An ever-increasing number of people are embracing the many benefits of cycling. In addition to exercise, bicycles are becoming more common as a means to run errands and commute to work. Unfortunately, drivers have been slow to adjust to this trend and serious injuries have occurred.

Understand and Obey the Rules of the Road

Cyclists must also fully understand the rules of the road and their responsibilities in minimizing accidents. When riding on the street, cyclists have many of the same responsibilities and legal rights as motorists, which include yielding to pedestrians, using designated bike paths and staying to the right when traveling. This last rule of the road is ambiguous in this state.

Can Bicyclists Pass on the Right?

Oregon Vehicle Code and its revised statutes (ORS) generally prevents passing on the right. Exceptions include instances when a vehicle is stopped to turn left or in the leftmost of two or more clearly marked lanes. Bicyclist can also pass slow vehicles that are turning left. The code does not clearly define the rules when motor vehicles and bicycles share the same lane in general and specifically when motor vehicles slow down or stop for traffic signals. The language in the passing statute, ORS 811.415, appears to make it illegal for cyclists to pass these vehicles on the right, a maneuver that is common throughout the world. Although there are several good arguments in support of bicyclists, the Oregon appellate courts have yet to rule on the matter. As a result, cyclists should beware and take care when passing stopped vehicles on the right.

Legal Implications After an Accident

In case of an accident, it may be possible for the motorist to claim that you were at fault for passing on the right and should be held at least partially liable. Remember, that even if you are found in violation of the vehicle code, you may still win a partial judgment for injuries sustained in the accident if the driver of the motor vehicle is found to have a greater responsibility. The police may also issue you a ticket for violating the statute.

Compensation for Bicycle Accident and Injuries

In these instances, you should seek experienced legal counsel. An attorney experienced in handling bicycle-related accidents and injuries can help you navigate through the ambiguities of the law so that the ticket may be overturned and you can receive fair compensation. If you have been injured in an accident while riding a bicycle contact the bicycle attorneys at Berkshire & Ginsberg, LLC, to get the professional help you need to get the compensation you deserve. Call us at 503-233-6507 or email us to discuss your situation.