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Bike Law 101: The law of the lanes

Posted by Animated Traffic Law Center on May 11th, 2011 at 9:42 am

Bike lane in action
If it's there, you should be too.
(Photo © J. Maus)

If you’re concerned about your personal safety mixing it up with motorized traffic, your fears are not without merit. American roads are made for something powerful, weighty and full of horsepower. Stepping foot or pushing pedal upon them can indeed be daunting.

The tendency for the timid may be to ride on the sidewalk where things feel safer. Although permitted by law and seemingly intuitive, this is a big mistake. Because you are off-road, you are out of the line of sight for drivers and your risk of a collision goes way up (especially going in the opposition direction of adjacent traffic).

On a bicycle, you are safest when you are visible, following standard driving practices and behaving predictably as you ride. This is where bike lanes come in. Bike lanes are engineered to help facilitate predictability and act as a visual cue to separate bikes and cars.

(Illustration by Dan Pegoda for BikePortland.org)

While sometimes controversial and often debated for their safety benefits (or lack thereof), their use is mandated by Oregon law. Let’s take a look:

814.420 Failure to use bicycle lane or path; exceptions; penalty. (1) Except as provided in subsections (2) and (3) of this section, a person commits the offense of failure to use a bicycle lane or path if the person operates a bicycle on any portion of a roadway that is not a bicycle lane or bicycle path when a bicycle lane or bicycle path is adjacent to or near the roadway.
      (2) A person is not required to comply with this section unless the state or local authority with jurisdiction over the roadway finds, after public hearing, that the bicycle lane or bicycle path is suitable for safe bicycle use at reasonable rates of speed.
      (3) A person is not in violation of the offense under this section if the person is able to safely move out of the bicycle lane or path for the purpose of:
      (a) Overtaking and passing another bicycle, a vehicle or a pedestrian that is in the bicycle lane or path and passage cannot safely be made in the lane or path.
      (b) Preparing to execute a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
      (c) Avoiding debris or other hazardous conditions.
      (d) Preparing to execute a right turn where a right turn is authorized.
      (e) Continuing straight at an intersection where the bicycle lane or path is to the right of a lane from which a motor vehicle must turn right.
      (4) The offense described in this section, failure to use a bicycle lane or path, is a Class D traffic violation.

This is pretty straightforward stuff. If there’s a bike lane, you are required to use it unless avoiding a hazard, passing or making a turn. For the hard chargers, those who may even be traveling at the posted speed, you can leave the path to pass someone moving more slowly; but once beyond them, you must surrender the roadway to motorized vehicles and return to the bike lane.

Whether you are a fan of bike lanes or not, they are ensconced in Oregon law. While the law itself could be more clear (as we saw with this interesting test of the law in 2006), it behooves everyone to understand their legal position on the road.

[Editor's note: Yes, I am are aware that some people feel Oregon's bike lane law (a.k.a. "mandatory sidepath law") should be repealed. I think that idea has a lot of merit and I'll plan to tackle that issue in a separate post.]

— Bike Law 101 appears twice a month thanks to the generous support of West End Bikes PDX (corner of 11th and SW Stark in downtown Portland). It's written by Karen Lally and Kurt Jansen of the non-profit Animated Traffic Law Center based in Eugene, Oregon. For more info on bike law, browse the Bike Law 101 archives

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Comments
  • Brian Johnson May 11, 2011 at 9:56 am

    I generally detest bike lanes as they are usually full of debris, with gravel and fine grit being especially hazardous. I never travel in the bike path when riding down hills at or very near the posted speed-limit. Motorists often fail to look "into" the bike lane and I have had several near-misses because of this "blind spot." I look forward with interest to your article addressing the repealing of the mandatory sidepath law.

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    • A.K. May 11, 2011 at 10:08 am

      I was thinking about this a little bit, and I started to realize how many of my normal routes don't have bike lanes, and I actually like that.

