This week’s “Ask BikePortland” comes from Daniel Knutson. Mr. Knutson, 52, wrote in to express his frustrations at getting a ticket from a Portland Police Officer a few months ago for doing a “track stand” at a stop light.
On September 19th, Knutson says was riding home from work on East Burnside when he came to the intersection of 82nd. Like he always does, he balanced on his bike instead of putting his foot down. When the light changed, he rolled through the intersection and was pulled over by Officer Royce Curtiss.
According to Knutson, Curtiss was on the other side of the street, and, “When he saw me balancing on my bike, he assumed I was going into the intersection.”
Knutson tried to contest the ticket in traffic court, but the judge sided with Officer Curtiss and upheld the ticket. Knutson was fined $182 dollars (a reduction from the original fine of $242) for a violation of ORS 811.265 “Failure to obey a traffic control device.”
Knutson says he now puts his foot down at all stop signs and stop lights, because he can’t afford another ticket or blemish on his record. But he wants to know: “Is it against the law for me to balance on my bike at stops?”
The answer — despite this unfortunate experience with Officer Curtiss and the Multnomah County Traffic Court — is no.
Oregon law only requires that you cease forward motion. A few years back, I asked the former Commander of the Portland Police Traffic Division for his take on the question:
“Track stands are fine. The law requires the wheels to stop moving in order to be considered a stop. However, it’s very rare for a police officer to cite someone just because the wheels don’t “completely” cease movement.”
Rare, yes, but unfortunately it still happens.
What are your experiences with this issue? Have you ever been cited for doing a track stand at a stop light/stop sign?
— See previous “Ask BikePortland” articles here.