View Full Version : bike lanes - advice needed

03-10-2006, 07:25 PM

Can you advise me about cars crossing in to bike lanes or bikes yielding to cars crossing bike lanes?

I was in a bike lane, about a car's length behind one of a stream of cars signaling right. This was on Everett at 17th, usually all the cars are heading onto the highway. The one car, that was turning in to a parking lot abt 15 feet before the highway, didn't see me in his right rear view mirror.

Now I have a broken thumb and am losing income because my employers will not let me work.

I will likely need to seek compensatory damages, have kids to support and can't afford to lose income, so am trying to be as clear as possible about the rules of the road.

Scott Bricker
03-14-2006, 08:34 AM
If you are in a bike lane you have the right of way. A car that turned in front of you, even as you are approaching from the rear, should be found at fault. You should consider following up on your crash.

Note - I am not a lawyer, so this is not legal advice.

03-14-2006, 09:05 PM
thanks a lot. found some similar info on bta's web site and at ray thomas's law firm's web site. i really appreciate the answer. portland really is the best city i've ever lived in for biking. but i do think i'm going to nag more riders to wear helmets. the guy who hit me was only going 3 mph and i got broken (without my helmet i wonder what else wd have gone besides my finger)

03-31-2006, 04:43 PM
I ride the bike lanes a lot on NE Broadway (read the close call I posted and you'll see how nutty they can get), and I've found some rules of thumb that help there (and in other bike lanes around town).

1 - Be aware of cars in front of you and behind you, and not just the ones within two feet. I can't count the number of times that I've almost gotten hit because some nut didn't bother looking to their right for my bike, or when some jackass zips ahead and cuts me off to enter the am-pm parking lot.

2 - Keep your brakes handy. If you hit the lights right, even on a bike you can cruise most of lower broadway without braking, but probably two days out of five, somebody does something where I have to stop. My brakes are crappy, so if I'm not ready (meaning with my fingers on the brake lever) I'd get hit.

3 - Know the rules. The oregon driver's manual actually has good info about what the rules of riding in and driving next to bike lanes are. Knowing what you and the drivers are and aren't allowed to do helps you know when to get pissed off and when to let it go. You can also download the full statute with more rules than you knew existed.

Hope you get better, but glad you're not hurt worse.

Happy biking!

04-01-2006, 05:51 AM
Thanks a lot for the advice.

I agree with all you said. It's funny i would have really considered myself a careful biker up until I got hit. It may be that I am (but that's a queasy sort of debate to follow).

Another thing I have done that feels useful is making eye contact with drivers at a stop. When I use the bike lane down 13th avenue towards Glisan there's a right turn across the bike lane. Almost every night drivers skip into the bike lane to make that turn. I always make sure I catch their eye.

I think now I'll probably also bump up my visibility a notch (aside from lights and reflectors - I had a minimum so I'll get more (though I was hit during the day) I may get one of those dayglo jackets I've been avoiding.

04-01-2006, 07:47 PM
Just don't be one of the chuckleheads I see riding around at 2am with no lights, all dressed in black with their hood up.

04-06-2006, 12:25 PM
midenka, you definitely had the right of way. it's important to get this reported to the police soon, if you need a decent chunk of money to get you through the next several weeks until your thumb heals. the person who hit you may be very nice and very sorry, but they probably don't have the money to pay your lost wages. their insurance company needs to be involved, and thus, unfortunately, so do the police.

as for riding a bike safely, you're right that even in a bike lane in portland, it's good to assume cars don't see you until you make eye contact.

i hope you're good as new soon!

04-06-2006, 05:04 PM
so far so good, the driver's insurance company told my insurance co. they were accepting fault - so i am lucky - hopefully. I also contacted a lawyer because, hell, it sucked away all my personal time at work (which I need to save carefully for my kids)

I am trepidatious about riding again, but it'd be bad to be ruled by that. Am thinking of upping my visibility by putting a lot of jingly bells on my bike. Drivers wouldn't hear, but pedestrians would probably turn to look (and since I'm downtown alot that could help alert drivers).

Back in NYC there was an old man named Adam Purple who rode through the city often on a purple bike with about 20 bells he would shake every once in a while.

But I never saw anyone on a doubledecker bike like here:)

organic brian
04-25-2006, 01:04 PM
The statutes for Oregon are easy to find with an Internet search, you should never have to post to a foum to find out about a law. These are things every cyclist should know, especially in the case of a collision. Educate motorists when you see them breaking the law, many don't realize that many times the cyclist has the right of way.

Here is a document summarizing the statutes related to cyclists and pedestrians:

Here is where all of the statutes for Oregon can be found:

The bit about bike lanes:

811.050 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.
(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]

811.440 When motor vehicles may operate on bicycle lane. This section provides exemptions from the prohibitions under ORS 811.435 and 814.210 against operating motor vehicles on bicycle lanes and paths. The following vehicles are not subject to ORS 811.435 and 814.210 under the circumstances described:
(1) A person may operate a moped on a bicycle lane that is immediately adjacent to the roadway only while the moped is being exclusively powered by human power.
(2) A person may operate a motor vehicle upon a bicycle lane when:
(a) Making a turn;
(b) Entering or leaving an alley, private road or driveway; or
(c) Required in the course of official duty.
(3) An implement of husbandry may momentarily cross into a bicycle lane to permit other vehicles to overtake and pass the implement of husbandry.
(4) A person may operate a motorized wheelchair on a bicycle lane or path.
(5) A person may operate a motor assisted scooter on a bicycle lane or path.
(6) A person may operate an electric personal assistive mobility device on a bicycle lane or path. [1983 c.338 645; 1991 c.417 1; 2001 c.749 24; 2003 c.341 8]

04-27-2006, 04:39 AM
thank you. it is great to see the actual statute and thank you for the link. someone had mentioned to me a few days ago that enforcement and ticketing are changing (for cars in bike lanes).

04-27-2006, 08:36 PM
The driver's insurance should be paying for your medical bills, your lost income, and any property damage you suffered, at a minimum. If they balk at paying, you need a lawyer, and then it's time to also ask for pain and suffering damages. Because they don't want to pay for your pain and suffering, they'll likely be glad to pay for your medical bills, lost income, and property damage.

This is in addition to any citizen-initiated proescution you might want to consider, because all that does is give the driver a conviction for a traffic violation. What you need most of all here is to be reimbursed for the out of pocket expenses you incurred as a result of this driver's carelessness. Be careful, because you'll be required to sign a release when you settle, saying that you have no further claims against the insured. That means that if you have future complications, you need to get reimbursed for them now, or forget about them later. A typical example is whiplash that shows up later, after a settlement has already been paid. In your case, it sounds like it's only your thumb, but just be aware of the consequences of settlement.

Good luck!

04-27-2006, 08:40 PM
One more thought-- If your helmet suffered an impact, which you implied in your post, get it replaced, because the rule is one impact only in a helmet's lifetime. If the helmet was damaged, the insurance company owes you a new helmet (because it's property damage).