Six Bike Laws Every Driver Needs to Know
Cyclists Get a Full Lane – Or. Rev. Stat. §§801.590; 814.400(2), Or. Rev. Stat. §814.420
In Oregon, cyclists are legally entitled to a full lane on roads because they are treated as vehicles. But they must use a bike lane if a bike lane is present. In that full lane, they must obey all the same traffic laws as motorists, including maintaining speed. Drivers upset about cyclists taking a full lane should know that it’s done to be sure that motorists can see the cyclist, which helps protect the driver from accidentally injuring or killing someone.
Yelling or Swerving at Cyclists is a Crime – Or. Rev. Stat. 166.065, Or. Rev. Stat. 163.190
Oregon law defines “menacing,” as “intentionally attempt[ing] to place another person in fear of imminent serious physical injury.” Harassing cyclists by yelling or swerving at them isn’t just rude, it’s a Class A misdemeanor.
You Must Pass Cyclists Safely- Or. Rev. Stat. §811.065
Drivers may only pass a cyclist in a safe manner, giving them ample room, passing on the left, at a speed no greater than 35 MPH. Passing on the right as a cyclist makes a left turn is illegal. Safe passing distance is no less than three feet of space, but really should be closer to eight. Passing unsafely is a Class B traffic violation.
The “Dooring Law” – Or. Rev. Stat. §811.490(1)
Whether you’re parked or in traffic, it is a class D traffic violation to open your car door in a way that imperils or interferes with pedestrians or cyclists.
Breaking These Laws Can Come With Additional Penalties – Or. Rev. Stat. §§801.608; 811.135; 811.060
Because cyclists are considered “vulnerable road users,” along with pedestrians, road workers and others, additional penalties can be levies against drivers deemed to be reckless, especially in cases in which a cyclist is injured. In that case, motorists can even be found guilty of vehicular assault.
“The Bike Bill” Mandates Funding of Infrastructure – ORS 366.514
County, city and state departments that receive money from the State Highway Fund must allocate a reasonable amount to provide footpaths and bicycle trails, including curb cuts or ramps as part of the projects the money is used for. Those developments help keep cyclists out of the flow of traffic, which makes driving safer for motorists.