oregon dmv

Chris Billman is the only Oregonian with a disabled parking decal for his bicycle

by on February 19th, 2018 at 3:04 pm

It’s not a bike, it’s a personal mobility device.
(Photos: Chris Billman)

61-year-old Forest Grove resident Chris Billman got a new lease on life when he discovered cycling.

He was born with scoliosis and suffers from a litany of degenerative issues including spinal stenosis and liver disease. He needs a cane to walk, and when he does, his legs can go numb.

But put his feet on pedals and everything changes.

Billman started riding years ago by putting upright “chopper” handlebars on a Schwinn 10-speed — a fine set-up for cruising around the neighborhood. Then in 2015 he invested in a recumbent and everything changed. “I was off and flying!” he told me during a phone call earlier this week in the voice of someone decades younger.

“They wanted to give me drugs, but the bicycle is better than opiates!”
— Chris Billman

“When I get on the bike I’m bent over like a pretzel,” he said. “But after I get on it my back is straight. If I can do that twice a week I’m in good shape. They wanted to give me drugs, but the bicycle is better than opiates!”

In fact they’re not just bicycles, they’re his personal mobility devices as defined by the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. Billman is currently the only Oregon resident with a disabled permit decal for his bicycle.
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Crashes are still accidents at the Oregon DMV

by on May 10th, 2016 at 1:40 pm

I was looking for the crash report form.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

As advocates and even the Associated Press move away from calling all traffic incidents “accidents” there’s one important state agency that shows no signs of ridding itself of the controversial word. And unfortunately it just so happens to be the one agency that every single licensed driver has contact with: the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles.

A few weeks ago I paid a visit to the DMV office in downtown Portland. As I walked in I noticed a wall rack full of forms and one of them stared back at me: “Accident Report” it read. It made my language and activism hairs stand on end. As many of you already know, there are a lot of reasons why the word “accident” should never be used in the context of vehicle interactions on streets. For starters, calling something an “accident” makes a huge assumption that the crash was unavoidable and unintentional. And if that isn’t reason enough, the term dismisses the pain of crash victims.

When I got home from the DMV I pulled up the DMV website and there was that word again, splashed all over the page. From local to regional to statewide government, I haven’t seen any transportation-related agency use the term “accident” so much. I had to ask the DMV about it.
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Did you know ODOT revises the driver’s manual every two years?

by on July 1st, 2015 at 9:17 am

Detail of Oregon Driver’s Manual.

We didn’t either.

Neither did Ray Thomas, the man who literally wrote the book on Oregon bike law (and has personally written and/or lobbied for many of them). Neither did Rob Sadowsky, the executive director of the largest bicycle advocacy organization in the state, or Noel Mickelberry, the leader of Oregon Walks.

“It caught us totally off guard,” Sadowsky shared with me this morning, “And it points to a lack of collaboration.”

This is a big deal because the 84-page Oregon Driver’s Manual impacts how people learn to behave on the road. It’s probably the one source of traffic law nearly every driver has consulted at least once and it’s used in court to justify behaviors both right and wrong. Making sure the driver’s manual presents information accurately and from a variety of perspectives — especially the most vulnerable road users — is a key component of the gradual march toward Vision Zero.[Read more…]