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 an intersection on the right side of a truck, and do not linger next to a truck on any side, in any lane. Either slow down until you are behind the truck or get off your bike and move it to safety.
When riding in a bike lane, you are required to ride in the same direction as the traffic next to you. If there is no bike lane, you must take the lane with other vehicles, riding in the center of the lane in a straight line. On a one-way street you may ride in the left lane as long as you are riding with traffic.
Stop for yellow lights. There are approximately three seconds between a yellow light and a red light, not enough time to race across an intersection on a bike.
On a Bicycle Be Conspicuous So That Motorists Can See You
Failure to equip your bike with light and reflector constitutes negligence in a collision. Oregon law requires you to equip your bike with a white light visible at 500 feet to the front and a red light or reflector visible to at least 600 feet to the rear. A front light and at least a rear reflector, by law, is required if you are riding at night or in other low light conditions, such as fog or heavy rain or snow. A rear light is more visible than a reflector. Lights and reflectors are also advised when riding during daylight hours.
Wear bright colored clothing, particularly fluorescent yellow-green and orange. Bright clothing will increase a driver’s ability to see you from 400 feet to 2,200 feet in daylight and at night from 150 feet to 560 feet. By adding reflective material you will be increasing a driver’s ability to see you at night to 2,200 feet.
Know and Be Able To Practice Emergency Maneuvers While on a Bike
Being able to react quickly while on a bike is your best defense in a tight situation. These maneuvers will give you the control you need to navigate through traffic.
If a vehicle you are riding next to makes a right turn, quickly jerk your front wheel to the left very briefly to force your body to lean to the right. When your lean has started, very quickly turn your front wheel sharply to the right to make a tight right turn.
If a pedestrian or another vehicle suddenly stops in front of you, use both brakes simultaneously, applying more pressure on the front brake, while sliding your weight back to the rear to reduce skidding. Using only the front brake will result in a pitch-over, and using only the rear brake will not be effective.
See Bicycle Accident Attorney in Oregon on this website for more information about cycling in Oregon.
For information about cycling in and around Portland, visit: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/34772
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