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In rare move, City of Roseburg looks to strengthen Oregon’s ‘mandatory sidepath’ law

Posted by on August 3rd, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Hottest Day of the Year Ride
Who says its “safe and reasonable” for bicycle use?
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

On August 13th, the City Council of Roseburg (about 170 miles south of Portland) will attempt to take a rare step toward strengthening the Oregon law mandating use of a bike lane (a.k.a. the mandatory sidepath law). That law, ORS 814.420, mandates that if a bike lane is present it must be used.

While the law is rarely enforced, its vague language lends itself to confusion and controversy. While it mandates use of a bike lane, it also includes many exceptions to the rule. Oregonians are allowed to leave the bike lane to pass another rider, to prepare for a left turn, to avoid debris, and so on. But, legally speaking, the most problematic language in the statute is this:

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.

In a nutshell, if you got a citation for not using the bike lane, you could simply demand proof that a public hearing had been held. If such proof couldn’t be provided, it seems as though the judge have to dismiss the ticket. Police officers in Roseburg want to make sure no more people on bikes can roll through that loophole.

According to the City of Roseburg public works department staffer Nikki Messenger, they plan to hold that public hearing. Messenger told me yesterday that the impetus for this action comes directly from Roseburg traffic cops. “One of our traffic officers contacted me,” she said, “because he had seen violations and would like to enforce the ordinance… We’re just following the statutes.”

“In my view, you really shouldn’t be forced to use the bike lane.”
— Ray Thomas, lawyer and bike law expert

The Roseburg ordinance includes 26 streets that have bike lanes. If passed, no one in Roseburg could ever have a citation for violation of 814.420 dismissed on the grounds that a public hearing hadn’t been held (unless new streets, not on this list, got bike lanes). “The Police Department would have the ability to enforce the statute immediately upon a finding by the Council,” the ordinance reads.

Even though no formal study or inventory of these streets has been done to ensure they are indeed “safe” to ride on, Messenger says city staff supports the ordinance and feels the City Council action is a “reasonable” public process.

This step toward affirming and strengthening 814.420 is noteworthy on many levels.

While the League of American Bicyclists cited the existence of this law as a major negative in our bike-friendly state ranking and many advocates and people who ride want to see it repealed, Roseburg is going in the opposite direction.

Bike law expert Ray Thomas, who has helped create and change bike legislation in his volunteer role with the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA), believes the law shouldn’t exist at all. “In my view, you really shouldn’t be forced to use the bike lane,” says Thomas. Thomas said there’s a movement afoot in Oregon to either repeal or significantly amend the law and he’s looking for people to contact him if they’d like to work on it.

Thomas says that he felt the public hearing loophole was sufficiently closed with the landmark State vs. Potter case that was heard in the Court of Appeals in 2002. In that case, a Critical Mass participant in Portland contended his ticket for not riding in the bike lane should be thrown out because the State couldn’t prove they had held a public hearing as required by statute. In the end, the court ruled against the defendant, stating that they don’t have to prove whether or not a hearing was held. Instead, the State successfully argued that they had met their “burden of production” that the bike lane is legitimate, and therefore must be used, because it is an official traffic control device (citing ORS 810.250, section 3).

In 2006 we learned of another way this “public hearing” loophole has been closed. City of Portland bike coordinator Roger Geller testified at a traffic court trial that the 1996 Bike Master Plan went through a public process and therefore could act as a blanket public hearing for all bike lanes contained within it.

For their part, the BTA says they’re also opposed to 814.420; but they don’t plan to add the issue to their legislative priorities during the 2013 session. BTA Advocacy Director Gerik Kransky told me this morning that he feels 814.420 is “bad public policy” and that, while it’s not on their legislative agenda right now, they’re “interested in having that conversation.” “I would love to see a bill proposed that repeals the whole thing,” he said, “And if it started to gain traction, we would consider working on it.” Kransky added that the BTA’s top priorities in Salem this coming session will be centered around funding, enforcement, and speed. He hopes grassroots advocates in Roseburg will step up and make their voices heard.

Thomas said the Roseburg situation probably won’t have a major impact on the law; but he’s still uncomfortable with how they’re going about it. “I told an activist in Roseburg, if the bike lanes are in bad shape, you guys should show up to City Council and say they’re unsafe.”

— The City Council meeting is set for 7:00 pm on Monday, August 13th. View the 26 streets in question and download a PDF of the official City Council documents pertaining to this issue here and here (PDF).

