In this Blog category you will find articles about Bicycle Accidents with a motor vehicle and how to avoid them. Personal Injury suits and insurance claims may require the help of an attorney. A good lawyer can protect your rights under the law.
The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) advises truckers and other motorists traveling through Baker City to expect delays Friday morning, June 23rd on Highway 30 toward Haines, Highway 203, and into Keating due to the start of the weekend long Baker City Cycling Classic.
Racing on Friday will begin at 9:00 am and finish about 12:30 pm. For the safety of cyclists, it will be a fully closed route, with no vehicles allowed on course until the last rider finishes.
The three day long Baker City Cycling Classic was created in 2002 by Nathan Hobson to showcase the sport of competitive cycling, and in 2012 received the Ovation Award as Best Sporting event in Oregon. Local non-profit Baker Loves Bikes and the Baker and Union county communities sponsor and support this yearly event, with the mission of Baker Loves Bikes to “educate and support greater access and safe opportunity for all cyclists in Baker County.”
Why is the event held in Baker City? While the weather is unpredictable even in June, with snow, hail, rain, and blistering heat at times, Baker City is in the heart of rolling farm country with well-maintained roads with generous shoulders and few cars. Each year, the colorful streets of Baker city are blocked off for the race, and restaurants set up chairs outside for fans to eat lunch and sip microbrews while watching this mini Tour de France from the front row.
This year’s event will continue throughout the weekend, with each race lasting from 40 minutes to an hour, depending on the caliber of the racers. On Saturday, the first race will start at 8:30 am from the Baker City Church of the Nazarene on Hughes Lane and continue out to Highway 30., and then onto Davenport Rd, Chandler Lane, and finally onto Old Oregon Trail Rd, to finish about a mile from Highway 86.
Northbound traffic can expect detours from 8:00 am until 11:30 am on Highway 30 at Hughes Lane onto Pocahontas and then onto Chico, where it will rejoin Highway 30. A second event, the wild Tour d’Town Criterium circuit race and Kids Races will be held in Historic Baker City from 1:00 pm until 7:30 pm, restricting parking on Main Street, Valley, 1st, 2nd, 10th/Broadway, Court, and Washington Avenue from Saturday morning through Saturday at 8:00 pm.
By now, you may be familiar with the ubiquitous red-orange bikes around town. They are the meat of Portland’s Nike-sponsored bike-share program, Biketown. The program officially launched nearly a year ago in June 2016 after several years of development and logistical setbacks.
Portland’s Struggle to Acquire Biketown
Portland has long held the reputation of being a bike-friendly city. In fact, it was one of the first cities in the U.S. to brainstorm of some type of bike-share program. Way back in 1994, the city launched the Yellow Bike Project in an attempt to model Amsterdam’s free community bike program. This ended up in disaster. The city teamed up with a nonprofit organization to release free bikes to whoever could use one, with only the honor system to protect them. Bikes were quickly vandalized or stolen.
In 2006, the city requested a municipal bike-share program proposal. This request was canceled two years later to dedicate more time to analyzing logistics. In 2011, activists from Bicycle Transportation Alliance encouraged the project’s revival. Further unfortunate events ensued. It took another two years for federal funds to disperse as financial obstacles struck the bike-share industry.
In 2014, Bikeshare Holdings purchased Alta Bicycle Share, the company the city had selected to operate its program. Later that year, the company’s major bike supplier filed for bankruptcy.
Alas, some light appeared at the end of the tunnel when in 2015, PBOT’s new director, who had worked on launching bike-shares in DC and Chicago, was determined to launch whether or not a sponsor was involved. By 2016, Portland struck a deal with Nike, allowing the program they were developing with Motivate, the updated Alta Bicycle Share operator, to expand it.
For all the setbacks, the program has seen a significant amount of use since it finally launched last year. Let’s take a closer look.
Biketown Portland is a relatively cost-effective bike-share program that contains more smart bikes than any other city bike-share. The technology to manage the program is less expensive than traditional systems that Motivate has employed in other cities. This is good news for taxpayers considering the program is publicly funded.