      The only bike lane I ride on a regular basis is the one on SE 41st Ave, going south through Woodstock and into Eastmoreland. It's usually clean, but I've certainly had my share of broken glass dodging in dirtier lanes (Water Ave. in the SE Industrial District being one).

      I certainly enjoy most of the non bike lane streets more. Many of my rides go along areas with sharrows (which I personally think are GREAT), but many are just neighborhood streets where I can keep up with traffic, take the lane, and not cause an issue.

      That being said, sidewalk riders frustrate me when I'm driving. If I wasn't a cyclist myself I'd probably be oblivious to them, and unable to guess at their actions. I've stopped many times to wait for them, because I *knew* they were going to enter a crosswalk from the sidewalk without stopping and looking for cross traffic or turning cars.

      In my mind, it's safer to *be* traffic and follow the laws in order to be predictable. Just my experience, but I've had very, VERY few issues with drivers since I started cycling by being a predictable, non-confrontational cyclist.

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  • K'Tesh May 11, 2011 at 10:01 am

    Lets not forget:

    ORS 811.050¹

    Failure to yield to rider on bicycle lane
    • penalty
    (1) A person commits the offense of failure of a motor vehicle operator to yield to a rider on a bicycle lane if the person is operating a motor vehicle and the person does not yield the right of way to a person operating a bicycle, electric assisted bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, moped, motor assisted scooter or motorized wheelchair upon a bicycle lane.

    (2) This section does not require a person operating a moped to yield the right of way to a bicycle or a motor assisted scooter if the moped is operated on a bicycle lane in the manner permitted under ORS 811.440 (When motor vehicles may operate on bicycle lane).

    (3) The offense described in this section, failure of a motor vehicle operator to yield to a rider on a bicycle lane, is a Class B traffic violation. [1983 c.338 §698; 1985 c.16 §336; 1991 c.417 §4; 1997 c.400 §8; 2001 c.749 §23; 2003 c.341 §7]

    So, if traffic is traveling slower than me in a bike lane, and I'm traveling at or less than the posted speed limit, and get right hooked, am I liable?

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    • Alan 1.0 May 11, 2011 at 7:38 pm

      I can't see how you'd be liable in that case.

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  • are May 11, 2011 at 10:10 am

    the illustration appropriately shows that it the motorist who relegates cyclists to the bike lane

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  • Mark May 11, 2011 at 10:17 am

    Bike lanes are for the convenience of motor vehicle operators. If drivers were held to higher standards and suffered real consequences for poor and inattentive driving, they would not be necessary.

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  • Byron May 11, 2011 at 10:24 am

    I feel that bike lanes help in many instances but that their implementation is poor in many cases. There are lanes that go a half block and end in the back of parked cars with many cars turning right just before the end. I refuse to ride in that bike lane because it is dangerous for me to do so when drivers are turning into me and I have to merge back into traffic quickly on a blind corner.

    Many of the bike lanes I ride daily end abruptly leaving me with difficult in deciding what to do to be safe. At Naito and the Steel bridge I move over as soon as escape the right turns onto the bridge entrance as it gets narrow under the bridge and I don't want some large truck thinking they can slip by me. At 18th going North the bike lane ends at a turn leaving me in the middle of the straight through lane. These are mainly low traffic areas but they do cause confusion for drivers and for bikers.

    If there is a bike lane it needs to be continuous, or have ways to end that are safe. Putting in a bike lane for a block is not sufficient and ending it abruptly without guidance and warning is also very poor.

    Just as the enforcement of bikes riding in the bike lane needs to be there, so does the enforcement of driving in a bike lane. I see drivers daily driving in bike lanes or encroaching into bike lanes. One only has to look at the tragedy on Naito recently to see where problems can arise. The enforcement needs to be two way for bike lanes to be effective.

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    • Paul Souders May 11, 2011 at 12:01 pm

      The stretch of NB Naito from Barbur to Madison is one of the most terrifying roads to bike in Portland. This is the one place I'll ride on the sidewalk. Hell I ride on the GRASS here. I've had too many close calls

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      • OnTheRoad May 11, 2011 at 7:24 pm

        I have been riding that stretch almost daily for 15 years in the PM commute. I often take the lane, and if traffic is backed up to ramp on to the Ross Island Bridge, I take the (usually empty) middle lane.

