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Marijuana home delivery now a reality; but don’t expect it by bike

Posted by on February 10th, 2017 at 12:07 pm

Bicycle delivery

Why can’t bikes deliver marijuana?
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

When I saw a KGW report this morning about home delivery of recreational marijuana, my first thought was: “I wonder if they could that by bike?”

After all, marijuana is big business in Portland and local companies deliver all sorts of things by bike. With companies like B-Line Urban Delivery, Go Box (pictured above), and Portland Pedal Power, Portland is on the cutting edge of using bicycles for delivery.

Marijuana by bike in Portland should be a no-brainer. At least that’s what I thought.

My curiousity led me to call Aleeya Kim, owner of La Cannaisseur in Linnton (whose shop was profiled in the KGW story). I asked Kim about bike delivery and she referred me to the official Oregon Liquor Control Commission rules they have to follow in order to keep their license.

The first rules I found were temporary rules adopted in October 2015. Those rules didn’t include any specific language that would prevent the use of a bicycle for marijuana delivery. That’s because whenever the language referred to the delivery vehicle, it didn’t include the word “motor.” And in Oregon law, “When the term ‘vehicle’ is used the term shall be deemed to be applicable to bicycles.”

Great! I thought. Let the bike deliveries begin!

But I wanted to confirm my findings with the OLCC. I called their public affairs manager Mark Pettinger. Pettinger informed me that the rules from 2015 had been revised and were no longer valid.

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Where the initial rules referred only to “vehicle,” the final rules (PDF) — in the chapter titled “Delivery of Marijuana Items by Retailer” — do include the term “motor vehicle”.

Here’s the relevant passage of Oregon Administrative Rule 845-025-2880 (emphases mine):

(b) The marijuana retailer may only deliver in a motor vehicle to the individual who placed the bona fide order and only to individuals who are 21 years of age or older.

(h) All marijuana items must be kept in a lock-box securely affixed inside the delivery motor vehicle.

Beyond the “motor” part, there is nothing in the OAR that would prevent a bicycle from being used as a marijuana delivery vehicle. In Oregon, even if a law includes the term “motor vehicle” it still applies to bicycles unless the law specifically states that bicycles are excluded (or if the law is obviously not applicable).

But here’s the catch: OAR and ORS and not the same thing. While the ORS are state statutes passed by the legislature, OARs are created and adopted by agencies (the OLCC in this case). Therefore it seems likely that the OLCC specifically added “motor” to the rules so that bicycles couldn’t be used to make home deliveries of marijuana.

So the question remains: Why would the OLCC want to make sure bicycles couldn’t be used to deliver marijuana? We don’t know the answer to that yet, but it might be interesting to find out.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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82 Comments
  • Hello, Kitty
    Hello, Kitty February 10, 2017 at 12:17 pm

    I’m not super worked up over home pot delivery, but I have to say these rules are BS. If you can deliver by car, you should be able to deliver by bike. I can’t imagine anyone here would disagree.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 10, 2017 at 12:25 pm

      I agree. I can’t think of any solid reason why bicycles shouldn’t be used if motor vehicles — which could include motorcycles — can be used

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      • Pete February 10, 2017 at 5:08 pm

        Interesting article. One thing to consider is pot is still a cash business – a fairly profitable one at that. Pot shops have been having significant crime/safety issues because of this, and I’d bet any home delivery operation is cash & carry. Until the fed recognizes them as legit business, they will not (legitimately) be able to do online transactions, which would make bike delivery so much easier (and safer).

        Oh, I see other comments beat me to this subject. The cash is much more attractive than the pot… we’re talking about an armored car collection without the armor.

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        • JJ February 11, 2017 at 6:05 am

          Pete…have they really or are you just citing fake news? Are crime rates really soaring or is this just hysteria and overall crime rates growing?

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty February 11, 2017 at 10:11 am

            Crime rates have soared to historic lows.

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          • Pete February 11, 2017 at 10:26 am

            I didn’t cite any news, but of the local pot robbery stories that I’ve read, owners repeatedly cite the problem as being forced to be a cash business due to pot not being fully legalized. Have you ever been to a dispensary where you don’t have to be buzzed in behind a security door, then your identity is recorded during purchase? How many jewelry stores do you know of that do this too?

