Vancouver Bicycle Accident Attorneys

Bicycling at Crater Lake in Oregon

The only thing brighter than the view from atop Crater Lake’s Rim Drive is bicycle attorney Colin Scott’s safety vest!

The Pacific Northwest is one of the friendliest places in America to ride a bicycle. And with good reason. Washington consistently ranks as one of the most bike-friendly states in the country, and Portland is widely considered the paragon of bike-friendly cities. Despite efforts to promote cycling in both states, tragedies still occur, and more needs to be done to ensure that traveling by bike remains a fun, safe, and healthy activity.

If you or a loved one has been injured while riding a bicycle and it wasn’t your fault, contact the bicycle accident attorneys at The Scott Law Firm, PLLC in Vancouver, Washington for a free consultation! Together we can make bicycling a safer and more enjoyable experience for everyone!

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT BIKE LAWS IN WASHINGTON

Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about riding a bicycle in the State of Washington. Attempts were made to ensure this information is accurate and up to date. However, it is not always possible to update this information on a regular basis and you should not rely or act upon this information without first consulting with an attorney. Click here to access a PDF of bicycle laws provided by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT).

Are bicycles treated the same as motor vehicles in Washington?

Yes, bicyclists have all the same rights and responsibilities as motorists in Washington. See RCW 46.61.755. Cyclists who violate traffic laws may be cited and given a ticket. See RCW 46.61.750.

Do bicyclists have to wear a helmet in Washington?

There is currently no helmet law for bicyclists in Washington. However, all military installations require bicyclists to wear a helmet. Additionally, many cities and counties require helmet use with bicycles (including but not limited to): Aberdeen, Bainbridge Island, Bremerton, Dupont, Eatonville, Federal Way, Fircrest, Gig Harbor, Kent, King CountyLakewood, Lynnwood, Orting, Pierce County, Port Angeles, Port Orchard, Poulsbo, Puyallup, Renton, Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, University Place, and Vancouver.

Are bicyclists required to use front and rear lights when riding at night?

Yes, by law cyclists must use a white headlight (visible from at least 500 feet ahead) and a rear reflector or red taillight (visible up to 300 feet from behind). See RCW 46.61.780.

What do the laws say about riding on the road vs. shoulder?

Both are permissible. Bicyclists in Washington may ride on the path, bike lane, shoulder, or traffic lane—whichever is safest under the circumstances. See RCW 46.61.770.

When riding in traffic, which lane should bicyclists use?

If you are moving slower than the flow of traffic, you should ride as far right as is safe except when: preparing to turn, passing another vehicle, or when riding on a one-way road with multiple lanes. See RCW 46.61.770. You may also occupy the middle lane when traveling with the flow of traffic, when the lane is too narrow for a car to share the lane, when road conditions (such as loose gravel, grates, ice, parked cars, etc.) prevent safely riding to the far right. See RCW 46.61.770.

Can bicyclists ride abreast (i.e. side-by-side) in Washington?

Yes, but no more than two cyclists may ride abreast. See RCW 46.61.770.

Can bicyclists ride on public highways in Washington?

Generally yes, but some designated sections of state highways may be closed to bicycles due to safety concerns. See Map of Washington State Highways Closed to Bicycles. Local counties and municipalities may also adopt ordinances banning cycling on specific roads or sidewalks within business districts.

Where can I access local bike maps of Washington?

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) has a number of downloadable maps located on their website. Links to Washington bicycle maps provided by various stage agencies and local municipalities are provided below.

What are some general bicycle safety tips?

Below are some bicycle safety tips provided by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). For those of you who are visual learners (like me), click here to watch an excellent bicycle safety video provided by the League of American Bicyclists.