        When traffic is not backed up and is more free-flowing, I time when I hit this stretch using the light clear back at Barbur and Hamilton to gauge when the traffic will be more easily dealt with.

        Yes it can be a bit scary, but with good timing, a bicycle mirror and a well-tuned bike, it can be done without resorting to the sidewalk.

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      • Indy May 12, 2011 at 10:35 am

        I don't understand why this area in particular is an issue?

        I ride on Barbur from about 5 miles South daily and this isn't a scary area at all compared to the bridges on Barbur or Terwilliger/Bertha Areas.

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        • OnTheRoad May 12, 2011 at 6:28 pm

          I think we're talking about where Naito cuts off from Barbur, which then ramps onto the Ross Island Bridge. Barbur itself isn't that bad because it has the bike lane. Naito doesn't and its lanes are narrow with pretty high-speed traffic.

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  • Alan 1.0 May 11, 2011 at 10:32 am

    And there's the problem of bike lanes disappearing at an intersection, as interpretted by Judge Zusman.

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    • spare_wheel May 11, 2011 at 1:56 pm

      I just treat that ruling as my own personal exemption from the mandatory sidepath law.

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  • wsbob May 11, 2011 at 10:44 am

    Simply said, the only reason any cyclist is obliged to use a bike lane, is if they're holding up faster traffic behind them for no good reason. If the bike lane has broken, junky, debris strewn pavement, whether there's one or ten cars backed up behind them, the cyclist doesn't have to ride there, until the bike lane again becomes safe to ride in.

    My view is that for any significant distance, if there's no traffic behind them in the main lanes, cyclists are entirely free to use the entire width of the main lane in the direction they're traveling. In other words, if the road is not busy with vehicles, a cop shouldn't be citing the cyclist for not traveling in the bike lane. I don't see the statutes cited above clarifying this specific point, but...being common sense, it shouldn't need to.

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    • are May 11, 2011 at 11:15 am

      814.420 is actually very clear that if the striped bike lane is there you are supposed to use it. the only ambiguity is whether safety of the particular bike lane was vetted through a public process, but the oregon appeals court has pretty much nixed that argument. you might be able to make the case where the particular bike lane is actually out of compliance with PBoT's own published standards.

      what you are suggesting as far as taking the lane until an overtaking motorist actually approaches is what the far to right statute, 814.430, does say, but 814.420 supersedes this where there is a striped bike lane.

      the statute is rarely enforced, but defying it arguably adds to the perception that cyclists are scofflaws, though i would rather be safe than worry about what some benighted motorist thinks.

      http://taking-the-lane.blogspot.com/2010/02/subparagraph-two.html

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      • wsbob May 11, 2011 at 6:44 pm

        814.420 lists eight conditions under which cyclists are not compelled to ride in bike lanes designated with a stripe. They cover about every good reason that readily comes to mind, including "... (c) Avoiding debris or other hazardous conditions. ...", which to some degree, is almost an ever present condition for all bike lanes.

        I believe the law does provide for cyclists riding in the main lane where the main lane is better for riding than the striped bike lane is.

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  • fredlf May 11, 2011 at 10:45 am

    Can car-doors be legally considered a hazard which could cause you to leave a bike lane?

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    • BURR May 11, 2011 at 11:25 am

      absolutely

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    • eli bishop May 11, 2011 at 12:28 pm

      yes.

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    • Spiffy May 11, 2011 at 3:32 pm

      yes, but only if they're already open...

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      • John Lascurettes May 11, 2011 at 10:23 pm

        No, the potential for one opening is also a hazard – in my book anyway. This includes cars where you can see an occupant on your travel side, cars with tinted or otherwise obscured windows or cars obscured by other objects between you and them.