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            • BB February 13, 2017 at 9:53 am

              Is that really what buying pot in Oregon is like? I’ve only used Washington pot stores and it’s similar to going to a bar – id check, no buzz-in.

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      • Steve Scarich February 10, 2017 at 5:26 pm

        One reason would be the ease at which a thief could rob a bicycle vs a car.

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        • Spiffy February 13, 2017 at 7:25 am

          neither vehicle is faster than a bullet…

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  • Allan Rudwick February 10, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    Just use an e bike. Powerful ones are legally motor vehicles of I remember correctly

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 10, 2017 at 12:26 pm

      electric bikes are still considered bicycles in OR law… And if the motor gets too powerful and uses a throttle, well then it becomes a moped/motorcycle.

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      • Justin M February 10, 2017 at 1:58 pm

        There you go then! Once it becomes a moped it’s a motor vehicle. Let’s talk business plans. I’m thinking we call ourselves Potcycles. Like popsicles, yeah?

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        • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 10, 2017 at 2:25 pm

          no thanks.. if it’s a moped, i’m not interested.

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          • Justin M February 10, 2017 at 2:35 pm

            Yeah, but once you stick a cargo box on the back and have to take it up the west hills tho… Pedal power alone probably just isn’t going to cut it. At that point, a thousand watt motor is going to be a welcome piece of gear.

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          • ? February 10, 2017 at 10:03 pm

            In the war against cars, isn’t a moped better than a bike? The vast majority of bike issues seem to be about getting hit by cars, and in this sense, mopeds seem more friend than enemy, no?

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            • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 10, 2017 at 10:06 pm

              Oh definitely more friend than enemy. I didn’t say anything about an enemy. I just said I’m not really interested in them.

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              • ? February 11, 2017 at 10:32 am

                True, didn’t mean to put words in your mouth 🙂

                I suppose I’m interested in promoting anything not-Car, including transit, moped, or even motorcycle. Really wish we had an streetsblog.org-style website though…

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 10, 2017 at 2:10 pm

      but the powerful ones that are considered motor vehicles are not bicycles — and that’s the whole point imo.

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  • Brian February 10, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    Asinine.

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  • Anthony February 10, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    “So the question remains: Why would the OLCC want to make sure bicycles couldn’t be used to deliver marijuana? We don’t know the answer to that yet, but it might be interesting to find out.”

    I’m guessing it might be because of this: “(h) All marijuana items must be kept in a lock-box securely affixed inside the delivery motor vehicle.”

    They’re trying to reduce the likelihood of theft if delivered by bicycle.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 10, 2017 at 12:38 pm

      I thought immediately about the theft issue as well Anthony. But that shouldn’t make bicycles unable to be delivery vehicles. There are plenty of ways to put items into a lock-box and make them secure on a bike. It’s unacceptably paternalistic IMO for a government agency to decide that people using a bicycle are somehow more vulnerable to theft of their possessions than people using a motorcycle or a car. And if that is the reason they did it – and I would not be surprised if it was – I’d like to verify that and ask them to explain it further if necessary.

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      • Gary B February 10, 2017 at 2:25 pm

        Theft is the only concern I can think of, and I don’t think it’s that unreasonable. It *can* be locked securely to a bike, but I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to think in many cases it might not be. I’d say as a general going-in assumption, most people would feel they’re property would more likely remain secure inside a locked car then attached to their bike when they walk away from it. Perhaps OLCC just didn’t have the creativity or experience to write rules that’d make it similarly safe in a bike, even though it can be done (they’d have to address locking the bike, securing the box to the bike, and the box itself).

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      • Ryan February 10, 2017 at 3:17 pm

        I’m guessing they might be thinking of the possibility of stealing the bike itself. It would be more difficult for a casual, opportunistic thief to break into a car and then break into a lockbox then it would be to just cut off a lock, take the bike, and break into the lockbox once they’ve gotten away. Of course, this all assumes that the delivery person stopped somewhere on the way to a delivery, which isn’t very likely I’d think. Unless they’re making multiple deliveries per trip, but even then, with a bike you could probably take it all the way to the person’s door and not need to leave it parked somewhere.

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      • Bicylist Mama Carie February 10, 2017 at 4:46 pm

        My first thought to both ideas is “no Officer, I’m a pot delivery cyclist for X company, not selling my own joints!”

