It’s important to know your legal rights (and duties) when bicycling in Oregon. It is especially important after a bicycle accident (we call them bicycle “crashes” and explain why here).
For any questions about the State’s bike laws, or about your rights to the road, contact attorney Bob Mionske directly.
Right to the Road
Bicycles are vehicles and bicyclists shall operate a bicycle in the same manner as a motor vehicle.
Where to Ride
- Bicycles are to ride as close as practicable and safe to the right side of the roadway except when overtaking another bicyclist, when preparing to make a left turn, when necessary to avoid a fixed or slow-moving object or vehicle or when riding in a substandard width lane.
- On one-way roads, bicyclists may ride near the left-hand side of the roadway as is practicable.
- Sidewalk riding is generally permitted but bicyclists except where prohibited by local ordinance. Cyclists riding on a sidewalk must yield the right of way to pedestrians and must give an audible signal before passing.
Motor Vehicle Doors
- No person may open the door of a motor vehicle unless it is safe to do so.
Bike Lanes, Bike Paths, and Multi-Use Paths
- Oregon bicyclists are required to ride in or upon bike lanes or paths when it is adjacent to the roadway with exceptions for right and left turns and to avoid hazards.
HOW TO RIDE
Bicyclists Overtaking Cars
- Bicyclists may pass motor vehicles on the right if it is reasonably safe to do so.
Cars Overtaking Bicyclists
If a vehicle passing a bicyclist is traveling over 35 miles per hour, the overtaking vehicle must pass the bicyclist at a distance that is sufficient to prevent contact with the bicyclist if the bicyclist were to fall over into the lane of traffic.
- To turn left bicyclists may perform a “box turn” or use the left turn lane.
- A left-turning bicyclist has the right of way over a driver intending to proceed straight at an intersection.
Stop Signs and Traffic Control Devices
- Bicyclists are required to come to a full and complete stop at all stop signs and traffic lights displaying a red signal.
- Bicyclists must use hand/arm signals when turning and stopping.
- Bicyclists may not ride more than 2 abreast and may not impede motor vehicle traffic.
- Every bicycle must be equipped with a white front-facing headlight, and a red rear reflector or light, visible from at least 500 feet when used at nighttime.
- Every bicycle must have a red reflector or lighting device or material of such size or characteristics and so mounted as to be visible from all distances up to 600 feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful lower beams of headlights on a motor vehicle.
- Every bicycle shall be equipped with a brake which will adequately control the movement of and stop and hold such bicycle within 15 from 10 mph on level dry clean pavement.
Oregon Helmet Laws
- There is no statewide requirement for helmets for adults, however, children under 16 years of age in Oregon must legally wear a helmet while riding in public.
- Clinging to motor vehicles while biking is not permitted.
- Bicycles may only carry the number of persons for which it is designed, except an adult may carry a child in a backpack or sling.
- Sirens are not permitted on bicycles except for use by a police or fire department.
Police Inspection of Bicycles
- A uniformed police officer may stop and inspect a bicycle at any time upon the reasonable cause that a bicycle is unsafe or not equipped as required by law.
Electric Assist Bikes
- Oregon Law (ORS 801.258]) defines an electric-assisted bicycle as an electric motor-driven vehicle equipped with operable pedals, a seat or saddle for the rider, and no more than three wheels in contact during travel. In addition, the vehicle must be equipped with an electric motor that is capable of applying a power output of no greater than 1,000 watts, and that is incapable of propelling the vehicle at a speed greater than 20 miles per hour on level ground
- Bicyclists may use e-bikes in the same matter as traditional bicycles except sidewalk riding is prohibited and riders must legally use a helmet.
Oregon’s DUI statute does apply to bicyclists and the state’s DUII (driving under the influence of intoxicants) applies to people on bikes.