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Bicycle & Skate Law

We Have A Right To The Freeway, But Which Freeway?

You may recall that several years ago, I wrote about a bicyclist
who was stopped by an officer for riding his bicycle on Interstate
5. For those of you who may need a refresher and those of you who
may be wondering “What are my rights regarding riding on the
freeway?” I have included below the exact language of the rule governing
the prohibition of non-motorized vehicles on our freeways:


Prohibition of Non-Motorized Vehicles on Freeways

734-20-0045 (1) Non-motorized vehicles are prohibited upon the
following segments of freeways within the State of Oregon:

(a) Portland area:

(A)The Columbia River Highway No. 2 (Banfield/I-84) from its intersection
with I-5, MP 0.00, to 122nd Avenue, MP 10.25, east bound, and
to Sandy Boulevard, MP 15.14, west bound;

(B) The Sunset Highway No. 47 easterly of the Jefferson Street
Interchange, MP 73.35;

(C) Interstate 5 (Hwy. No. 1) from the Beaverton-Tigard Highway
Interchange, MP 292.20, to the Delta Park Interchange, MP 306.70;

(D) Interstate 205 (Hwy No. 64) northerly of the Overcrossing
of the Oswego Highway No. 3, MP 8.82;

(E) Interstate 405 (Hwy. No. 81) in its entirety; and

(F) Lower Columbia Highway No. 2W from its intersection with
I-405, MPE0.00, to 23rd Street, MP 1.99.

(b) Medford area: Interstate 5 (Pacific Highway No. 1) from the
Barnet Road Interchange, MP 27.58, to the Crater Lake Highway
Interchange, MP 30.29 (in Medford).

(2) The closure of the above sections to nonmotorized vehicles
shall become effective following the erection of adequate signing.

Please note that paragraph (2) provides that “adequate signing”
is necessary in order to give non-motorized users notice of the
closure. This means that the signs warning us off of the road must
actually be in place before we are required to use an alternative
route. No sign, no ticket.

Riders familiar with the prohibited sections of roadway will probably
agree, however, that no one would want to be on these sections of
highway without thick sheetmetal surrounding their vulnerable bodies.
One of my worst riding experiences involved trying to go eastbound
from the top of Sylvan hill in Portland down to the Jefferson Street
off ramp on the Sunset Highway, Highway 26. This section of road
is supposed to be open for non-motorized users until the Jefferson
Street off ramp (see the rules above, OAR 734- 20-045(1)(a)(B).
However, the area is narrow with little room for vehicles outside
the main traffic lanes. This is an area where drivers simultaneously
attempt to slow down and maneuver into the correct lane before they
enter the Sunset tunnel. As I rocketed down the steep hill trying
to keep my aching hands from cramping while I held tightly onto
my brakes I remember saying to myself: “So this is what it feels
like to get caught in a stampeding herd of cattle!” It was an unpleasant
scary experience.

If anyone is hassled about riding on lawful roadways, cite the
“offending officer” to the OAR; knowledge is power.

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