        I always come out of the lane if I feel there is any evident risk of a dooring event. Even if they give me a ticket and I lose, I'd rather have my life than the dollars. But you'd better be damned sure I'd take the ticket to court and cite a hazardous situation.

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  • bobcycle May 11, 2011 at 10:50 am

    Bike lanes are nice and I use them... until a car that is ahead of me on my left signals right turn, then I take the lane behind them until they turn and I am safely past them, at which time I return to the bike lane. Although as I understand the law the auto should yield to bike lane users before turning, I refuse to pass cars signaling right turns. IMO bike lanes require as much or more diligence then staying to the right and taking the lane when appropriate. I also think bike lanes can give a false sense of security to some. Alan's point about disappearing bike lanes is also an issue that can cause confusion and problems for the cyclist.

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    • SteveD May 11, 2011 at 12:24 pm

      I agree with you on this. It also safest to take the lane at intersections (signaled or stop signed) to make certain you are not right-hooked. Cars can't turn in front of you if you are behind or in front of the them.

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    • Greg May 11, 2011 at 5:54 pm

      Well put. I agree 100%.

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  • LDA May 11, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Do you have to use a bike lane even if it lasts for only 2-3 blocks and you are turning left in 5 blocks anyway? I choose to take the left lane in this case only because it means I don't have to unnecessarily cross two lanes of traffic. I'm specifically talking about NW 3rd avenue going south as it approaches Burnside.

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  • S brockway May 11, 2011 at 11:20 am

    Anybody know if runners,dog walkers,and the likes are allowed in bike lane.

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    • woogie May 11, 2011 at 12:23 pm

      Sometimes, here's the statute.

      Basically if a sidewalk exists and is usable, pedestrians must use them.

      814.070¹
      Improper position upon or improperly proceeding along highway

      * • penalty

      (1) A pedestrian commits the offense of pedestrian with improper position upon or improperly proceeding along a highway if the pedestrian does any of the following:

      (a) Takes a position upon or proceeds along and upon the roadway where there is an adjacent usable sidewalk or shoulder.

      (b) Does not take a position upon or proceed along and upon the shoulder, as far as practicable from the roadway edge, on a highway that has an adjacent shoulder area on one or both sides.

      (c) Except in the case of the divided highway, does not take a position upon or proceed along and upon the left shoulder and as far as practicable from the roadway edge on a two-way highway that has no sidewalk and that does have an adjacent shoulder area. This paragraph does not apply to:

      (A) A hitchhiker who takes a position upon or proceeds along and upon the right shoulder so long as the hitchhiker does so facing the vehicles using the adjacent lane of the roadway; or

      (B) A member of a group that has adopted that section of highway under the provisions of ORS 366.158 (Adopt-a-Highway Program) who is obeying the rules of the Department of Transportation for picking up litter or removing noxious weeds on either side of the roadway.

      (d) Does not take a position upon or proceed along and upon the right highway shoulder, as far as practicable from the roadway edge, on a divided highway that has no sidewalk and does have a shoulder area. This paragraph does not apply to a member of a group that has adopted that section of highway under the provisions of ORS 366.158 (Adopt-a-Highway Program) who is obeying the rules of the Department of Transportation for picking up litter or removing noxious weeds on either side of the roadway.

      (e) Fails to take a position upon or proceed along and upon a highway that has neither sidewalk nor shoulder available, as near as practicable to an outside edge of the roadway, and, if the roadway is a two-way roadway, only on the left side of it.

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  • BURR May 11, 2011 at 11:22 am

    It's time to repeal the mandatory bike lane law, Oregon is one of only a small handful of states that still has this archaic law on its books.

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    • are May 11, 2011 at 11:53 am

      at least we are in good company.

      alabama, georgia, kansas, louisiana, michigan, nebraska, new york, north dakota, oklahoma, south carolina, utah, virginia, west virginia, and wyoming

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  • Paul Souders May 11, 2011 at 11:52 am

    I'm not a fan of bikes lanes at this point of my life but they were a major enticement for me to commute longer distances many years ago.

