Special coverage of the 2007 Legislative Session

You can also read about the BTA’s legislative efforts on their website.

Republican legislators call for ODOT director to quit over emissions claims

Posted on November 19th, 2015 at 11:55 am.

ODOT Director Matt Garrett
Matt Garrett has led ODOT since 2005.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

A few weeks after left-leaning former Metro president David Bragdon all but called for the firing of Oregon’s top transportation official, legislative Republicans are calling for it explicitly.

Oregon Department of Transportation Director Matt Garrett is facing criticism from both sides over the incident, earlier this year, when his office and Gov. Kate Brown’s temporarily claimed that tens of millions of dollars in freeway investments would be part of reducing long-run carbon emissions in Oregon by more than 2 million metric tons.


City engaged in battle against speeding epidemic

Posted on June 12th, 2015 at 11:59 am.

N Willamette Blvd bike lanes-6
PBOT has asked the state for a trial of new speed limit zones they say would reduce collisions.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Of all the ingredients that make up a dangerous roadway environment, most pundits and policymakers agree that speeding is one of the biggest threats. At a meeting of transportation advocates hosted by Portland Mayor Charlie Hales and Bureau of Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick earlier this month, the scourge of speed was a constant thread through the discussion.


Oregon House Rep gives up on mandatory reflective clothing bill

Posted on March 26th, 2015 at 12:16 pm.

Rep. John Davis.

Oregon House Representative John Davis has changed his mind about how best to improve the safety of bicycling.

Davis made headlines around the state last month when he introduced H.B. 3255, a bill that would require all Oregonians who ride a bicycle at night to wear refelctive clothing. Davis’ clothing mandate garnered considerable media attention and resulted in an “action alert” from the Bicycle Transportation Alliance who urged their members to help stop the bill.

A hearing for the bill was scheduled for March 30th in Salem.

Now he says he’s changing course and the bill will no longer include any language about reflective clothing.


Oregon lawmaker wants to punish people who bike without reflective clothing – UPDATED

Posted on February 27th, 2015 at 12:11 pm.

Rep. John Davis.

*Scroll down for update with comments from Rep. Davis.*

A member of the Oregon House has introduced a bill that would require all bicycle riders in Oregon to wear reflective clothing. Representative John Davis (R-District 26) introduced House Bill 3255 this morning.

According to the text of the bill, Davis wants anyone caught riding a bicycle, “on a highway or on premises open to the public” without wearing reflective clothing to be punished by a maximum fine of $250. The bill also dictates that the clothing is, “including but not limited to a reflective coat or reflective vest.” The new law would only apply to people riding bicycles at night (between sunset and sunrise).

The new offense, “Failure of a bicycle operator to wear reflective clothing,” would be a Class D traffic violation.

Similar bills have been introduced in California, Wyoming and South Dakota. In California, Senate Bill 192 mandates helmets for all ages and reflective clothing, but carries a maximum fine of just $25.


Salem Watch: School transportation bill could impact biking/walking

Posted on April 6th, 2011 at 2:57 pm.

A bill introduced in Salem this morning, HB 3622 (PDF), is being watched by biking and walking advocates for its possible impact on school transportation funding.

Authored by Rep. Betty Komp of Woodburn, the bill seeks to revise the method of calculating transportation block grants from the State School Fund distributions by allowing “district school [boards] to determine distances for which school [districts] will provide transportation. […] Allows Superintendent of Public Instruction to impose sanctions on school district for failure to maintain safe school buses and school activity vehicles.”


$25 million for bike boulevards: Highlights from Portland’s federal lobbying agenda

Posted on January 25th, 2011 at 1:49 pm.

High Crash Corridors campaign launch-3
One of their priorities is a $1.3 million
request to make SE Foster Road safer
for all modes.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Today, Portland Mayor Sam Adams published the City’s list of federal legislative priorities. Among them are several transportation projects that include bike-related infrastructure.

[As an aside, we are pleased to note that Nils Tillstrom, a former staffer for U.S. Congressman David Wu, is now working for the City of Portland as federal legislative assistant. Tillstrom was our main contact on bicycle issues and met with Oregonians on Capitol Hill during the National Bike Summit.]

Here are some of the projects that City lobbyists will be pushing for in Washington D.C. this year…


PBOT-backed legislation would change speed limit authority

Posted on January 19th, 2011 at 11:48 am.

A ride with the family-9
Portland hopes new law will lead to
20 mph limit on streets like these.
(Photo © J. Maus)

As we reported back in October, the City of Portland is working the legislature to gain more control over speed limits. Mayor Sam Adams is aware of the impact high speed motor vehicles have on our neighborhoods and has pushed for a new approach to speed limits for years.