  • Obey traffic signs and signals.
  • Never ride against traffic.
  • Follow lane markings.
  • Don’t pass on the right.
  • Keep both hands ready to brake.
  • Wear a helmet.
  • Never wear headphones/earbuds.
  • Use a white front light and red rear light or reflector at night (required by law).
  • Use hand signals.
  • A mirror will help you see traffic approaching from behind.
  • Wear bright/reflective clothing.
  • Make eye contact with drivers.
  • Watch out for road hazards such as pot holes, grates, ice, gravel, etc.
  • Keep your bike well maintained.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT BIKE LAWS IN OREGON

Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about riding a bicycle in the State of Washington. Attempts were made to ensure this information is accurate and up to date. However, it is not always possible to update this information on a regular basis and you should not rely or act upon this information without first consulting with an attorney. Click here to obtain a copy of the Oregon Bicycle Manual provided by the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT). Click here to obtain a list of statutes pertaining to bicyclists in Oregon.

Do bicyclists have to wear a helmet in Oregon?

All bicycle riders under 16 years of age must wear an approved bicycle helmet when riding on a public way. See ORS 814.485.

Are bicycles and vehicles treated the same in Oregon?

Yes, bicyclists have all the same rights and responsibilities as motorists in Oregon. See ORS 814.400.

Do bicyclists or pedestrians have the right of way on sidewalks in Oregon?

Pedestrians have the right away on sidewalks. Cyclists who violate this rule can be cited with an infraction under ORS 814.410.

Are bicyclists required to use hand signals in Oregon?

Yes, unless both hands are needed to safely control or operate the bicycle. See ORS 814.440.

Are bike lights required in Oregon?

Yes, lights are required by law if riding when visibility is limited. At a minimum, you must have a white light visible at least 500 feet to the front, and a red light or reflector visible at least 600 feet to the rear. See ORS 815.280.

Can I wear a light mounted to my helmet?

Yes, using a helmet mounted light will comply with Oregon’s bicycle equipment requirements provided your light is white, facing forward, and visible for a distance of at least 500 feet. See ORS 815.280. Note that you must still have a rear-facing red reflector or red light that is visible from a minimum distance of 600 feet from all angles. See ORS 815.280.

Is it against the law in Oregon to ride on someone’s handlebars?

Yes. See ORS 814.460; see also ORS 814.470.

Are bicyclists allowed to ride on freeways in Oregon?

Cyclists are prohibited from riding on certain freeways in Oregon due to safety concerns. For a list of freeways where cycling is prohibited, click here.

What are the “Share the Road” Oregon license plates I keep seeing?

“Share the Road” license plates are available from the Oregon DMV and cost $10 for a two-year registration period. In addition to increasing bicycle awareness on public roads, proceeds from the sale of license plates benefit the Bicycle Transportation Alliance and Cycle Oregon.

Where can I get access to local Oregon bicycle maps?

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department has a number of scenic bikeway maps located on their website. Links to individual bike maps provided by federal, state, and local agencies are provided below.

What are some bicycle safety tips?

Many of the same bicycle safety tips apply equally in both Oregon and Washington. Below are safety tips provided by the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT). For additional bicycle safety tips, click here to watch a video provided by the League of American Bicyclists.

  • Maintain control of your bicycle at all times.
  • Brakes must be powerful enough to let you stop easily.
  • Tires should be in good condition and inflated to their recommended pressure.
  • Wear an approved helmet that is properly fitted and other safety gear (gloves, bright clothing, glasses, etc.)
  • Keep your hands free for steering and braking.
  • Use a white front light and red rear light or reflector at night (required by law).
  • Ride with traffic (never against).
  • Avoid road surface hazards (pot holes, loose gravel, broken glass, grates, railroad tracks, etc.).
  • Ride far enough away from parked cars so you don’t risk being hit by an opening car door.
  • Ride in a straight line.
  • Avoid blind spots.
  • Obey traffic signs and signals.
  • When stopped at a traffic light, stand and lean your bike to the side to trigger loop detectors.
  • Use hand signals when turning or stopping.
  • Stop for pedestrians at crosswalks.
  • Be visible and ride alertly.