    Serious question:
    If I'm moving the same speed as traffic (note: NOT the same as "posted speed limit;" example: SW 12th ave downtown from PSU) can I take the full lane? I'm not impeding anyone else any more than any other vehicle, after all, and this is the purpose of the "Failure to use bike lane" law, right? Not impeding other traffic?

    Thought experiment:
    Are cars required to get out of my way on downtown streets (example: 2nd ave. downtown) where THEY are impeding ME?

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    • Mindful Cyclist May 11, 2011 at 12:09 pm

      From what I understand, you can take a full lane if you are not impeeding traffic. I could be wrong, but I do it on that street. It's downhill and the lights are set at 12 mph, so it's hard to impeed traffic that much.

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    • eli bishop May 11, 2011 at 12:32 pm

      "I'm not a fan of bikes lanes at this point of my life but they were a major enticement for me to commute longer distances many years ago."

      yes!

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  • Dabby May 11, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    The lucky thing is, that while riding a bicycle on the street or in the bike lane, "Everything" is a hazard!

    Thus rendering the bike lane abandonable, and you can ride where you want. (to a degree)

    This is how I personally have ridden our bike lanes since, well, I guess since we have had them.

    It is also very easy, when/if pulled over for not riding in the bike lane, to stand with the police officer and prove your point about hazards, as they will probably be occuring around you and the officer repeatedlyas you speak..

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  • beelnite May 11, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    Hey I have a question. What about electric scooters? There's this guy who rides the Hawthorne Bridge every morning in the summer for the last 2 years and he's going well over 15 mph. Then he's up on the sidewalk across the bridge and cruising the bike lane on Naito - then he enters the roadway and becomes a "car" to turn at Taylor. When confronted he claims he's legal cuz he looked it up online. I don't think he should be on the sidewalk at the very least... I can't help hassling him... really bothers me for some reason. There's something not right about it. Maybe I just don't like the guy.

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  • Dabby May 11, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    I think electric scooters, electric bikes, and segway style equipment should be kept OUT of bike lanes....

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    • Alan 1.0 May 11, 2011 at 2:18 pm

      No skin off my nose but do they have any place at all on public highways (legal def)? If so, where?

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  • spare_wheel May 11, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    i was just shouted at for taking the lane along the broadway cycle track by a cabbie. the guy cussed me out while I was trying to tell him that:

    1) that i am not required to ride in the cycle track.

    2) there was a truck blocking the cursed track.

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    • OnTheRoad May 11, 2011 at 6:17 pm

      1. Cab drivers are just about the worst drivers out there that I have to deal with as a bicycler.

      2. Don't try to reason with them. They think because they are paid to drive that they are "professional drivers" which for cabbies is an oxymoron.

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    • John Lascurettes May 11, 2011 at 10:30 pm

      These are the same cabbies that block the bike lane at the taxi stand on Broadway at SW Oak, I'm sure.

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    • Dabby May 12, 2011 at 12:33 pm

      I get yelled at every time I am outside that cycle track.

      I don't like that cycle track, and I do not like the Broadway bike lane. I do not want to ride in it, I do not want to hit the students that stand in it at crosswalks.

      I think that this cycle track was a Hello Kitty band aid on a gaping head wound, caused by old, big money and tourism interests.

      The real problem with Broadway starts with valet's at the Benson/Heathman, and ends with ignorance up by PSU.

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    • diondatta May 16, 2011 at 11:11 am

      Let them yell and cuss; if that's all they do, then they will be safe.

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  • JV May 11, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    While it seems that almost anything could be considered a “hazard” on bike lanes, the choices are really pretty clear : If you want to ride on a street with a bike lane, then you should generally use it. Otherwise, just go to a parallel, often quieter side street and take the lane. Streets without bike lanes are often nicer to ride anyway. As a side note, I was recently biking around NYC, and became very grateful for the relative respect that Portland drivers give our bike lanes. In New York their bike lanes serve as a de facto extra car travel lane, delivery truck parking, cab waiting area, and even police car parking lane…so once in a while we should express thanks for having bike lanes that are primarily used by bikes, rather than motor vehicles.