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Comments
  • Alex Reed August 3, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    I bet there are bike lanes in the door zone in Roseburg which are therefore unsafe. No forced door-zone riding please!

    Recommended Thumb up 6

    • Spiffy August 3, 2012 at 3:48 pm

      even the DMV handbook says to stay out of the door zone…

      Recommended Thumb up 5

  • Schrauf August 3, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    Regardless of a public hearing, all the other required use of bike lane exceptions still apply. One being safety. That is a rather strong exception, given all the potential hazards of being in a skinny lane often up alongside vehicles and driveways.

    This must be a major problem in Roseburg. Or is the cop simply spiteful, and ignoring more pressing traffic safety concerns? Yeah, I thought so.

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    • 9watts August 3, 2012 at 12:26 pm

      “because he had seen violations and would like to enforce the ordinance.”

      Perhaps at some point Ms. Messenger could relay what the offences were that the officer would like to have ticketed people riding bikes for. Maybe that could be ascertained in the public hearing. Biking in the street?
      This seems so vindictive.

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    • are August 3, 2012 at 9:28 pm

      the exception for safety is of course not quite as simple as that. you have to be leaving the bike lane to avoid a hazard. you or i might think we should leave the bike lane if staying in the bike lane would have the effect of offering to share too narrow a space with overtaking motorists, and you or i might like to raise this defense in traffic court, but we would be speculating on the outcome, and it would be easy to find oddsmakers taking bets against us.

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  • Doug Smart August 3, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    I grew up in Roseburg. I pedaled the streets there before there were any bike lanes. I’m trying to think of how to describe the prevailing attitudes there without using any pejorative terms. Let’s just say that I don’t think sharrows would be well respected there by people in motor vehicles.

    The statute can be a double edged sword. My hope is that enforcement priorities in Roseburg also take in ticketing all those automobilists who drive in the bike lane.

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    • John Lascurettes August 3, 2012 at 1:34 pm

      My hope is that enforcement priorities in Roseburg also take in ticketing all those automobilists who drive in the bike lane.

      Oh, that’s rich. Good one.

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      • Spiffy August 3, 2012 at 3:49 pm

        yeah, I LOL’d!

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    • Doug Smart August 4, 2012 at 9:58 pm

      Ok. I got sloppy. I was thinking that the statute that requires people on bicycles to use a bike lane was the same one that keeps cars out, as well as the one that makes them legal lanes. Here’s what I found:
      ORS 814.420 requires people on bicycles to use bike lines, provided those lanes have been through a public hearing process – the topic of this article. Violation is a Class D traffic offense.
      ORS 811.435 prohibits drivers from operating a motor vehicle on a bicycle trail or path – it includes the term “lane”. Violation is a Class B traffic offense.
      ORS 811.050 is the one about a driver failing to yield to a bicyclist in a bike lane – this would apply in right hook situations as well as to drivers entering and leaving driveways. Violation is a Class B traffic offense.

      It seems that 811.435 and 811.050 would be greater enforcement priorities by virtue of being Class B. Is RPD enforcing those? (A hint guys – look for places where the stripe is worn away)

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  • Dave August 3, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    Seems to me there would be a pretty strong contingent in Portland who would get behind repealing the law, and I think a strong case could be made that there are enough reasonable exceptions to the law that it really shouldn’t be a law in the first place.

    Besides that, there are already laws relating to a person disrupting traffic generally, which seem like they would apply just fine to a person not using a bike lane, and by doing so, disrupting traffic. Having added law requiring you use the bike lane all the time seems generally excessive. If a person can ride outside the bike lane and not cause problems, why not let them?

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    • Spiffy August 3, 2012 at 3:51 pm

      the same thing can be said about the hands-free cell phone law but they still passed it…

      politicians need to stay busy… so it seems they pass duplicate laws when they’re bored…

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  • Mark Allyn August 3, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    I don’t know much about Roseburg. Does it have the same ultra strict traffic enforcement that we hear about in North Plain?

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  • 9watts August 3, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    Observation: when someone driving a car veers off the road and runs over a person on a bike riding on the shoulder, the VRU statute is rarely applied and drivers who lose control of their vehicles in this manner are frequently not even cited.

    Concern: laws forbidding people from bicycling on public streets in Roseburg where a bike path exists are not enforceable so let’s hold a mock hearing so we can cite them.

    Lewis Carroll’s Mad Tea Party comes to mind.

