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Bicycle & Skate Law


by Ray Thomas
Ray Thomas is a Portland bike lawyer.

We have been asked by readers over the years to assemble a reference guide for laws in various cities around Oregon that regulate bicycle riding on sidewalks. The law is clear that bicycle riders may ride their bikes on any public road and sidewalk where not prohibited. A number of cities in Oregon prohibit bicycle riding in on the sidewalk in urban core areas. Sometimes these areas are not well marked; and enforcement of the law is sometimes spotty. But it is important to know where you stand (or sit) with the law, and we have contacted a number of communities to find out their positions on bicycles on sidewalks. Clip this article for your riding file and it may save you a ticket if you think to look at it before you venture onto the sidewalk in an unfamiliar area.

If you are cited for riding on the sidewalk, consider appearing in court or writing a letter to the court explaining, if you have a good reason, why you were on the sidewalk in the first place. If you are cited in a city where the ordinance is not posted, impress on the court that, unlike Corvallis, where bicyclists are warned of the prohibition with signs, the city is not even warning bicyclists that riding on the sidewalk might result in what is to you, an extraordinarily large fine. Even if you were riding illegally on the sidewalk when cited, if you appear in traffic court and explain why is that you felt you had no safe alternative but to ride on the sidewalk, the judge may reduce your fine.

For now, if you ride your bicycle on the sidewalk – and that is your right anywhere in the state where doing so is not prohibited by ordinance – you need to know and obey the laws, and, if cited, be ready to pay the fine or argue in traffic court why you were riding on the sidewalk, and why your choice was reasonable or legal.

The following is the City Ordinance language for most major cities in Oregon:


§ 11.52.030: No person shall ride or operate a bicycle on a sidewalk in the central business district or commercial zone.

Maximum Fine Not to Exceed $500.00

Upon conviction, the court may, in addition to any other penalty, order that the bicycle that was used at the time of the offense be impounded until such time as may appear just and reasonable.


§ 6.02.410: Prohibits riding upon a sidewalk where official signs prohibit bicycle riding.

Fine Not to Exceed $50.00


§ 6.325: Prohibits riding a bicycle on a sidewalk in any business district, except along an unimproved street or underpass. However, in a business district, bicycles may be ridden on sidewalks to deliver newspapers and messages and to make other deliveries.

§ 6.910 Prohibited Riding Area:
Beginning at the southwest end of the 1200 block of Wall Street, continuing south on Wall Street, to the north side of Newport Avenue. Proceeding west on Newport Avenue to Mirror Pond (Deschutes River). Then proceeding south along the Deschutes River from Newport Avenue to the south side of Franklin Avenue. Continuing east on Franklin Avenue to the west side of Broadway Street. Proceed south on Broadway Street to the south side of Louisiana Avenue. East on Louisiana Avenue from Broadway Street to the west side of Wall Street. South on Wall Street from Louisiana Avenue to the south side of Kansas Street. Continue easterly from Kansas and Wall Street through the Administrative School District property to the southeast corner of the intersection of Kansas and Lava Street. Continue northeast on Lava Street to the north side.
Amount Set By Judge


§ Riding on Sidewalk. (2) No person, except a Police Officer in the performance of his/her official duties, shall ride a bicycle upon a sidewalk within the following boundary, including any and all adjacent sidewalks:

The northerly side of NW Jackson Avenue between NW Fifth Street and west side of the Riverfront bike path, the westerly side of Fifth Street between NW Jackson Avenue and SW Jefferson Avenue, and the southerly side of SW Jefferson Avenue to the west side of the Riverfront bike path; and the northerly side of Monroe Avenue between Fourteenth Street and Twenty-sixth Street, and the southerly side of Monroe Avenue between Fourteenth Street and Twenty-sixth Street.

Bail is $77.00


§ 5.400 Operating Rules. (1) No person may ride a bicycle on a sidewalk in that area bounded by the outer limits of Charnelton Street on the west, 6th Avenue on the north, Pearl Street on the east, and 11th Avenue on the south. Violation Not to Exceed $50.00

In addition to or in lieu of a penalty for a bicycle violation, the municipal judge may prohibit the operation of a bicycle used in the violation on the streets of the city for a period not to exceed 30 days. In such event, the chief of police shall be directed to impound the bicycle, and retain it for the period that the operation is prohibited, or the owner's registration card held for the period during which the operation of the bicycle is prohibited.


§ 8.55.070 Misuse of a Bicycle. Rides a bicycle upon a sidewalk within the city, except for law enforcement officers in the performance of their duties.


If accident involved, fine increases to $235.00


§ 10.28.100 Operation on sidewalks. Bicycles and skateboards may be operated on sidewalks within the corporate limits of the city excepting those sidewalks enumerated in subsection (A) of this section, and under conditions enumerated in subsections (B) and (C) of this section.

