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:
12. SELECTED OREGON ADMINISTRATIVE RULES (OAR) THAT PERTAIN TO BICYCLISTS & PEDESTRIANS:
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.