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  • Sunny August 3, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    “the bicycle lane or bicycle path is suitable for safe bicycle use at reasonable rates of speed”…what’s reasonable?

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    • El Biciclero August 3, 2012 at 1:55 pm

      I think either the speed limit of the street or 30mph, whichever is lower, ought to be reasonable–with no penalty for going over 30 if the speed limit is higher. In other words, I’d hate to see separate speed limits for bikes and cars. Go ahead and say that a lane or path is “rated” as a 25mph path, but if it’s downhill and the street speed limit is 40, there should be no penalty for going 35.

      Unfortunately, I think those that get to make decisions consider 10mph to be more than reasonable. After all, who ever wants to go over 8mph on a bike??? Someone with a death wish, that’s who!!

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      • Sunny August 3, 2012 at 2:04 pm

        If 10 mph is “reasonable”, which I rarely ride at, it should mean I don’t have to use the sidepath if I’m keeping up with traffic away from the doorzone. Is that right?

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        • are August 3, 2012 at 9:24 pm

          no, the mandatory sidepath law requires you to use the bike lane if the city has determined after public hearing that it is safe to use at a reasonable speed. that is not the same as saying if you are going faster than whatever they thought a reasonable speed was you are not still required to use it. it means you have to use it and as a practical matter maybe you have to slow down.

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        • wsbob August 5, 2012 at 11:38 am

          Sunny
          If 10 mph is “reasonable”, which I rarely ride at, it should mean I don’t have to use the sidepath if I’m keeping up with traffic away from the doorzone. Is that right?
          Recommended 1

          All you have to do is, when confronted by any particular bike lane, ask yourself whether it’s safe to ride there for the speed you’re traveling at. If you consider the bike lane not to be safe to ride at the speed you’re traveling, you can, by (3) (c) of 814.420, legally leave it and ride the main lane:

          “…(c) Avoiding debris or other hazardous conditions. …” http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/814.420

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          • are August 5, 2012 at 1:24 pm

            There is of course another way to avoid the hazard of riding faster in a bike lane than the “reasonable” speed for which it was ostensibly designed, and that would be to slow down. Therefore I am not certain the “avoiding hazard” defense would hold up.

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          • El Biciclero August 6, 2012 at 11:46 am

            I think the “door zone” would be the defense here, not that you were traveling faster than some arbitrary “reasonable” speed (although there is the question of what constitutes a reasonable speed in a door zone–5mph?). Also, if you are passing other cyclists, you are allowed to leave the bike lane. I tend to think “going fast” would be seen as creating a hazard; could one then claim to be avoiding a hazard of one’s own creation?

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  • Jeff TB August 3, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    BTA Advocacy Director Gerik Kransky is quoted:
    “I would love to see a bill proposed that repeals the whole thing, And if it started to gain traction, we would consider working on it.”
    so, If someone leads then you will follow?
    I don’t think that came out the right way………..At least I hope not.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 3, 2012 at 1:26 pm

      Hi Jeff,

      What he’s saying is that, while they oppose the existing law, they have decided, at this time, to not take any proactive steps to repeal it. Given the other things they’d like to work on in the legislative session, they have decided it’s not the right time for them to make this issue a priority.

      The BTA aren’t the only ones who can propose and bring up new laws in Salem. Anyone can do it, all it takes is some dedicated and a legislator/co-sponsor.

      What Gerik was saying is that, if a non-BTA effort was to form around repeal of the law, and it was well-received and looked like it might pass, the BTA would then devote some resources to the effort.

      I’m just trying to explain what Gerik said to me… I’m sure he can chime in on his own and explain it better….

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    • q`Tzal August 3, 2012 at 2:23 pm

      Also that such an attempted repeal would face such steep opposition that all potential outcomes for now are at best a stunning waste of time, effort and money and at worst a crippling Pyric defeat.

      The BTA, or any group that opposes the mandatory sidepath law, would have to fight an uphill (vertical cliff face freeclimb?) battle against non-cycling driver ignorance. Most drivers can’t be bothered with knowing the laws that pertain to their own lane. At best the bike lane is so you aren’t in front of them; it exists solely so we aren’t in their way – until we are.
      Anyone who tries to fight this law will by necessity have to educate that motoring public.

      And in our ever increasing anti-intellectual, anti-education, anti-know-anything society all I can say is “good luck”.

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  • Granpa August 3, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    This is GREAT! You will get cited for riding a bicycle outside the line, but if you are in an SUV and hit a cyclist inside that line you walk…………..
    This is Bizzaro world.

