If you’re a low-car Portlander, you understand that driving around the city is often more trouble than it’s worth. You probably also find shared electric scooters to be a useful addition to the mobility mix. But where do these vehicles fit into the rules of the road?
Now there’s a handy new guide from a local law firm that lays it all out.
A bicycle rider was killed last year in the central Oregon city of Bend when he was involved in a collision with a FedEx truck operator. The collision was a right-hook that took place in an intersection.
The reason I’m sharing this story here and now is because of a Deschutes County Circuit Court ruling that was made in the case yesterday. Here’s the story from the Bend Bulletin (emphasis mine):
A Deschutes County Circuit Court judge on Tuesday ruled a cyclist hit and killed in an intersection by a FedEx truck did not have the protection of a bike lane.
FedEx driver Trenton Derek Sage was found not guilty of the violation of failing to yield to a rider in a bicycle lane. Last November, Sage hit and killed Bend man Jonathan Chase Adams, 31… The case had implications beyond the lives of Sage and Adams. Prosecutor Andrew Steiner said many people today do not treat bike lanes like vehicle lanes, though they are.
“This is cultural,” he said. “Many people just don’t think of them as lanes.”
Steiner attempted to make the case that bike lanes continue through intersections, citing Oregon Department of Transportation guidelines for road construction and recent court cases and legislation in Oregon.
But Tuesday afternoon, Adler announced he did not agree. He said he saw “no authority” to support the contention that bike lanes continue through intersections in Oregon.
Thankfully, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) acknowledged the outdated rules and the State Parks Commission recently approved new ones that explicitly permit e-bike use on their facilities.
Now it appears the City of Portland might have the same problem. [Read more…]
Electric scooters are hogging headlines right now; but e-bikes are Portland’s quiet transportation revolution. In the past few years the number of people riding with pedal-assisted motors has skyrocketed and local shops have seen a big increase in sales.
While e-bikes have carved out a safe space in Portland’s street culture, they — like their unmotorized brethren — still exist in somewhat of a legal Twilight Zone. Are they bicycles or “motorized vehicles”? Can they be ridden on sidewalks? Those are just some of the questions people often have about them.
A new legal guidebook by the law firm of Thomas, Coon, Newton & Frost aims to answer those questions.
Oregon E-Bike Rights: A Legal Guide for Electric Bike Riders was written by Ray Thomas, Cynthia Newton, Jim Coon, and Chris Thomas. You might recognize that first name as the lawyer behind Pedal Power: A Legal Guide for Oregon Bicyclists, which is now in its 10th printing and is widely considered Oregon’s bike law bible. Thomas and Newton are also BikePortland contributors (and the firm is a major supporter of bike advocacy in Portland, including a sponsor of our work).
TCNF’s 49-page guide is a comprehensive look at laws that govern the use of electric bikes in Oregon. In addition to a rundown of the relevant Oregon Revised Statutes, the guide also covers insurance policy questions, advocacy efforts to change existing e-bike laws and create better ones, and offers a resource guide if you want to probe further. [Read more…]
This is one of those things that’s not pleasant to think about, but important to know.
Bicycle riders and walkers who are involved in a collision with the driver of a motor vehicle often suffer serious injuries, requiring emergency medical care, surgery, hospitalization and short or long-term disability. Many Oregon drivers carry the minimal automobile insurance limits of $25,000. Serious injuries combined with this minimal amount of coverage combine to create a gap between the funds needed to pay medical expenses and to be fully compensated for lost income and non-economic damages. Put more simply: The injured’s damages exceed the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage.
As lawyers who work with bicycle riders, we see the consequences of this situation far too often. [Read more…]
Our legal contributor Ray Thomas is an author and lawyer based in Portland.
On October 1, 2017, Oregon’s new distracted driving law went into effect. The law has an expanded scope and raises the penalties for violations. Here are a few things every Oregon bicycle rider should know about it.
People who walk and bike know all too well the risks drivers pose as they stare into screens and attempt to drive around us. Since we are not encapsulated inside a steel compartment looking at the world through safety glass, we see the shocking number of people who try to maneuver their cars and trucks down the streets while completely tuned out to anything but what is on the screen in front of them.
Out of the thousands of bills swirling around the halls and meeting rooms of the state capitol building in Salem, there are few of particular importance to transportation reform advocates. Last week we shared the Senate bills we’re following and below are the House bills we’ve got an eye on…
House Bill 2355
Summary: “Directs Oregon Criminal Justice Commission to develop method for recording data concerning officer-initiated pedestrian and traffic stops” (Official overview) [Read more…]
I’ve combed through hundreds of bills to find ones that matter to people who care about transportation safety and the culture of our streets. Since there are so many bills I want to bring to your attention, I’ve decided to do this in two parts. First I’ll share a list of the Senate bills I’m following. Then in a separate post, I’ll share the House bills.
ODOT Director Matt Garrett (lower right) was in the house for today’s hearing. (Photo: Oregon Walks)
A bill that would establish an official State of Oregon Vision Zero Task Force got its first public hearing today. And it was heart-wrenching.
The eight members of the House Committee On Transportation Policy who presided over the hearing for House Bill 2667 probably didn’t expect the 8:00 am start time to attract testimony from nearly two-dozen people. And they probably didn’t expect to hear from people like Marina Hajek, the mother of a 10-year old boy who was hit and killed by a reckless, speeding driver while walking his bike across a street in Eugene 10 years ago. [Read more…]