The Oregon landscape is an amazing place to ride through on a bicycle. With ever-changing scenery and (largely) unpopulated roads, it’s a joy to experience this great State from the saddle. But if you ride a lot, or frequently in dense city traffic, you also know how vulnerable you are. You must also understand that the rules of the road for bicycles in Oregon are different from its insurance laws.
As a bicycle accident lawyer, I’ve put together this guide to the rules and laws of riding a bike in Oregon so you can stay safe and accident-free:
Rules and Laws for Bicycles in Oregon
There were 857 bicyclists killed in traffic crashes in the United States in 2018. This sobering statistic shouldn’t prevent you from riding your bike. Instead, it should simply ensure that you’re hyper-aware of the dangers facing you.
Knowing the rules of the road are your key to a safe encounter with vehicle traffic. Here are the laws you need to obey in Oregon:
- When riding your bicycle you are treated like a motor vehicle and must follow the rules of the road that vehicles follow.
- You must ride in a bike lane if there is one. However, you don’t have to ride in the bike lane when passing another bike, turning, or avoiding hazards.
- You must ride in the same direction as the motor vehicle traffic.
- It’s required that you ride on the right side of the lane, even if there is no bike lane. The exception is that you don’t have to do so when passing another bike or vehicle or turning or avoiding hazards. This rule also applies to instances where you are riding next to another bike (if you are not slowing traffic), or when you’re riding in a bike lane.
- You can ride on the left side of the lane on a one-way street.
- Signaling: You must use hand signals unless your bike has turn signals and/or brake lights. Use them for at least 100 feet before stopping, turning, changing lanes, or exiting a roundabout.
Required hand signals are as follows:
- Left Turn Signal: extend left arm outward.
- Right Turn Signal: extend left arm up or right arm outward.
- Stopping Signal: extend left arm down.
- Riding on Sidewalks or in Crosswalks: When riding on a sidewalk or in a crosswalk, a bicyclist is treated as a pedestrian – but special rules apply:
- You cannot leave the curb and enter traffic when a vehicle is so close as to pose a hazard.
- The right-of-way must be yielded to pedestrians when passing. Make noise to let them know that you are about to pass.
- You must slow to a walk when entering crosswalks or driveways.
- Bicycle Helmets: You should always protect your head and brain by wearing a helmet. But if you were not wearing one when the accident occurred, it cannot be used against you if you decide to sue someone for your injuries.
Insurance Laws Regarding Bicycle Accidents
If you follow the rules of the road for bicycles in Oregon, you should be able to travel safely. In the unfortunate event you do get hurt riding your bike however, here are some insurance laws to be aware of:
- Your auto insurance will pay your medical expenses and other losses under its personal injury protection coverage, also known as PIP.
- If you did not have auto insurance, your health insurer should take over your medical expenses.
- In the event you had neither auto insurance nor health insurance at the time of the accident, the auto insurance for the vehicle that hit you should pay your medical expenses under its PIP.