    Recommended Thumb up 14

    • J-R August 3, 2012 at 1:50 pm

      Outstanding summary of the inconsistency in the treatment of users of different vehicles!

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  • Champs August 3, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    To be fair, Roseburg is also going stop the use of bike lanes for supplemental parking and waste container storage, and schedule more street sweeping for road hazards.

    Just kidding.

    Recommended Thumb up 8

  • q`Tzal August 3, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    Hey Roseburg:
    Just put up a sign on all roads leading in to town that say
    “All real Americans, welcome
    Cyclists, detour —->”
    where the arrow points cyclists away from your town.

    The internet doesn’t forget.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Jacob August 3, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    Well-designed bike lanes should make people WANT to use them. The fact that many cyclists don’t want to ride in bike lanes means that we’re doing something seriously wrong. I’ve never heard the Dutch complain about mandatory bike lane rules. Their bike lanes are designed so well, you’d be crazy to want to ride outside them.

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  • Unit August 3, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    Just another reason, when I’m driving down I-5 looking for a place to eat, sleep, etc, I will keep driving past Roseburg to a town that’s a little less nutso.

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    • q`Tzal August 3, 2012 at 3:34 pm

      The world isn’t divided up in to states and countries but urban and rural.

      The social mores, pace of life, economics and most of every other piece of daily minuta that make up urban and rural lives differ from each other diametrically while the rural “way of life” opposite sides of the planet have more in common.

      As urbanization gradually takes over rural communites and they see their lifestyle slipping in to oblivion people grasp desperately at anything to blame for their woes. Bicycles are simply a sign of urban times come to get them.

      We are the Boogieman.

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  • dwainedibbly August 3, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    Can we give Roseburg to Florida? They seem to belong together.

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  • RyNO Dan August 3, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    ive always enjoyed visiting roseburg. i hope they get this one right.

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  • Bike Bend August 4, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    At the risk of getting pilloried here I’m reading an awful lot of Us vs. Them and “how stupid and backward can Roseburg be?” on this thread without hearing the entire story – especially why, exactly, the Roseburg cop “wants to enforce the statute”. I can think of a number of reasons the cop would like to apply the law that make common sense. How about letting the system work and wait until the Roseburg City Council has their hearing and takes a stance before beating up on Roseburg? (Disclosure: I’ve never biked on Roseburg’s streets but I’ve ridden on the roads of the Greater Ptld Area and Central Oregon for many years)

    I, for one, would love to have the Bend Police enforce existing laws and ticket those cyclidiots who insist on blowing stop signs and red lights (thank goodness for the growing number of roundabouts in Bend that effectively eliminate old school intersections), ride the wrong way on bike lanes that have the proper direction of travel clearly marked (putting me at risk, dammit!) and insist on riding 3 to 4 abreast with only one cyclist actually in the bike lane while the other 2 or 3 are casually cruising the roadway pissing off motorists who then yell at me (who passed the cyclidiots earlier and asked them nicely to please ride two abreast only to be told to f-off). I could list more but you get the idea.

    Change is HARD so let’s find ways to get the cops on our side, eh?

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    • oliver August 6, 2012 at 12:00 pm

      None of your complaints regarding cyclist behavior will be addressed by the strengthening of the mandatory sidepath law, in Bend, Roseburg or otherwise.

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    • are August 6, 2012 at 1:15 pm

      the statute the police want to enforce is the mandatory sidepath law, so the violations they are concerned with are not running stops, etc. the perceived obstacle to enforcement is the apparent absence of a public hearing to determine that each and every striped bike lane is in fact safe for use at a “reasonable” speed. in fact the city is probably protected by the appeals court decision in potter, but maybe not now that they have acknowledged there were no hearings.

      the story here says the city is going to have one hearing to make this determination with respect to 26 separate bike lanes. that could turn into a rather long hearing, if anyone shows up with MUTCD guidelines and some field measurements.

      i have never been to roseburg and have no opinion whether the police or people in local government there are “stupid and backward.” googlemaps covered only a handful of streets, and it looks like there are not many bike lanes on the thoroughfares. the bike lanes over the two main bridges look like complete hell, and a cyclist would be well advised to ride somewhat to the left of the outer line, forcing overtaking motorists to take the second lane, regardless of the outcome of a public hearing and the adoption of an ordinance certifying these as “safe.”

      but in the end, and actually no matter what evidence is brought into the hearing, if the city adopts the ordinance, they will have something they can enforce. then what?

