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View Full Version : Is biking downtown legal?


Crackazilly
05-18-2007, 10:03 AM
Hi,
I'm new to commuting to work downtown. I was biking home yesterday going down 4th at Salmon riding in the middle of my lane when a parked car pulled out into my lane and almost ran me over. I was upset so at the next red light I pulled up along side, banged on the drivers window and told him he almost killed me. His response was: "you shouldn't be riding in the street."

He said bikes are not allowed in the street. I yelled at him some more and told him to be more careful. My question is: are bikes allowed in the street in downtown portland? I always assumed there were because there are so many.

Thanks,
Ender

jami
05-18-2007, 10:22 AM
the driver was way wrong. you especially belong on the street downtown, the only area where we're not also allowed on sidewalks.

bikes are legally the same as cars, with a few exceptions giving us *more* freedom than cars (such as passing on the right, carefully).

that driver was just making up laws to suit his opinion.

sorry you had that rough experience, but once you get the hang of it, biking downtown's not too bad. fourth is usually good (the lights are pretty nicely timed for my cautious bike speed), but as you learned the hard way, you do have to really keep your eye on the parked cars, as well as people turning right onto fourth and people coming out of parking garages.

tao
05-18-2007, 03:13 PM
I agree with jami regarding the fourth. One time, a pickup cut me off turning right to the middle lane of the fourth then turn into the garage right away. I was traveling around 20mph (downhill) and I had to brake hard. I endo-ed, but luckily I landed on my feet instead of my head.

Just be careful, some drivers never pay any attention to the bikes. One more thing, never trust the drivers will use the signal lights for turning and changing lanes.

Hope you enjoy your bike commuting. I, too, re-start bike commuting recently after 18 month of slacking.

fetishridr
05-22-2007, 04:20 PM
when anyone cuts me off they get a hard knock on their car to know that i am there. given with the right timing it sounds like a F%*& you!!!! to the driver.

it is safer to travel faster than the car traffic, you can more easily avoid collisons. if you can ride that fast, do it. Use the whole lane also, unless you are going to ride the lines (which is illegal). People can see better when you occupy the whole lane.

Simple Nature
05-22-2007, 06:26 PM
You know that it was extremely unfortunate that the spiked bar end on my handle bars came in contact with the idiot in the Beamer... for the whole length of the car, no less. I tried to tell him he was driving WAY to close to my bike! Shucks...

vseven
05-22-2007, 07:27 PM
Another biker told me recently that on one side of the river you may legally use the sidewalks if on a bike. On the other side it is not permitted, is this true ?

norse rider
05-22-2007, 07:45 PM
when anyone cuts me off they get a hard knock on their car to know that i am there. given with the right timing it sounds like a F%*& you!!!! to the driver.

it is safer to travel faster than the car traffic, you can more easily avoid collisons. if you can ride that fast, do it. Use the whole lane also, unless you are going to ride the lines (which is illegal). People can see better when you occupy the whole lane.

Hell yeah, take the whole lane.

Jakelin
05-22-2007, 09:31 PM
Another biker told me recently that on one side of the river you may legally use the sidewalks if on a bike. On the other side it is not permitted, is this true ?

There are restrictions in downtown proper...I was looking for the exact streets but can't find the info. I thought I had it saved somewhere. Hopefully someone else has it handy.

BillD
05-23-2007, 06:23 AM
City of Portland title 16

16.70.320 Operating Rules

No person may:
............
........
E. ride a bicycle on a sidewalk, unless avoiding a traffic hazard in the immediate area, within the area bounded by and including SW Jefferson, Front Avenue, NW Hoyt and 13th Avenue, except:

1. on sidewalks designated as bike lanes or paths;

2. on the ramps or approaches to any Willamette River Bridge; or

3. in the area from the west property line of SW Ninth Avenue, to the east property line of SW Park Avenue; from the property line of SW Jefferson to the south property line of SW Salmon Street; commonly known as the South Park Blocks.

4. for police or special officers operating a bicycle in the course and scope of their duties; or

5. for employees of the Association for Portland Progress and companies providing security services operating a bicycle in the course and scope of their duties. These employees must have in possession an identification card issued by the Chief of Police certifying the rider has completed a training course in the use of a bicycle for security patrol.
..............
...........

Simple Nature
05-23-2007, 09:37 AM
Now that's clear as mud, don't you think?

BillD
05-23-2007, 10:48 AM
Now that's clear as mud, don't you think?

It defines the precise boundaries of the area where riding on the sidewalk is not allowed, what the exceptions are and who is not affected. What more do you need?

Simple Nature
05-23-2007, 11:03 AM
Sorry, I was more referring to every cyclist in Portland being aware of this law. It seems easier if specific locations were simply posted with a sign rather than obscurely hiding ordinances only to be found when a officer of the law would like to conveniently use one on your really bad day. It all feeds the "We got you if we want you" part of law enforcement. It all feeds the "police State" policy. OKay, maybe just one more nail in the coffin, but a nail non the less.

BillD
05-23-2007, 12:31 PM
I found it on a web page titled "Bikes & the Law" (http://www.portlandonline.com/transportation/index.cfm?&c=34814), published by the Portland Department of Transportation (a wholly owned subsidiary of the Police State).

Your tax dollars (but not mine) at work. :rolleyes:

jami
05-24-2007, 05:50 PM
i think the law was clear (and helpful! thanks, billd!). but if you don't know downtown geography, maybe it's not so clear. to re-phrase it, you have to ride on the street in a long rectangle whose four sides are formed by front avenue, nw hoyt, 13th avenue, and sw jefferson.

the important exceptions are the riverfront path and the park blocks near psu.

Matt P.
06-01-2007, 09:06 AM
Now that's clear as mud, don't you think?

In layman's terms:

SW Jefferson, Front Avenue, NW Hoyt and 13th Avenue are the boundaries. IF you're in that rectangle, don't ride on the sidewalk unless you like to be ticketed and fined.

Exceptions:
1. You're in the south park blocks
2. You're on an approach ramp for the Burnside, Morrison or Hawthorne bridges (at the moment, Morrison is sidewalk-only for bikes)
3. You're an on-duty cop
4. You're an on-duty security guy with a permit

Matt P.
06-01-2007, 09:09 AM
i think the law was clear (and helpful! thanks, billd!). but if you don't know downtown geography, maybe it's not so clear. to re-phrase it, you have to ride on the street in a long rectangle whose four sides are formed by front avenue, nw hoyt, 13th avenue, and sw jefferson.

the important exceptions are the riverfront path and the park blocks near psu.

I know this is overly nit-picky (sorry), but the riverfront path is not an exception. It's outside the rectangle, which ends at Front (Naito)