disappearing bike lane case

Bill that clarifies existence of bike lanes through intersections passes committee

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on April 16th, 2019 at 11:20 am

The paint ends, the lanes don’t.

Despite confusion from some lawmakers that led to an unexpectedly lengthy discussion prior to the vote, House Bill 2682 passed the Joint Committee on Transportation yesterday by a tally of 7-3.

I’ve described this bill as a no-brainer; but because it involves bicycling, you just never know what some Oregon legislators will get hung up on. I was amazed at how much consternation and discussion this simple housekeeping bill received in committee yesterday.

“The attempt of this bill is to clarify longstanding practice and expectation.”
— Lindsay Baker, ODOT government relations

Let’s be clear: Since bike lanes have existed in Oregon, it has been understood — both by road users and the legal system — that they exist inside intersections even though they are not painted. Same for every other lane. Road authorities do not paint lane lines in intersections because with all the turning movements it would be a maintenance nightmare, dangerously confusing, and useless.

Out of hundreds, if not thousands, of court cases over the years, for some reason two Oregon traffic court judges — one in 2009, one in 2018 — took it upon themselves to decide that a bicycle user did not have the legal right-of-way in a collision because the lane wasn’t painted. Out of concern that these two outlier cases might start a trend, advocates proposed HB 2682. The text of the bill is short and simple. [Read more…]

Proposed bill would clarify definition of bike lanes in Oregon

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on December 19th, 2018 at 10:19 am

The legal protection doesn’t end where the striping does.

A local lawyer wants to amend an existing state law so that Oregon judges can no longer decide that a bicycle rider’s legal right-of-way disappears in an intersection.
[Read more…]

Bend judge rules bike lane does not continue through intersection

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on October 17th, 2018 at 11:15 am

Bend Bulletin story published yesterday.

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.

[Read more…]

Disappearing bike lane case settles out of court

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on May 18th, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Where the bike lane ends.

Remember the disappearing bike lane case? I’m happy to report that it reached a positive conclusion — at least in the civil case of Carmen Piekarski.

First, let’s go back to December 2009…

Piekarski was riding her bike eastbound on SE Hawthorne approaching SE 10th Ave. While in the intersection, the operator of a Toyota Prius, Ellen Metz, turned right and hit Piekarski. The right-hook collision resulted in several injuries for Piekarski and she spent months in physical therapy.[Read more…]

Traffic Division Captain weighs in on bike lane case

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on January 15th, 2010 at 2:36 pm

bike lane on vancouver-1

Despite appearances, that bike lane
continues through the intersection.
(Photo © J. Maus)

We’ve got more reaction and analysis on the infamous disappearing bike lane decision.

First, a quick review: Carmen Piekarski was right-hooked by a woman driving a car while biking through an intersection. Multnomah County Judge Pro Tem Michael Zusman ruled that the person driving was not guilty of “failure to yield to a bicyclist in a bike lane” because the paint striping of the bike lane was not present in the intersection where the collision occurred (therefore the victim was not “in the bike lane”). [Read more…]

Update on disappearing bike lane case: Judge, victim, lawyer respond

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on January 7th, 2010 at 12:21 pm

No paint, no (legal) protection?
(Photo © J. Maus)

When bike lane striping disappears through an intersection, does the legal standing of a person operating a bicycle in that lane also vanish?

Last month, Multnomah County traffic court judge Michael Zusman ruled that it does and the decision has left many people confused and concerned. We checked in with Zusman, the woman who was hit (City of Portland employee Carmen Piekarski), and a bike law expert to get an update.
[Read more…]

Judge: Woman hit in unpainted bike lane is not protected by law

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on December 18th, 2009 at 10:26 am

A Portland judge has ruled that when
bike lane striping vanishes, like in the
intersection of SE 10th and Hawthorne, so
does a rider’s legal protection.

When Portlander Rob Daray witnessed a right-hook collision on his commute home last summer he thought it was obvious who was at fault. So did the police officer who cited the operator of the motor vehicle for “failure to yield to a bicycle.” Even the woman driving the car admitted she made an abrupt right turn without checking her blind spots.

But when the case came up in traffic court, the judge came to a different conclusion and now Mr. Daray and others familiar with this are worried that people who ride bicycles are vulnerable — not just on the street, but in the legal system as well.[Read more…]