Safety in travel means different things to different travellers making their way through each day. For many animals and insects in transit, the key to their survival is the ability to disappear and blend into their surroundings. Chameleons can change the color of their skin to match the environment around them.  Some moths have wing patterns that make them look like spiders, and there are caterpillars that look like the head of a snake. There is even a spider that disguises itself as bird droppings to go undetected. While that strategy may be effective, it’s not a very attractive look. Animals and insects find safety by going undetected, but for those riding a bicycle the key to staying safe is exactly the opposite. Many traffic accidents involving bicycles happen simply because the driver of the other vehicle did not see the cyclist on the road. The state of Oregon has put in place some safety equipment laws to help bicycle riders become as visible as possible, as well as some other equipment requirements for your safety.


During low visibility, a white light is required on the front of your vehicle.  This light must be visible from at least 500 feet in front of the bicycle. While the light may be helpful for the rider to see what is ahead of them, the main function of the light is to be seen by other vehicles. The light can be mounted to the front of the bike, but helmet mounted lights are also permissible. Helmet lights are often preferred by riders because they are directional.


A light is required in the front, but not in the back. Instead, a red reflector should be mounted to the bike so that it is visible all the way to 600 feet when hit by a vehicles low beam headlights. All bikes are required to come from the factory with these reflectors in place, but riders remove them for a variety of reasons, including the fact that many bike racks are not compatible with the reflector in place.


Another safety feature that is required is a seat. Seems like a no brainer, but this means that every rider on the bike must have a seat. No doubling up unless it is a tandem bike.


A helmet is not required for all riders, but it is encouraged. If you are age 16 or younger, you are required to wear a helmet if you are riding a bike on any property that is open to the public. This includes all roads and public bike paths. But no matter how old you are, wearing a helmet can save your life if you are in an accident. Even though it isn’t required for adults, wearing a helmet is always a good idea. There are many other things you can do to stay safe by staying visible. Wearing bright colors and reflective clothing can help you be seen by other drivers on the road.

Your Portland Bicycle Advocates

If you have been injured in a bicycle accident and you were following all of the proper safety protocols, you may be entitled to compensation. At Berkshire Ginsberg, LLC, our experienced Portland bike accident attorneys will fight to get you the settlement that you and your family deserve.  To schedule a consultation, contact us online or by phone at 503-233-6507.