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      • Steve Scarich February 10, 2017 at 5:28 pm

        Why is it paternalistic? It is common sense. Knock a cyclist over, steal his stuff. In order to rob a car, you have to somehow gain entry into the vehicle. Jonathan, you’re not being logical.

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        • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 10, 2017 at 10:08 pm

          They could knock over a motorcycle too. Motorcycle is a “motor vehicle”

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        • q February 10, 2017 at 10:20 pm

          It doesn’t seem like it would be any harder to knock a driver over when he’s getting out of his car than to knock a cyclist over. For that matter, it seems like just going directly into a shop and robbing it would be that much harder than either of those.

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    • COLTON February 10, 2017 at 2:59 pm

      Fancy lot of good a lockbox on a bike is when the bikes keep getting stolen.

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  • Josh G February 10, 2017 at 12:46 pm

    On this http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Maintenance very well done show, the (blackmarket) bike weed man keeps his stash in a light safe box in his backpack.

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  • Bill Cinton's Ghost February 10, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    I really don’t care for the fact that they treat us so much like cars. I don’t have a licence, and I went to get it back this year, and it turns out a red light violation on my bike has my privileges to drive suspended, despite giving a state ID to the cop.

    I don’t break the rules in a car, its a weapon. On my bike, yeah I run a lot of lights and generally take my life into my own hands. They are not the same thing!

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    • dan February 10, 2017 at 1:53 pm

      haha, that has happened to me in the past too. I was pissed but in the end there’s not a lot of options — I had to cough up to get a driver’s license. Nice to know that someone shares my pain. It’s true they would never do that for, say, jaywalking.

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    • Buzz February 10, 2017 at 2:41 pm

      IIRC, traffic violations on a bicycle don’t count against your motor vehicle driving record in Oregon, so it would seem the DMV is messing with you.

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      • Bill Cinton's Ghost February 10, 2017 at 4:32 pm

        That’s just not the case. They put a hold on my old New England Licence.

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    • BB February 10, 2017 at 3:58 pm

      Last time I got pulled over on my bike the cop griped at me for not having a drivers license. I didn’t have a dozen roses either and they were just as relevant to the situation but that fact wasn’t brought up at all.

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      • Dan A February 10, 2017 at 4:13 pm

        But did you have a boaters license or a library card?

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        • BB February 13, 2017 at 9:47 am

          I don’t drive boats or go to the library- I have a legal state identification card.

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          • Dan A February 13, 2017 at 2:57 pm

            Hmm, sounds fishy. What about a Costco card? We need to prove that you are a consumer.

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      • Pete February 11, 2017 at 10:43 am

        I was griped at by a cop for carrying a laminated copy of my driver’s license (with my insurance information on the back of it) in my bike wallet. When I presented it, he said, “This isn’t a real driver’s license!”. I replied, “I never said it was – you asked for identification, and this contains enough identity for multi-factor authentication.” Photograph, name, and birthday should certainly be enough, as well license (or passport) number.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty February 11, 2017 at 10:44 am

          I hope you don’t lose your wallet.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty February 11, 2017 at 10:45 am

            I misread — I thought you were carrying a lot more personal info on your sheet than you actually stated.

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            • Pete February 12, 2017 at 10:54 am

              I photocopied the license, wrote car insurance info on the back, and laminated it. I keep a second credit card and some cash hidden in that bike wallet too (plus a photo of my Mom laminated with a four-leaf-clover my Dad gave me). I wear Road ID for ICE info, though should get it updated with the pass code for the new iPhone work forced on me. The work backpack with the laptop and passport in it is what would screw me if lost or stolen, though!

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          • Pete February 12, 2017 at 10:59 am
  • TonyH February 10, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    I’ve idly thought of doing just this. I have to observe, though, the security issue could be huge. People rob dispensaries. Being on a bike against determined armed thieves, isn’t an enviable position.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 10, 2017 at 2:10 pm

      I just don’t buy the argument that being on a bike is less secure – in this context – than being in a car. In some ways, a bicycle user is way more maneuverable and able to escape an attacker than a car user is. Beyond that, I just think it’s interesting if a gov’t agency gets to decide for the public about this issue of relative personal safety of different vehicles. Shouldn’t that be up to a retailer to decide? If they are concerned about safety, are they requiring the retailers to have specific types of motor vehicles that will maintained to a certain level of safety? What if a retailer decided to deliver with a convertible? Or a motorcycle? Is a motorcycle more secure from theft than a bicycle?