PBOT, which Mayor Adams oversees, wants their own engineers to have the authority to decide what speed limits are appropriate for residential streets where they are currently building a network of interconnected “family friendly” bikeways. (Note: Currently, ODOT is in charge of setting speed limits — even on roads they themselves do not own and maintain.)

Now that the legislative session has begun, I thought it would be wise to track how the City of Portland is approaching this issue.


Another look at HB 2602, which would prohibit biking with headphones on

Posted on January 18th, 2011 at 12:41 pm.

Should it be illegal?
(Photo © J. Maus)

Lost in last week’s kerfluffle about a potential ban on biking with kids, was another bill proposed in the current Oregon legislative session that deserves our attention.

House Bill 2602 (text), sponsored by Representative Michael Schaufler (D-Happy Valley), would create a new traffic violation for “unsafe operation of a bicycle” if a person “operates a bicycle on a highway while wearing a listening device that is capable of receiving telephonic communication, radio broadcasts or recorded sounds.” The offense would come with a maximum fine of $90.


Rep. Jules Bailey works to amend Greenlick bill – Updated

Posted on January 13th, 2011 at 5:00 pm.

State Representative Jules Bailey has just told us that he has been in touch with Rep. Mitch Greenlick about HB 2228, the controversial bill that would create a new Oregon law making it illegal to transport a child six years or younger on a bicycle or in a bike trailer.

Bailey says that the two lawmakers have agreed that the bill will be amended if and when it comes up in committee (it has not been assigned to one yet). Here’s more from Bailey:

“I have spoken with Rep Greenlick and convinced him that we should amend the bill to remove the violation portion and instead ask for a study on child safety in bicycles and the best way to improve that safety. I plan to make that amendment at the first opportunity if the bill is heard and worked. He agreed to support the amendment as a friendly amendment.”


Official statement on HB 2228 from Rep. Greenlick

Posted on January 13th, 2011 at 12:56 pm.

Below is the official statement on HB 2228 that Rep. Mitch Greenlick is sending out to people who’ve contacted him about the bill. The statement was preceeded by a form email from Greenlick’s Legislative Assistant Justin Freeman:

Thank you for writing to express your concerns about HB 2228. Our goal in introducing this legislation was to start a conversation about the safety of children when riding as passengers on bicycles and we welcome and encourage any input from the community that furthers that conversation. Attached is a statement from Rep. Greenlick that will hopefully address some of your concerns.

And here’s the statement by Rep. Greenlick on HB 2228

I have spent my life as a health researcher. During the 1990s I was professor and chair of the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at the School of Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University. I have been a member of the Oregon House of Representatives since 2003 and currently co-chair the House Health Care Committee. As a health researcher and as a legislator I have pushed hard to improve the health and safety of our citizens, including promoting measures (such as safe-routes to schools) that increase the opportunity for safe bicycling in Oregon. I introduced HB 2228 because I am not convinced that we are doing all we can to protect the health and safety of young children who join their parents bicycling on the streets and roads of Oregon.

Researchers at OHSU recently completed a study of serious riders, those who bike to work on a regular basis. The study found that, on average, about 30% of those riders suffer a traumatic injury each year and that about 8% of those riders suffer an injury serious enough to require medical attention. I was not able to resist asking myself what would have happened to a young child strapped into a seat on the bike when the rider suffered that serious traumatic injury. The study clearly leads us to work to reduce the environmental hazards that make those injuries more likely. But when I began looking for data on the safety of young children on bikes, it is clear that data are simply not available.

My children were born in the late 1950s. Back then we would put the three kids in the back of a station wagon and let them bounce freely around the car while we traveled the country. It never occurred to us that we were putting them in danger. The cars did not even have safety belts in those days. We have learned that this is not a safe way to transport kids. We now require safety belts, safe car-seats for infants, and we exclude small kids from the front seats of cars with air-bags. Consequently, we have dramatically reduced auto crash fatality-rates for children over the decades. By the same token I do not believe there is a parent in Oregon who would want to risk the safety of their young children if they really believed it was risky to put them on a bicycle.

I introduced HB 2228 to begin what I hope will be a rational discussion to assure we were doing everything possible to improve the safety of bicycle transportation in Oregon. This bill is not an anti-cycling bill. In fact, it is a pro-cycling bill that will focus on creating a safe cycling experience for Oregon’s children. There is so much we don’t know about this topic. I hope this process will reduce the heat in the debate and increase the light.

I urge the bicycling community to be patient and to engage the process calmly and productively if the bill gets a hearing in a house committee, as I hope it will. Let’s try to keep the discourse civil and trust we all want to do what is best for the children of Oregon.

Read our full coverage of this bill here.