. 5, 2020
Do you know when bicyclists have the right of way on Concordia, Portland and Oregon streets? Do you know when they don’t?
Eighteen Concordians are better versed in the laws that govern bicyclists, especially in their interactions with motor vehicles and pedestrians. They participated in the Aug. 5, 2020, webinar hosted by Concordia Neighborhood Association.
“Rules of the Road” was sponsored by The Street Trust and presented by Chris Thomas, an avid bicyclist and an associate with the law firm of Thomas, Coon, Newton & Frost.
Your organization may request a presentation of the free clinic by completing a request form at TheStreetTrust.org/initiatives/rules-road-clinics or contacting Tia Sherry at Tia@TheStreetTrust.org. Additional information is updated frequently at Facebook.com/thestreettrust.
The organization works in classrooms, on the streets, in city hall and the state Legislature to encourage and advocate for safe and convenient walking, biking and transit options.
Additionally, according to Chris, his firm has represented many pedestrians and bike riders during accident litigation.
He outlined related state statutes and how they affect bicyclists. But these notes are not a substitute for attending clinics. Chris is well prepared and versed to present those in webinar form for you and your own group.
- Bikes ridden in limited visibility (e.g., the low light of sunrise and sunset or less than 1,000-foot visibility) must have a front white light and a rear red reflector.
- Oregon law requires bicyclists younger than 16 to wear helmets.
- All bicycles must have the braking ability to stop within 15 feet at 10 miles per hour.
Bike lanes & roadways
- If a street provides a bike lane, bicyclists can use a vehicle lane only if:
- The bike lane is filled with debris.
- The bicyclist is passing another bike.
- The bicyclist is preparing to turn left
- Drivers must yield to bicyclists in bike lanes. However, Chris cautioned, at least half of right-turning vehicle drivers don’t look for bicyclists between them and the turn.
- If a street doesn’t provide a bike lane, bicyclists are expected to ride as far to the right in the roadway as practical, unless they are moving at the speed of traffic.
- On neighborhood bikeways, bicyclists should receive priority unless they are impeding traffic.
- Roller blades, roller skates and skate boards are governed by specific statutes. Generally, they and other vehicles – e-scooters, Segues, etc. – are not allowed in bike lanes.
- A vehicle driver is liable for opening a door and hitting a passing bicyclist. Nevertheless, Chris suggested bicyclists look for cues from parked cars, like people inside, interior lights on, etc. “Give those cars plenty of room.”
- Bicycles on sidewalks “…is a hot button issue,” Chris said. Bicycles, for the most part, are allowed on sidewalks; however, motorized bikes, scooters, etc. are not. The same is true of parks and, in fact, the Springwater Corridor, Eastbank Esplanade and Peninsula Trail qualify as parks, so electric bikes and scooters are banned there too.
- The city can – and has – nixed riding on sidewalks associated with specific streets. One is the downtown area bordered by Naito Parkway to 13th Avenue and Hoyt to Jefferson streets.
- On most other sidewalks, bicycles must:
- Yield to pedestrians
- Give an audible warning before passing pedestrians
- Slow to a walking speed (3 miles per hour) on driveways and crosswalks
Crosswalks & intersections
- Every intersection of every roadway is a crosswalk, where pedestrians and bicyclists have the right of way. “There are a whole lot of intersections that don’t have signals and don’t have paint on the ground,” Chris pointed out. The one hitch is the pedestrian or cyclist must demonstrate the intent to cross. A foot or the front wheel of a bike off the curb and into the street demonstrates that intent.
- The new green stripes at intersections are specifically for bikes to cross.
- Beginning last Jan. 1, the “Idaho stop” became law in Oregon. Named after a trend set by Idaho, it allows bicyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs. They may slow down, look and – if no vehicles are approaching – they may roll through the intersection.
- Bicyclists must signal their intentions to turn 100 feet prior to intersections, unless it’s “onerous,” Chris said. If both hands are required to safely operate the turn, the bicyclist may provide shorter notice.