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Salem Watch: Bike signal bill passes House committee

Posted by on May 2nd, 2011 at 12:06 pm

SB 130 would make these official.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Senate Bill 130 (text), which would add bicycle-only signals to Oregon’s list of traffic control devices, passed out of the House Committee on Transportation and Economic Development on Friday.

SB 130 passed the full Senate back in February and it’s now poised for a House vote and eventual passage into law.

Paul Mather, a highway division administrator for the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), testified on behalf of the bill on Friday. In response to a question from Committee Chair Rep. Cliff Bentz about what benefits the bill might have for automobile drivers, Mathers said,

“The benefits for the driver would be more predictability in intersections… By having a separated, dedicated signal, we’re able to stop the cyclists and have motorists move through the intersection without worrying about what cyclists may or may not be doing… and of course vice/versa.”

In addition to improved safety, having bicycle-only signals officially in state statute would make it easier (legally) for police officers to actually enforce violations of the signals (a $287 fine if you were wondering).

In addition to ODOT, SB 130 has strong backing from the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation.

SB 130 passed the Senate by a vote of 28-1. With no objections or serious concerns about the bill in House committee, it’s likely the bill will also pass the House.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Borgbike May 2, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    How about a little yellow trangular-shaped yield sign to be put under certain stop signs, allowing bicycles to yield at some intersections?

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    • are May 2, 2011 at 5:14 pm

      how about full scale yield signs at most of the neighborhood intersections that now have two-way stops

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  • Dave Thomson May 2, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    Jonathan, did you mean “poised for a House vote” in the second paragraph?

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  • Seeing Green May 3, 2011 at 11:20 am

    Do you know if Oregon is the only state to use bike-only traffic signals? Also, I wish the signals could be a bit larger. The bike is too small.

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    • Peter Koonce May 8, 2011 at 6:34 pm

      The state of California has used them and the indications are described in their Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices.

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  • keepontrekin May 3, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    Seriously? How much will this cost? How about bicyclists just obey traffic laws like were supposed to?!
    At least make the bike lights a triangular shape (so theyre different than normal traffic lights) and make them LED not halogen or incadescent.

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    • Peter Koonce May 8, 2011 at 6:37 pm

      The costs are fairly minor ($1,000-$5,000 depending on the situation) when you have an existing traffic signal.

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  • Hmmmm May 3, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    I think they are completely unnecessary. Total waste of taxpayer money. Wow.

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  • Jake May 4, 2011 at 7:19 am

    Melbourne, Australia has these and I love them. Makes riding in the city a bit safer for sure. Doesn’t stop me from rolling reds every once in a while (i.e. no traffic situations), but for the busy parts of town they’re a necessity.

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  • Tom May 4, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    Many places in Asia (China for instance) use a much simpler system with zero added infrastructure.

    Green: all vehicles go
    1st Yellow: prepare to stop all vehicles
    Red: All vehicles stop – bikes go to front, essentially like Portland’s bike boxes
    2nd Yellow: bikes only go, motor vehicles wait
    Green: all vehicles go

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