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    • wsbob May 11, 2011 at 11:53 pm

      No, not just 'anything' could be considered a hazard on a bike lane.

      Whether conditions on the bike lane pose a hazard depend on different things that the type of riding a cyclist is engaged in would figure into.

      For example...a cyclist happens to be tooling down the road at 5mph... traffic is heavy, so vehicles are backing up behind this cyclist. A striped bike lane is present, though it has some light gravel debris upon it...but...the cyclist has big fat cruiser tires, or in a lighter style, sturdy 28-35mm touring tires, possibly with tube liners or whatever, to ride and survive in that type debris.

      Light debris of this kind in the bike lane probably wouldn't pose a hazard to the type of cyclist described. So it is, they should probably be using the bike lane.

      A different type of cyclist illustrating the other side of the example might be a cyclist traveling 15-25mph on 23mph road tires. The presence of light gravel of certain types, typically applied during snow and ice conditions, but sometimes carrying over well after weather has improved, can be deceptively harmless; it can readily cause flats. The potential this gravel has for producing flats makes it a hazard. So it is that many cyclists avoid riding over it as if it were a kind of plague. My feeling is that leaving a striped bike lane to avoid such a hazard would be legitimate.

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  • 180mm_dan May 11, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    I fully agree with Byron's comments. One block length bike lanes are dangerous for both bicyclist and vehicles. Kind makes a mockery of the law too.

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  • alex May 11, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    i refuse to use bike lanes that i feel are dangerous. i would rather piss off a few drivers and pay a ticket then to go thru $8000 of surgery and 10 weeks healing from being doored again...

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  • Byron May 11, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    I agree with alex that dooring is a problem and something I look at very carefully when I ride. If the bike lane is too narrow for me to ride safely past parked cars I move out and take the lane even if there are no open doors, just so long as there are cars. I do this on normal streets as well when I have to go past cars. And I move out into the lane and keep there if there is a parked car within a block of where I am.

    If more bikes took the lane and didn't try and ride close to parked cars drivers would expect this behavior, dooring would go down, and maybe drivers would behave better.

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  • Greg May 11, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    I intentionally violate this law every morning on my way to work.
    I refuse to use the "hit me" bike lane on Couch between NE 6th and Grand. I will happily explain to a police officer or a judge why I don't use that bike lane. I'd rather pay a ticket than put myself at risk.

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  • Kevin Wagoner May 11, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    Are there things the bike lane can not legally be used for? The bike lane on Barber often gets used for running, this seems somewhat awkward to me. BTW, I totally support running, walking, etc rights.

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    • woogie May 12, 2011 at 9:42 am

      Yes see my post above on ORS 814.070 Improper position upon or improperly proceeding along highway.

      If a usable unimpeded sidewalk is present pedestrians must use it.

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  • El Biciclero May 12, 2011 at 11:56 am

    I tend to use bike lanes as more of a refuge from aggressive motorists, as a place to pull out and let traffic pass, or as a way to (carefully) pass stopped car traffic. One of the lanes along my commute route has about one foot of usable width along the outside edge of the lane due to plunging storm drain wells (4" - 8" deep) that seem to be especially frequent. I ride the edge of that one with no apologies. I have also learned that if I need to make a planned move out of the bike lane, e.g., for a left turn or known merge point due to a disappearing bike lane, to do it when there is a gap in traffic, regardless of how far away the turn or merge might be--otherwise, I usually find myself squeezed out, having to make a pedestrian turn or "take the sidewalk" at merge points. My technique sometimes puts me outside the bike lane for blocks, but Beaverton PD hasn't yet seen fit to ticket me.

    BTW, I don't think that impeding traffic is a necessary precondition to being ticketed for not using a bike lane. There is no language in the law that makes an exception for "if the person is operating a bicycle at the prevailing speed of traffic or posted speed limit, whichever is lower." Legally, you could be keeping up with cars just fine, but if there is a bike lane and you're not in it, you could still be cited.