They aren’t called “smart bikes” for nothing. Each Biketown bike is equipped with GPS tracking and the
Portland is known for its strong bike culture; the state of Oregon boasts the nation’s highest percentage of cycling commuters, with nearly 8% of the population choosing the eco-friendly alternative to sitting in rush hour traffic. Each year that goes by, Portlanders see more bike-friendly improvements to city streets; yet they also see more cyclists, commuters, and an overall steady growth in population. Commuting on a bike can be a high risk activity. Here are the top bike laws for Oregon that aim to keep cyclists safe in Portland and beyond.
Safe Passing Law
In Portland, cyclists are legally required to ride in a bike lane, unless they are avoiding a traffic hazard in the immediate area. This means that sidewalk riding is not permitted in the heart of the city, unless the sidewalk is also a designated bike lane or path, or crosses a bridge. To protect road cyclists, most states have safe passing laws that require drivers to keep their distance from cyclists when passing them on the road. A “safe distance” is defined as one that is sufficient to prevent contact with the person on the bike if the cyclist were to fall into the driver’s lane of traffic. After the cyclist is passed, the driver may return to the lane of travel.
Certain exceptions are made for drivers who are going no more than 35 miles per hour, in a lane separate from and adjacent to a designated bike lane, and when the driver is passing a cyclist on the cyclist’s right side and the cyclist is turning left.
As far as headgear goes, Oregon does not require adults to wear helmets; only cyclists 16 and under are required to wear one. Yet to ride without a helmet on our busy streets is foolish when you consider the likelihood of being struck and the capacity for injury. Still, any evidence that you were not wearing a helmet at the time of an accident cannot be used against you if you pursue a personal injury claim.
Bicycling Under the Influence
Bicyclists are subject to all the same rules of the road as motorists, and as such are defined as vehicles. Oregon’s DUII laws apply to cyclists as well; so, whether you are drunk, high on medicine or
Portlanders who commute by riding their bikes to work may have encountered the unpleasant — and potentially scary — scenario of having to ride their bike home after dark. Perhaps you had to stay late one night to finalize some changes to a project, or went out for a special happy hour with your coworkers for a birthday or going away celebration. Whatever the case, riding at night is not something you want to (or should) do on a whim.
Not surprisingly, the majority of cycling accidents occur in urban areas, and most casualties are adults (males account for about 80% of all cycling casualties). The most dangerous hours for cycling are between 3 and 6 PM and 8 and 9 AM, likely because there is much more traffic on the roads than later in the evening or early morning. Although 80% of cycling accidents occur in broad daylight, accidents that happen at night are more likely to be deadly. Should you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to ride at night, be prepared with the right cycling gear and follow these tips.
Dress Like a Christmas Tree (or Circuit Board)
You don’t want to distract cyclists and drivers around you at any time when you are cycling in traffic, but the point is to be highly visible at all times. In Oregon, there is a bike light law that requires cyclists to use lights that meet certain specifications in order to maximize visibility and safety. There are different types of lights you can and should use to be visible to those around you. Try to make it clear through your lighting scheme that you are on a bike — in general, blinking lights could be more of a distraction. The time that they are turned off could make it difficult for traffic to keep track of your movements, especially if it is raining. You can also don reflective clothing, or you can even add reflective tape to your bike and any kind of gear you already have.
Stay in Protected Bike Lanes
Downtown Portland has added several protected bike lanes to major streets in order to reduce congestion and provide a safer commute to cyclists. These lanes are closed off to vehicles and are signaled
It is no secret that bike culture is huge in Portland. The city has the highest rate of residents who choose to bike to work, with 7.2% of its population opting for the eco-friendly alternative on two wheels. If you live close enough to your job, biking can be a great way to sneak in exercise before you are stuck in a chair for 8+ hours on end. But while biking can be beneficial to the environment and your health, it’s still a risky activity to pursue on busy city streets. If you’re already comfortable on a bike, or are thinking about transitioning to a bike commute, we have a few safety tips you should keep in mind to avoid incidents with motor vehicles on Portland roads.
