When two groups of people try to occupy the same space, it can get ugly. While it might not be on the same scale as what is happening in territorial conflicts across the globe, there is a space that 2 different groups occupy that can cause quite a bit of conflict. For years the two conflicting groups of cyclists and pedestrians have had to share sidewalk space. Although neither has declared war over it (that we know of) they don’t always share the space in a friendly manner. Those on foot feel that bikers go too fast, too close, and often fail to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. Those riding bikes often feel that the pedestrians are inconsiderate, don’t share the sidewalk, and move too slowly.  This often results in conflict, with the pedestrians questioning the right of the bicycle riders’ to be on the sidewalk in the first place.

Who Has The Right Of Sidewalk Passage?

Which raises the question: are sidewalks off limits for bicycles?  In Portland, the answer depends on which sidewalk.  For the most part, the law is fairly straightforward. Although pedestrians have the right of way, cyclists have every right to be on the sidewalk. This is true even when there is a bike lane on the road. Young or inexperienced riders may feel safer traveling on the sidewalk rather than being so close to moving traffic. There are some sidewalks in Portland that are off limits to bicycles. These sidewalks typically have the heaviest pedestrian traffic, making it too crowded for bicycles. SW Jefferson St, NW Hoyt St, 13th Ave, and Natio Parkway are a few examples.  However, because there are no signs posted and the boundaries are not clearly defined, most are unaware of the restrictions and they go largely unenforced. As for the rest of the sidewalks, there is a way for both groups to peaceably coexist on the sidewalks. Having respect for each other and obeying the laws is the first step. When passing pedestrians, cyclists should give an audible signal. Cyclists should always yield the right-of-way to pedestrians, especially in marked and unmarked crosswalks. Also, slowing down around pedestrians would go a long way in keeping peace with pedestrians.

Stay Safe Out There

The most important thing is to stay safe. If you have been involved in an accident involving a bicycle and a pedestrian, we can help. At Berkshire Ginsberg, LLC, our experienced attorneys will fight to get the compensation that you deserve.  To schedule a consultation, contact us online or by phone at 503-233-6507