June 16, 2022

Right of Way For Bicycles In Oregon

Right of Way For Bicycles In Oregon

If you drive a car or ride a bike, there are some vital pieces of information to know. Like learning about the right of way for bicycles in Oregon. Your personal and financial health depends on it.

  • Is a bike considered a vehicle in Oregon?
  • When do bicycles have the right of way in Oregon?
  • When do bicycles have to stop or yield in Oregon?

We will cover these questions and more in this post. However, we also recommend you read Oregon's bicyclist manual which has loads of useful information. You can find it here.

Right of Way For Bicycles In Oregon

Bicyclists and drivers must share the road. This is difficult for people in cities like Portland. Especially when you don’t understand exactly who has the right of way. Bicyclists should always be careful to use the bike lanes provided by the city and avoid riding on the sidewalks, if possible. If you have been struck by a vehicle on your bicycle, a Portland Bicycle Injury Attorney can help with your serious injuries.

Is a bike considered a vehicle in Oregon?

In Oregon, a bicycle is legally considered to be a vehicle. In addition, every person riding a bicycle in a public way has the same rights and duties as a driver. This is explicitly stated in ORS 814.400. This statute covers the application of vehicle laws to bicycles.

There are some interesting legal decisions in Oregon related to applying vehicle laws to bicycles. For example, DUII statutes apply to bicyclists. In case you didn't already know, you can get cited for DUII if you're riding a bike while drunk. Additionally, other laws reference "motor vehicles". A past decision, State v. Potter, 185 Or App 81, 57 P3d 944 (2002), determined that the term "motor vehicle" does not specifically provide for bicycles to be exempt from a statute.

How Oregon Law Defines a "Bicycle"

Oregon law defines a “bicycle” as having a few key characteristics. First, a bike is a vehicle that is designed to be operated on the ground. Second, a bicycle must have no more than three wheels. So trikes are still bikes. Third, the wheels must measure at least 14” in diameter. This would exclude training wheels from counting. Fourth a bike must have a seat for the rider. So even if you put massive wheels on a scooter, it still isn't a bicycle.

Also, how the bicycle is powered is important. Electric-assist bicycles ("e-bikes") are considered bicycles in the Oregon Vehicle Code. However, there are some different rules that apply to e-bikes.

Rules For An "E-Bike" In Oregon

E-bikes are continuing to grow in popularity. You can expect to see more and more as time goes on. The rules and regulations for e-bikes can be very location-specific. Cities, counties, and federal lands can all have additional rules. You should research wherever you plan to purchase/ride an e-bike.

There are some key things to know about e-bike rules in Oregon. First, you must be at least 16 years old to operate an e-bike. Turning 16 isn't just for celebrating being able to drive anymore. Second, e-bikes can't ride on sidewalks as normal bicycles can. E-scooters also have other rules, which we will go into further in another

When do bicycles have the right of way in Oregon?

As bicycles are vehicles in Oregon, most of the same right of way rules that apply to cars apply to bicycles. An interesting caveat is that bicycles may be ridden on sidewalks. This is where you get most of the right-of-way exceptions.

When riding on a sidewalk you must always yield the right of way to any pedestrians. In turn, motor vehicles must yield the right of way to a bicycle on a sidewalk as if they were a pedestrian. This is laid out in ORS 811.055.

A driver is not in violation of ORS 811.055 if the bicyclist is operating the bike unsafely. ORS 814.410 covers the unsafe operation of a bicycle. It is very important to note that a bicyclist must slow down to walking speed when riding through crosswalks, driveways, or any other pedestrian paths that cross vehicle traffic.

How does the new "Stop and Yield" law affect me?

Really we can't do any better job than Oregon already has in their excellent pamphlet. You can find it here. One really important aspect to understand is that red lights are not the same as stop signs. Bicyclists still must come to a complete stop at red lights.

Showing Care at Intersections - Right of Way For Bicycles In Oregon

Intersections pose the most dangerous risk to bicyclists. In fact, approximately 45% of all bike injuries occur at intersections. Since the cyclist will always take the brunt of the damage when struck by a car, bicyclists should always ride defensively and be on the lookout at intersections.

Injury often occurs when there is a four-way intersection where one person has to stop and the other does not. This is similar to car-on-car accidents. However, in car-on-car incidents, the speed and danger are relatively low. Conversely, serious injuries can occur if a bicycle is involved. Even at this low speed, there is a great risk of death or serious harm. The damages can be life-changing. If you were cycling and injured by another's negligence we can work to make sure you are properly compensated. Call for a free consultation.

Bicycle Accident Lawyer

If you were negligently injured in a bicycle accident, we can help. We have more resources you can read. However, we also provide FREE consultations. Call now to talk to an experienced award-winning attorney about your matter. Get your questions answered. Don't let insurance companies take advantage of you. Don't miss a deadline. Do get what you deserve.

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