Oregon has some of the best biking laws in the United States. Here in Oregon not only are there many safe bike paths but there are legal protections in place for cyclists both on and off the road. A quick familiarity with the law of the land can help you to ride safely no matter where you are.

Basic Safety Gear

Children under the age of 16 are required to wear a helmet while bike riding. All bikes but those for very small children must have a set of reflectors. This means a red reflector in the rear, yellow or white reflectors in the wheels of the bike and a white reflector at the front of the bike. All bikes ridden at night should have at least a red tail light. A bell or horn is suggested for alerting others to your presence. There must also be a working brake on the bike. A very popular type of bike today is the fixed gear bike. Many are ridden without brakes. This is both illegal and very unsafe. Law enforcement is familiar with how these bikes look without brakes. If your new ride is a fixed gear, make sure it has a brake on the front wheel before riding.

Riding on the Road

In Oregon a cyclist has the right to use the roadway when there is no available bike path. When on the road way, a bike rider must stay in the right side of the lane. This does not mean in the gutter, but roughly where a car’s passenger side tire rolls. A cyclist is considered to be a vehicle when on the road. They must use hand signals and follow all traffic laws.

Riding on the Sidewalk

Rider are allowed to use the sidewalks as long as they go no faster than a brisk walking pace. They must yield to pedestrians and alert them before passing. The use of a bike bell is suggested. Bikes with electrical assist motors must never be ridden on the sidewalk. Bike riders on the sidewalk should remember to slow at all road intersections to check for traffic. The law says that you should be treated as a pedestrian while crossing in a cross walk but you must remember to slow to a walking pace for your own safety.

Special Situations

Oregon law requires that a bike have a safely secured seat when it is ridden. It also requires that any load be safely secured in a bag or a rack. Finally, you must always keep at least one hand on the handlebars at all times. Finally, enjoy the ride!