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“Father of the Bicycle Bill” passes away

Posted by on October 20th, 2005 at 8:36 pm

[Update: Obituary published in local newspaper.]

I just got word that Don Stathos has passed away. Back in 1971, Stathos introduced the Bicycle Bill into the state legislature. The bill demanded that a minimum of 1 percent of highway construction funds went to building bike paths on newly built and reconstructed roads. At the time this concept of committing public money to bike lanes was revolutionary. In 2001 the BTA awarded Don with the Bud Clark Lifetime Achievement Award for his dedication to cyclists.

Stathos believed the role of government was to improve the quality of life for citizens-including preserving our option to walk or bike. Narrow roads without shoulders or sidewalks took away that choice. His bill passed into law as ORS 366.514.

Here are a few quotes attributed to Don Stathos:

“If you wanted to do something you were going to drive, not necessarily because you were lazy; but because there were no other options.”

“We’ve constructed this nation so that it’s impossible to stay in good physical shape, that’s a sad commentary on the richest nation in the world.”

Everyone who rides a bike in Portland enjoys the legacy of Don Stathos’ vision. Thank you Don.

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2 Comment authors » Blog Archive » Noted lawyer to form Bicycle Bill watchdog groupJessica RobertsJessica RobertsDave Recent comment authors
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Those of us who have been cycling around Oregon for 35 years are amazed at the progress cyclists and cycling have made thanks to people like Don Stathos and many others. Fortunately there are lots of cyclists (many of whom contribute here) that aren’t about to let us old-timers get complacent. There is still lots of work to do.

Jessica Roberts

He was a Republican legislator who introduced the bill because his two young daughters couldn’t safely bike less than a mile to school. He was a visionary and a wonderful, warm man who believed in the power of bicycling to make peoples’ lives better. I’m glad I got the chance to meet him and thank him for what he did. Oregon would be a different, worse place for bicyclists without his work.

Jessica Roberts
Jessica Roberts

We at the BTA will be sending a condolence card to Don’s family. If anyone would like to send one as well, you can send it to us and we’ll forward it:

Family of Don Stathos
c/o Bicycle Transportation Alliance
PO Box 9072
Portland, OR 97207
Attn: Jessica


[…] Lawyer Ray Thomas, of the Portland-based Swanson, Thomas and Coon law firm has announced a new initiative. He plans to form a legal team to scrutinize the Bicycle Bill to make sure that a “fair share” of state highway construction funds are going toward bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. The bill (ORS 366.514), which was championed and made into law by the late Don Stathos in 1971, says that: “in any given fiscal year, the amounts expended to provide walkways and bikeways must be a minimum of 1% of the state highway fund received by the Department, a city or county.” […]