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    • El Biciclero August 6, 2012 at 1:18 pm

      I must admit when I saw this headline, I was all prepared to be outraged at some attempt to add municipal exceptions to the exceptions of 814.420 (e.g., something like forcing cyclists to always make pedestrian lefts by disallowing the ‘preparing for a left turn’ exception), or some such nonsense, and was less outraged to find out that Roseburg was merely attempting to live up to its end of the bargain, as it were, when it comes to defining bike lanes that cyclists are legally required to use.

      However, it still appears that the main reason for holding this hearing is not to diligently evaluate the safety of bike lanes and make adjustments to improve that safety, but to close a legal loophole so they can really stick it to scofflaws who dare ride outside the luxurious amenities provided for their safety and convenience. As ‘are’ alludes to above, there are certain conditions that experienced cyclists recognize as hazards or potential hazards that the average Law Enforcement Officer or judge might not agree with. This hearing would put those experienced and conscientious cyclists at greater risk of being cited (punished) for riding safely. By and large, this appears to be merely a punitive measure aimed at the second-most-benign class of road user, when efforts could be better spent improving real safety.

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  • Rol August 4, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    I was just thinking to myself, “I wonder what the cops in Roseburg are up to. Do they have enough power? Are they having success in fighting the epidemic of bike lane non-use?”

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  • 9watts August 6, 2012 at 11:18 am

    “I, for one, would love to have the Bend Police enforce existing laws and ticket those cyclidiots who insist on blowing stop signs and red lights (thank goodness for the growing number of roundabouts in Bend that effectively eliminate old school intersections)”

    I hear you annoyed at cyclists but also celebrating the abolition of those rules (structures) that those same cyclists are (in your view) ignoring. Some of the articles listed in today’s Monday Roundup suggest to me that the latter might be at least half of the problem. I have a hard time getting too worked up about the terrible things some cyclists are observed to do, when we have serious carnage that tends to go unmentioned.

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  • Dabby August 6, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    Pigeonholing at it’s finest.
    This Effort, along with the silly push for seperated facilities,
    Is serving to eventually pigeonhole cyclists into riding only where
    “allowed”.
    I for one see bike lanes as a hazard in general, and can see and effectively debate ” a public hearing proven safe bike lane” in court, but even more expressly,on the street, to an officer

    The safety loopholes still allow for abandonment of the bike lane regardless of public hearing, as we truly and can simply argue such a public hearing was not held in the interest of the user.

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    • El Biciclero August 6, 2012 at 1:04 pm

      “Jay-riding”, here we come!

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  • wsbob August 6, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    Going on information provided in this bikeportland story, what the city of Roseburg seems actually to be doing with respect to ORS 814.420, is rather than strengthening the law, it’s taking appropriate steps to strengthen…its ability…to enforce the law…by working to make sure roads within the city limits have met the requirement cited in (2) of ORS 814.420, which is:

    “…(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. …ORS 814.420 (2)

    (2) of ORS 814.420 is vague about what constitutes bicycle lanes and paths that are suitable for safe bicycle use at reasonable rates of speed. It doesn’t cite any standardized source of specs by which bike lanes and bike paths must be designed, constructed, heard by the the public and approved by the jurisdiction, in order to fulfill the requirement of this part of the law.

    Not saying Roseburg would do it or has done it, but this seems to be an oversight in the law’s writing that technically could allow a city to slap a ‘Suitable for Safe Bike Lane Use’ finding on bike lanes and bike paths of any configuration or condition it chose to.

    Here’s a link to Lesson 19 Bike lanes from the FHWA COURSE ON BICYCLE AND PEDESTRIAN TRANSPORTATION: http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/PED_BIKE/univcourse/pdf/swless19.pdf

    It mentions The AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities. Whether standards noted or specified in these documents are ones that cities would be required to meet, present at public hearing and find suitable for safe bike use as a condition of citing for 814.420 is something I don’t know.

    In the design and construction of its bike lanes and bike paths, Roseburg residents may have been following that process to ensure that infrastructure has met a standard such as AASHTO’s. The second Roseburg pdf a link is provided for in this maus/bikeportland story, seems to be a straight, ‘sign-off’ type document. It lists the bike lanes/paths subject to the finding, and that council finds them safe for bike use, but doesn’t mention any design and construction standard they’ve met that would support that finding.