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    • BURR May 12, 2011 at 1:19 pm

      the real problem with doing this is that if you are hit outside the bike lane, you may be SOL in terms of a legal/insurance settlement, unless you can prove that you were outside the bike lane for one of the legally allowed reasons.

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      • El Biciclero May 12, 2011 at 1:55 pm

        That's true, I guess. Although "preparing to make a left turn" is one of the listed exceptions, "early merging from a disappearing bike lane" does not appear to be addressed. Maybe it fits under "(c) Avoiding debris or other hazardous conditions."

        Notable, however, is that even if I AM in a bike lane, it is still possible for a non-yielding driver who hits me to escape responsibility, as long as the right (or wrong) judge hears the case. Ironically, I'm probably also less likely to be hit if I judiciously decide when and when not to use existing bike lanes. Right now, it seems to be a no-win Catch-22 if you are on a bike: safe or legal, take your pick...

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  • Barney May 13, 2011 at 2:50 am

    Portland's bike lanes are pretty lousy for intersection-crossing. Many drivers are not aware that cyclists have the right of way, others don't check the mirrors, and still others don't use their turn signals. On most streets, bike lanes funnel cyclists across the path of turning cars which is highly dangerous. We need a better solution for this, and it's going to take more than bike boxes. I'm thinking some sort of pre-intersection lane merge and then a post-intersection diverge. That's what many proactive cyclists do anyways, so why not paint it on the streets so everyone can get down with the reality that right hooks are super-common and avoidable?

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    • wsbob May 13, 2011 at 10:41 am

      "... I'm thinking some sort of pre-intersection lane merge and then a post-intersection diverge. ..." Barney

      That type road infrastructure already does exist, and is used in a few places. Jenkins Rd on the south side of Nike's Beaverton campus is one example. It might be visible on Google's aerial photo view. One of the limitations of this strategy as road infrastructure for avoiding right hooks, is that it takes up a lot of linear feet on the road.

      Cyclists using this type of infrastructure can be in a better position to avoid having a motor vehicle come abruptly upon them. Still, cyclists signaling well in advance of veering across a main lane of traffic, which this infrastructure provides for, is very important.

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    • BURR May 13, 2011 at 12:52 pm

      this argument has been made many times to the so-called 'safety gurus' at PBOT and they reject it almost every time in favor of placing the bike lane to the right of right turning traffic.

      It would seem to me that bike lanes like this do not meet the criteria in section (2) above: (2) A person is not required to comply with this section unless the state or local authority with jurisdiction over the roadway finds, after public hearing, that the bicycle lane or bicycle path is suitable for safe bicycle use at reasonable rates of speed.

      And the placement of bike lanes to the right of right turning traffic, bike box or not, exposes PBOT and the City to substantial legal liabilities.

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  • Chris May 13, 2011 at 8:26 am

    Just thought I would say, I am jealous that you guy's get to have this argument, Try riding to work where I am from, and then realize how awesome you guys have it! Just thought I would throw that out there, as a reminder. Not to invalidate what you guys are saying, but gosh riding where I am from is dangerous.

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  • Sean May 14, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    You may be interested to know that in Québec Canada there was a similar regulation (requirement to use bike paths where they existed), but this was just recently repealed (Dec 2010) by Bill 71.

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  • diondatta May 16, 2011 at 11:02 am

    This law seems to conflict with various other traffic laws and judgements which assert that a bicycle is a "vehicle" just as a car is a vehicle and thereby, the operator of the bicycle has all the rights and responsibilities as an automobile driver.

    This law contradicts that precedent by NOT allowing bicyclists to have the SAME right to a full lane width as a car.

    So, which is it? Is a bike the same as a car or not? If not, I don't see how I should get points on my driver's license if I roll through a stop-sign at walking speed or go faster than 25mph downhill in a residential area, nor, get to take an entire lane width if I choose to. etc., etc.

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