Drive Your Bike. Bikes are Vehicles too.
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A Bicyclist's Rights and Responsibilities
In Oregon, a bike is a vehicle and you are its driver. You share the same rights and duties with all other drivers when you use the state and local roads.
Avoid riding your bicycle on sidewalks.
Share the road
- Although riding on the sidewalk may seem like a safe option, motorists simply are not looking for bicyclists on the sidewalk. At every driveway and intersection there is a risk a driver will not see you, especially if you ride against traffic.
- If riding on a sidewalk, Oregon law states bicycles must be operated at a speed similar to ordinary walking whenever approaching or entering a crosswalk, driveway, curb cut or pedestrian ramp. While on a sidewalk, a bicyclist has the same rights and duties as a pedestrian.
- Respect pedestrians at all times, whether on the road or sidewalk
Use your signals
- Ride in the bike lane or right side of the travel lane whenever possible. If there is no bike lane or the lane is narrow, you may ride in the middle of the lane just like a car. Always use hand signals and be predictable.
- The best place to be in the lane is at least three feet away from any parked cars so that you are outside the “door zone” where car doors might open into the lane. Maintain a consistent lane position and avoid weaving. Any drivers behind you will appreciate your predictability of riding in a straight line.
- When asserting a position in the center of a travel lane, ride close to the normal speed of vehicle traffic.
- For more information about sharing the road, consult the Oregon Pedestrian and Bicycle Rules: http://www.oregon.gov/odot/ts/Pages/bicyclistsafety.aspx
Check Your Brakes
- Bicyclists on the roadway are required to signal for a distance of 100 feet before a turn. Because your signaling hand is part of your steering, signal when it is safe to do so.
- Use eye contact whenever possible. When you can make eye contact with drivers you know that they see you. You can also use eye contact to determine where the blind spots are with larger vehicles. When approaching a large vehicle, make eye contact with the driver in the rear view mirror to make sure that they see that you are there.
- Your brakes should work smoothly, even in the rain. When you squeeze the lever, it should not ‘bottom out’ against the handlebars. When you let go of the brakes, they should come away cleanly from the wheel’s rim. Good tires will also help ensure you are able to stop efficiently.
- For more articles on bicycle maintenance, bicyclist safety, commuting by bicycle, and bicycle-related equipment at REI.com http://www.rei.com/bikeyourdrive
Wear a helmet
- In low light conditions, use a bright white light on the front of your bike and a red LED light on the rear. Make sure they are bright and well-functioning, and change the batteries regularly.
- Reflective tape can be added to your helmet or fenders.
- Wear bright, reflective clothing. Bright yellow and lime green are ideal in most light conditions.
- Helmets are mandatory for cyclists in Oregon under the age of 16, unless wearing a helmet “would violate a religious belief or practice of the person”. Helmets can protect cyclists at any age; however.
- A properly fitted and safety-approved helmet can prevent head injuries. Buy a helmet that meets the consumer safety standards set by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Make sure it fits snugly. Most helmets come with fitting pads to adjust the fit to your head. These are important because a helmet can only protect your head if you wear it properly. Local bike shop staff can help you properly fit your helmet.
- Additional information on safety gear options: http://drivelesssavemore.com/pages/helmets-safety-gear-options
To learn more about your rights and responsibilities as a bicyclist and pedestrian go to:
Educational efforts funded in part by the Federal Highway Adminstration (FHWA)
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