It’s natural to be nervous the first few times you find yourself in the bike lane on one of Portland’s most congested streets, but you should conceal fear at all costs. When you ride with confidence and stand your ground, drivers and cyclists alike will be able to predict your actions and treat you with respect. If you are shaky and swerving, people will do all they can to get around you, including other cyclists. This can easily lead to a crash between two or more cyclists, or you and a car. Also, be sure to take over your lane when absolutely necessary, such as when there is no room for a driver to pass.
Always Be Seen
Visibility is a top concern for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians alike in our traditionally gloomy weather conditions. For a cyclist sharing a busy downtown road with cars, vans, and trucks, it’s extra-important to be visible at all times. As a cyclist, you can achieve this by wearing bright and reflective clothing, and by obeying Oregon’s bicycle lighting law. You can also place reflective tape or bike decals on your bike, backpack, or clothing. If you’re not too worried about style, you can even strap on a mesh safety vest. This is especially useful if you’re riding at night.
Stay in View
As part of always being seen, you want to make sure that you can see the rearview mirrors of the cars immediately around you. If you can’t see them, the drivers can’t see you!
Expect Doors to Swing Wide Open
It’s unfortunate that one of the more common threats cyclists
If you are an avid cyclist in Portland, you are probably aware of the many traffic laws you have to obey to get along on our congested streets. While most of the same rules apply to both cyclists and motor vehicles to keep everyone safe, cyclists are always in greater danger of getting hurt when they’re getting around town. There are some rules in place to protect cyclists specifically, many of which may be unknown to those testing the waters as a Portland cyclist commuter.
One of the key ways to stay safe while cycling around Portland is to be visible to everyone around you, which, in the lovely Pacific Northwest weather we’re used to, means bright, reflective gear and lights. Headlights, rear lights, flashing lights are all given two thumbs up by the Oregon Bike Light Law.
Active vs. Passive Lights
The Oregon Bike Light Law requires cyclists to use different types of lighting under different conditions. In “limited visibility conditions” that are prevalent during rainy or foggy days, a bicycle must be equipped with both “active” and “passive” lights. What do these terms mean?
Active lights are the type of lights that come to mind when we think of bike lights. These are lights that require some action on your part to activate. Typically, these are electric lights that run on a battery and must be turned on before it starts to work.
Passive lights don’t require the cyclist to do anything for them to work. These are reflectors or any kind of reflective material on your bike. As long as a light source aims at the area on your bike that has reflective material on it, it works. Of course, this doesn’t work in daytime and it isn’t as visible as active lighting, which is why Oregon requires both. Think about reflectors as an added safety mechanism in case your active lights fail.
For the most part, all new bicycles sold in the United States come with legally required reflectors, but not the required active lights due to the fact that most recreational riders avoid riding at night or when visibility is poor. If you ride an older bike, you are not required to have reflectors, and there is no law against taking reflectors off any bike; however, you should always have active lights in case you find yourself riding on a cloudy day
While you have a right to be compensated by a person who injured you in a bike-car collision, for your own health and safety it is better to avoid accidents than to be compensated afterwards.
Know Your Rights and Responsibilities as a Cyclist
There is a 7:1 size differential between cars and bicycles, so drivers may not see you to avoid a collision, or if they see you they may not know that, as a cyclist, you have the same right to use the roadway as they do.
With rights come responsibilities. Section 814.400 of the Oregon Revised Statutes Pertaining to Bicycles states that “Every person riding a bicycle upon a public way is subject to the provisions applicable to and has the same rights and duties as the driver of any other vehicle concerning operating on highways…” and “The provisions of the vehicle code relating to the operation of bicycles do not relieve a bicyclist or motorist from the duty to exercise due care.”
Ride with Traffic to Reduce Risk When Cycling
The safest place for bicycle riding is on the street, where bicycles are expected to follow the same rules of the road as motorists and ride in the same direction. Children less than ten years old, who are not mature enough to make the decisions necessary to safely ride in the street, should ride on the sidewalk. Children under ten years old who ride on the sidewalk should watch for vehicles coming out of or turning into driveways, and enter a street at a corner, not between parked cars, after looking both ways.
Observe all Traffic Laws While Cycling
By observing traffic laws you will be protecting your legal rights in case you are involved in a collision. Riding in violation of traffic laws usually constitutes negligence and will reduce your compensation if it contributes to a collision. To exercise due care, be aware of what is happening on the road, so that you will be able to respond to hazards before they become a collision.