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    • Justin M February 10, 2017 at 2:38 pm

      Put a gun rack on the front of the cargo box and have someone riding shotgun like an old stagecoach. But with them both pedaling. They can use whatever technology makes those bike bus things work. Might need a bigger bike lane tho.

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      • Spiffy February 13, 2017 at 7:48 am

        those pedal buses aren’t technically bicycles because they have more than 3 wheels…

        ORS 801.150

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        • q February 13, 2017 at 11:13 am

          Plus it’s a bus as well as a bike, so the question becomes, “Cannabus deliver cannabis?”

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          • Justin M February 17, 2017 at 11:13 am

            oh my god. this is perfect

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    • Buzz February 10, 2017 at 2:43 pm

      Only if you put a giant sign on your bike that says ‘Cannabis Delivery’. Otherwise, who’s to know what you’re doing on your bike?

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  • Eric Leifsdad February 10, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    Bicycles are just too subversive and hard to control. They nearly run over people in crosswalks all the time, almost crashing and just about spilling everything aboard. We can’t have marijuana not quite scattered all over the pavement.

    They were probably trying to write “car or truck, which is not a ragtop convertible” or something that would fit their assumptions, when what they should have done is state a performance requirement of the necessary security/containment/durability. Essentially, they are requiring a barrier of picking or breaking two locks before making a getaway, possibly with an alarm on the first. They may incorrectly be assuming that this phrasing specifies a vehicle which cannot be quickly lifted and trucked away.

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  • bikeninja February 10, 2017 at 1:42 pm

    Its obvious, the weed thieve gangs could just run over the bicycle pot delivery folk in their cars and claim the sun was in their eyes. Then as long as they scooped up all the pot before the cops arrived and stayed on the scene they would not face any charges. So it would make violent hijacking of pot in transit much too easy and almost legal.

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    • Maxadders February 10, 2017 at 4:32 pm

      Pizza delivery drivers get robbed and assaulted and I don’t see anyone arguing for Domino’s to buy a fleet of armored trucks. Where does the paranoia end?

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      • Pete February 10, 2017 at 5:44 pm

        What they don’t show you are the rocket launchers and bulletproof glass:
        http://www.dominosdxp.com

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        • Spiffy February 13, 2017 at 7:52 am

          their delivery vehicle has the pizza door on the wrong side… it shouldn’t be on the traffic side, it should be on the curb side…

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  • Jolly Dodger February 10, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    Company of origin liability issue? The new ‘delivery services’ will need to serve multiple dispensaries…If a scofflaw cyclist cannabis courier hits a pedestrian, they’d need special insurance. Drivers would have their obligatory coverage, just to get hired.

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    • Dan A February 10, 2017 at 2:40 pm

      What’s to stop a driver from letting their insurance lapse after being hired, or continuing to drive after their license has been suspended?

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    • Spiffy February 13, 2017 at 7:57 am

      special insurance? it’d be the same insurance any company would be using to insure bikes, such that B-Line uses…

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  • Chris I February 10, 2017 at 2:18 pm

    Is this a Portlandia episode?

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    • Lester Burnham February 10, 2017 at 2:33 pm

      Weed is safe.

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  • Justin M February 10, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    I imagine they’d have to have non-stoner riders anyway. Cuz lung capacity. Or at least they would need asthma inhalers.

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    • Dan A February 10, 2017 at 4:13 pm

      Does vaping or ingesting affect lung capacity?

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      • Justin M February 10, 2017 at 5:30 pm

        I think vaping does, but not as much as smoking. I do some vaping between terms sometimes and it definitely makes me a little wheezier. Ingesting is probably fine?

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    • BB February 13, 2017 at 9:50 am

      I smoke hashish every day and ride 200 miles a week, doesn’t seem to be creating a huge issue. I don’t deliveryboy tho..

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  • Evan February 10, 2017 at 4:56 pm

    These rules would seem to imply that you can’t deliver by foot, either. When delivering by motor vehicle, how far can you walk from the vehicle to complete delivery? If you’re delivering to multiple locations within a building, are you required to return to the vehicle between deliveries?