A. No person shall ride or operate any bicycle or skateboard on sidewalks adjacent to streets or on Public Service Building Grounds located within the following boundary: between the north line of NE and NW Lincoln St. to the south line of SW and SE Baseline St. and the east line of NE and SE 5th Ave. to the west line of NW and SW Adams Ave.

B. Bicycles and skateboards ridden on sidewalks permitted in this chapter may not be operated at a speed greater than ten miles per hour.

C. Any person riding or operating a bicycle or skateboard on any sidewalk of the city shall at all times yield the right-of-way to pedestrians using the sidewalk and upon approaching an area of pedestrian congestion, or children playing on the sidewalk, shall dismount and walk the bicycle or skateboard past the area of congestion or children at play. (Prior code §§ 7-3.10)


§ 10.36.080 Riding–On Sidewalks. No person shall ride a bicycle upon a sidewalk in the business district bounded on the west by Adams Street, on the east by Irvine, on the north by 5th Street and on the south by 1st Street. (Ord. 3629 §35(2), 1972).

$100.00 fine


98-2500 Section 4. Prohibited Riding. No person shall engage in a riding activity in an area designated as a Prohibited Riding Area, as defined in Section 3(a).

Section 3(a) Riding as described in Section 1 is prohibited on any sidewalk or other City property in the downtown commercial area of the City or on a sidewalk or other City property adjacent to Newberg City Buildings, except public streets. The downtown commercial area is that area between River Street on the east, Main Street on the west, the north right-of-way boundary of Hancock Street on the north, and the south right-of-way boundary of Second Street on the south.

Maximum Fine is $500.00

Bail $72.00


§ 16.70.320 Operating Rules. (Amended by Ord. No. 165594, July 8, 1992.) No person may:

E. Ride a bicycle on a sidewalk, unless avoiding a traffic hazard in the immediate area, within the area bounded by and including SW Jefferson, Front Avenue, NW Hoyt and 13th Avenue, except:

1. On sidewalks designated as bike lanes or paths;

2. On the ramps or approaches to any Willamette River Bridge; or

3. In the area bounded by the west property line of SW Ninth Avenue, the east property line of SW Park Avenue, the north property line of SW Jefferson and the south property line of SW Salmon Street.

4. For police or special officers operating a bicycle in the course and scope of their duties; or

5. For employees of the Association for Portland Progress and companies providing security services operating a bicycle in the course and scope of their duties. These employees must have in possession an identification card issued by the Chief of Police certifying the rider has completed a training course in the use of a bicycle for security patrol.

Maximum Fine is $500.00


§ 8.02.140 Regulations relating to recreational-type or toy vehicles.

A. Roller Skates, In-Line Skates, Skateboards, Bicycles and Other Devices.

2. Excepting Police Officers and Police Explorers operating their bicycles in the course and scope of their duties, no person shall operate or ride upon roller skates, in-line skates, skateboards, bicycles or ride in, or by means of, any coaster, toy vehicle or similar device upon any sidewalk within the Downtown Development District as defined in Chapter 3.08 of this Code.

Chapter 3.08

Bounded on the north by Douglas Avenue on the South by Lane Street on the West by mid-block of Rose and Stephens and on the East by mid-block between Main and Kane and includes the Northwest corner of SE Stephens and SE Cass.

Fine Not to Exceed $1,500.00

May also impound for a period not to exceed twenty days.


§ 101.100 Riding Bicycles On Sidewalks. (a) It shall be unlawful to ride a bicycle upon a sidewalk within that area bounded by and including Front Street on the west, save and except the bridges, Cottage Street on the east, Union Street on the north, and Trade Street on the south; provided this subsection shall not apply to three-wheeled bicycles being ridden by a handicapped or elderly person.


§ 10.36.100 Riding–On Certain Sidewalks Prohibited. No person shall ride or operate any wheeled vehicle, except wheelchairs, on any sidewalk adjacent and parallel to SW Main Street; and provided further, that any person riding any wheeled vehicle, excepting wheelchairs, on any sidewalk in the city shall at all times yield the right-of-way to pedestrians using such sidewalk.

5 days in City Jail or a fine not to exceed ten dollars, or both, or bicycle may be impounded for a period not to exceed fourteen days.


§ 10.24.010 Bicycles –General Requirements. B. It shall be unlawful for the owner or operator of any bicycle to ride or park the same upon any sidewalk or path constructed for the use of and commonly used by pedestrians within the corporate limits of the city.

Fine Not to Exceed $75.00

West Linn

§ 6.155 Bicycle Operating Rules. 1. Not ride upon a sidewalk within a business district.

Class A Infraction - Maximum Fine $500.00


§ 5.100 Bicycles - Operating Rules. (2) Not ride a bicycle upon a sidewalk within areas as are from time to time established by the City Council.

No set fine

If you do not see your city in this list, contact your local city attorney or police department.

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