To reduce your chances of a collision, ride in a manner that is predictable to others by observing traffic laws, and take the lane when you are traveling at the same speed as traffic. This will keep you out of motorists’ blind spots and reduce conflicts with right-turning traffic.
Be especially careful maneuvering around trucks and buses. Do not stop at
Cyclists in Portland shouldn’t have to wait until the annual World Naked Bike Ride to capture your attention. Each year, hundreds of cyclists’ lives are lost in collisions with automobiles. Thousands more are injured. Though cyclists sometimes break the rules of the road just as drivers do, we feel that it is crucial to highlight precautions that drivers can take when sharing the road.
A Portland cycling attorney emphasizes the top 10 ways that drivers can better coexist with cyclists to reduce traffic incidents and save lives. The key thing to remember is that cyclists have the RIGHT to use roadways. Horsepower does not correlate with authority.
When you’re on the road you may not realize that you’re driving a machine that weighs an average of 4,000 pounds. A bike weighs roughly 20 pounds. When the two come into contact, there is no question that the bike (and the accompanying cyclist) loses. Every time. When an accident is serious enough, injuries are severe. Loss of limb or life is fairly common. High speed is usually the culprit for grim incidents.
Know About Cyclists’ Rights
Too often drivers are not aware that cyclists have the right to utilize the road for transport. Sometimes, they have no clue that by law a bicycle on the road is considered a vehicle, and that traffic laws apply equally to both cars and bikes. Riding on the sidewalk is not typically an option for cyclist commuters as busy sidewalks are prime territory for pedestrian-cyclist accidents. As a driver, you must respect the cyclist’s right of way.
Check your Attitude
One important thing you can do is to change the way you think and feel toward cyclists on your commute. Changing a habit is not easy, but once you realize that cyclists have the right to be there, you can think of them less as “in your way” and more as just another Joe on his way to work, like you.
Imagine that the cyclists you encounter are your friends, neighbors, or family even. Imagine one of those cyclists is you! How would you wish for the drivers around you to behave? What would make you feel safe? Making an effort to humanize cyclists can make a huge difference toward safer conditions all around.
Consider the Benefits of Cycling
A good workout, some fresh air, fewer emissions…there are dozens of reasons people advocate
Comprehensive cycling insurance hasn’t caught on yet, despite the rise in zero-car households. With many cyclists dependent on their bikes for their daily commute, it is still shocking to understand the limitability of comprehensive insurance options for those who rely on a bicycle as their main method of transportation. At RizkLaw, we occasionally do get inquiries from uninsured cyclists who have been injured by uninsured or underinsured motorists while on a ride. Even if the driver is at fault, who pays? Who can you sue for damages?
The way it stands, if this happens to you and you drive a car, you must rely on your own personal injury protection coverage that is required by law. You can also appeal to your health insurance coverage, but that will only cover injury and not liability, lost wages, or any damage that may have been done to your bike. When car-on-bike accidents occur and neither party has adequate insurance coverage, problems arise. The situation is more common than you may think, as many Oregonians simply do not have even the bare minimum car insurance coverage required by state law.
What options for damages exist after a bike accident?
Over 90% of cyclists in Portland also own cars, however this number is gradually declining among new homeowners. Currently, if you are a cyclist and you cause an accident or you have been injured, you rely on your own auto insurance coverage to reap damages. But why have car insurance if your bike is your primary method of transportation? Although the limitability of options for proper coverage is a blow to those who reject cars, there are a few workarounds to ensure you are covered when the unexpected happens. It is important to know your options in case of a single-vehicle crash, a hit and run, or a crash with an uninsured motorist.
If you are an uninsured cyclist who does not pay for auto insurance, you should consider some form of health insurance. With health insurance you can appeal to your own policy even if the driver who caused your injuries has proper insurance coverage. As mentioned, health insurance coverage cannot extend to lost wages or property damage; however, your medical bills can escalate quickly and are often your biggest expense. Be aware that if after your insurance kicks in and covers your expenses you receive