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    • Mark smith February 10, 2017 at 5:48 pm

      You got to simply have your customer come to the curb. Like the old days.

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    • q February 10, 2017 at 9:21 pm

      Exactly. Every motor vehicle delivery starts with carrying the product to the vehicle on foot, and ends with taking it out of the vehicle and walking with it to the buyer.

      So why is on-foot delivery also banned? And what about a downtown store, that might have many delivery customers within walking distance? It might be a shorter walk from the store to the buyer than from wherever the vehicle is able to be parked to the buyer. Then the delivery person has just left his car with all his yet-to-be-delivered product unattended, unless he brings all the product with him while he walks from the car to the buyer.

      As it stands, it would be legal to have an order delivered by car from a store 10 miles away, with the car parking 10 blocks from the buyer, but it would be illegal to order from the store a block away, and have the delivery walked one block, at least as I understand.

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  • Mark smith February 10, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    Why? Because the olcc came up with it. It’s like the auto industry writing their own laws.

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  • q February 10, 2017 at 9:23 pm

    Doobious.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu February 10, 2017 at 9:32 pm

    “In Oregon, even if a law includes the term “motor vehicle” it still applies to bicycles unless the law specifically states that bicycles are excluded (or if the law is obviously not applicable).”

    How sure are you of this statement? The cited source refers only to the Vehicle Code, which is only a subset of Oregon law.

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    • Spiffy February 13, 2017 at 8:10 am

      I’m also at odds with this… and the linked article doesn’t back it up… so many things wrong with that court case…

      since when is a MUP a bike lane?

      and how can the judge say that laws using the term “motor vehicle” apply to bikes when laws that can’t be applied to bikes can’t be enforced? the language in ORS is crafted to not be sloppy. They use “vehicle” when they mean all vehicles, and they use “motor vehicle” when they mean motorized vehicles only…

      the article mentions engine braking as an example that can’t be applied to bicycles… I say it can if you count exhaling forward as engine braking… but who would? the same person that would call a bicycle a motor vehicle…

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    • Spiffy February 13, 2017 at 8:11 am

      also, that’s a 15 year old ruling… we’re much better as separating bike and motor vehicles these days… wonder if it would still stand with today’s arguments…

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  • Tim February 11, 2017 at 3:37 pm

    I’ve known of marijuana delivery by bicycle for 30+ years We gave up a lot just for it to become legal(just for others to get their fingers in the pie). Too many rules around it, I’ll take chances with the old players who stay under the radar…

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    • X February 13, 2017 at 10:05 am

      This. Obviously! The real question is, how much mark-up is in the price, and who gets it?

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  • dan February 12, 2017 at 7:09 am

    The discussion around this feels a little bit like taking our eyes off the ball. It’s interesting, but in the larger scheme, not really an important piece of our transportation policy as it relates to bikes. Also, why can’t I get booze delivered? 🙂

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    • q February 12, 2017 at 1:44 pm

      I agree the delivery ban itself isn’t a huge issue, but on the other hand, it could be a great example of what’s wrong in the larger scheme, if the ban came as a result of sloppy or dismissive thinking about bikes.

      It’s one thing if the ban was a result of careful consideration of why bike delivery wouldn’t be safe or practical, but motor vehicle delivery would. It’s another if bike delivery was dismissed without any careful consideration.

      I’m not even convinced that the ban was intentional. I could see someone writing the administrative rules thinking “motor vehicle” and “vehicle” meant the same thing, and never realized bikes weren’t already banned by the state law, so didn’t realize adding “motor” changed anything.

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    • Spiffy February 13, 2017 at 8:14 am

      you can get wine delivered… but not hard liquor…

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty February 13, 2017 at 2:06 pm

        But, for the love of god, can you get beer?!?

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  • Dan A February 13, 2017 at 9:40 am

    Motor vehicle operators are responsible adults. People who ride bikes are kids or delinquents.

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    • X February 13, 2017 at 10:06 am

      Love your avatar!

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    • q February 13, 2017 at 10:38 am

      I could actually see that thinking going into the bike-ban decision.

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  • Josh G February 14, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    Is this really prohibiting bicycle delivery? Or was this just the usual case of bicycles being forgotten about and overlooked?

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