Sirens coming soon to police bicycles

On a bike-along in SE Precinct

File photo

As I reported yesterday, the fixed-gear brake bill is moving along nicely in Salem. What I didn’t mention was that an amendment has been added to the bill that will allow police bicycles to be equipped with a siren.

Here’s the deal. Existing Oregon statute (ORS 815.280(b)) states that,

“A person shall not install or use any siren or whistle upon a bicycle.”


This was problem for the Oregon Association Chiefs of Police because a police vehicle is not considered official unless it has a siren.

They want bicycles to be considered official police vehicles, so they worked to change the law. Since it’s a change to the bicycle equipment statute, they figured the fixed-gear bill was a good opportunity to do some legislative housekeeping.

The irony is that the fixed-gear bill, which came into being because of legal disagreements with police officers now has the support of a statewide police lobbying group.

The bill, with the siren amendment are expected to signed into law in the coming months.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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RyNO
RyNO
17 years ago

I cycle with a whistle always, mostly for
Dear Pedestrian, but also cars.
I dislike that my whistle is illegal,
it shouldn’t be so.
Anyway, the distinction of whether the cop
bike is an “official vehicle” or not seems
meaningless. A cop is riding it, right ?
Happy Day !!! Judge Mathis 1pm

Dabby
Dabby
17 years ago

Riding on the Shoulder’s of Giants…….

It appears the Portland Police have jumped on the bandwagon, and are taking a ride here along with those they created the problem around….

My worry would of course be that this addition might raise an eyebrow in legislation, and cause the ordinance change to undergo more scrutiny, when it ha been moving through in what seems to be an effective manner………

A lot of times it is the add on’s that kill legislation……….

Donna
Donna
17 years ago

I’m really happy to hear about the siren addition to police bikes. I like that idea far better than them yelling “Police!” really loud. (and I still can’t understand what they’re yelling) A siren is an unambiguous method of communication. Police need that no matter what method of transportation they are using.

Donna
Donna
17 years ago

Dabby, do you think this addition would be seen as a negative? Most lawmakers do not wish to be seen as “anti-police”, and it would seem that this is a small gesture that would make the police happy. I’m wondering if this add-on wouldn’t make the brake law more likely to pass.

Adams Carroll (News Intern)

from what I’ve heard from people close to this bill.. the siren amendment does nothing but help this bill’s chances.

ME
ME
17 years ago

what next, transporting arrestees in bike trailers? sounds kinda goofy to me.

revphil
17 years ago

next thing they will say you cant have bicycles with red and blue revolving lights!

craig
craig
17 years ago

what if the police could now use their sirens to pull over bicycles that had bells installed…couldn’t they ‘interpret’ a bell to be a siren or whistle? haha!

Wyatt
Wyatt
17 years ago

If I’m going down the Springwater Trail and I hear a siren behind me, I’m going to start cracking up.

Scott
Scott
17 years ago

Are they going to add a motor also? The only way they’re going to catch most PDX riders I see is with a Taser.

Steve
Steve
17 years ago

I can’t get the image of a bicycle cop, with siren wailing, pulling over an SUV out of my head. What a wonderful sight to see!

Todd Boulanger
Todd Boulanger
17 years ago

Don’t they also need flashing red and blue lights too … and at least 200 HP?

Michael
Michael
17 years ago

When I was a kid I used to clip playing cards to my spokes, then ride around making vocal siren sounds. I was ahead of my time.

PoPo
PoPo
17 years ago

A siren sounds heavy to me, and our bikes are already loaded down with too much stuff! Neither do I think a bike with a siren would cause people to pull over, as I believe most people would look around for the its origin, not see an emergency vehicle with four wheels, and just keep driving anyway. I can’t tell you how often I am driving a Crown Vic with lights and siren, trying to get through traffic, and people just keep driving along obliviously.

OK, though now that I consider it, I guess most people do responsibly pull to the right and stop, but just like everything, it’s that small percentage of folks who are unpredictable and/or oblivious who are frustrating and dangerous.

We do some traffic stops on bicycles, but it is more dangerous, with no steel cage to protect us from passing traffic or from potential angry people in the cars we stop.

PoPo
PoPo
17 years ago

So I guess what I’m saying is, even if this law passes, I doubt sirens are coming to Portland Police bicycles anytime soon.

Martha S.
Martha S.
16 years ago

Well, even if the sirens don\’t come to the bikes any time soon I\’m glad that there will be the option. I too would be delighted to see an SUV pulled over by a cycling cop.