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    • El Biciclero August 6, 2012 at 2:41 pm

      Heh. This is a very interesting aspect of the “hearing” process. And here is a very interesting guide for a “Roadway Safety Audit”; pp. 44 and beyond have the relevant “prompts” (questions) to consider when evaluating the safety of bicycle facilities. I wonder whether any such guideline will be employed during the course of the public hearing, or whether a bunch of non-riding, paternal types will sit around stroking their chins and nodding agreement that things “look good to me!”

      Judging from the documents provided, this appears to be a process wherein bike lanes/paths are assumed to be suitable until proven otherwise. I doubt city council members are doing any homework on this, since a stamp of “SUITABLE” appears to be the default. I hope some local Roseburg cyclists are doing homework comparing the facilities under consideration to some standard such as we have linked to here…

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    • are August 6, 2012 at 6:13 pm

      full text of the AAHSTO guide is here
      http://www.azmag.gov/Documents/pdf/cms.resource/PWB-RBTF_2008_Guide-for-Development-of-Bicycle-Facilities83606.pdf

      note that on page 17 (page 26 of the .pdf) AAHSTO says if the usable portion of the roadway, from the edge of the gutter pan to the center line, is less than fourteen feet, you should not stripe a bike lane but treat it as a shared lane. they go on to say if you have parked cars you need twelve feet to the center line, not counting the door zone.

      pages 22 and following (page 31 in the .pdf) give minimum specs for bike lane widths, etc. five feet minimum next to parked cars, six or seven if there is high turnover. and so on.

      the city of portland takes the position that it has in effect had a public hearing on everything that was in the bike master plan back in 1998, which does cover a lot,
      http://taking-the-lane.blogspot.com/2010/02/subparagraph-two.html
      but the plan itself included guidelines, derived from AAHSTO, that many bike lanes ostensibly covered by the plan do not in fact meet:

      – preferred bike lane width five feet, but we will accept four for distances of less than a mile between “existing bikeways” or where there are traffic calming devices or parking turnover is [very] low.
      – preferred width of adjacent parking lane eight feet, but we will accept seven.
      – preferred width of adjacent travel lane eleven feet, but we will accept ten.
      – but in no event should a four-foot bike lane be put next to either a seven-foot parking lane or a ten-foot travel lane.

      not difficult to cite examples that do not conform.

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  • Kristen August 6, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    So… if I’m reading the article correctly, the Roseburg traffic officer has witnessed some violations and he’d like to enforce them.

    The laws are currently on the books. The police can already enforce them. It merely requires them to, you know, enforce them.

    I understand about wanting to close loopholes to make the enforcement actions “stick” but… there’s nothing currently stopping any police officer from enforcing the mandatory sidepath law.

    I could wish that local municipalities would use this opportunity to evaluate the safety of bike lanes on streets they have jurisdiction over. But I don’t think that’s going to happen.

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    • wsbob August 7, 2012 at 12:04 am

      “…but… there’s nothing currently stopping any police officer from enforcing the mandatory sidepath law.

      I could wish that local municipalities would use this opportunity to evaluate the safety of bike lanes on streets they have jurisdiction over. …” Kristen

      Police officers could cite, but if streets within the city limits haven’t met (2) of the law, knowledgeable recipients of citations could have the citations tossed.

      Roseburg’s city council and at least one of the city’s police officers seems to have realized that the law’s ability to oblige road users traveling by bike…to use bike lanes/paths, relies on this specialized infrastructure having been presented at public hearing and subsequently found by the presiding jurisdiction to be suitable for safe riding. The city council having prepared those documents and post dated them for the 13th of August, possibly suggests that when it meets again, city council may be expecting the public hearing-jurisdictional finding step to be a mere formality, simply fulfilling a technicality of the law to allow enforcement, rather than helping to achieve a standard of bike lane/path use safety.

      I hope none of the bike lanes Roseburg’s city council has listed to be considered and possibly found ‘suitable’, are of an inferior, substandard condition. Where they may be so though, I believe (3) (c) of 814.420 would take effect.

      City Council, before finding that bike lanes/paths are ‘suitable’, should present documentation to the public verifying that each and everyone of them actually is suitable, and according to what standard.

      If Roseburg does have people that bike that know on a case by case basis, condition and status of bike lanes/paths within city limits, and that know a bit about how their local government works, the 7:00 pm, Monday, August 13th council meeting might be an opportunity to offer some constructive input.

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