Share the Road - Oregon Laws

The 2007 Legislature passed a couple of bills that modify pedestrian and bicyclist related laws; effective Jan 1, 2008. The revised ORS language is not yet available. Below is a summary of the bills that passed.

SB 108 --- Crossview Mirrors/Passing Bicyclist Safely
SB 108 requires commercial delivery trucks over 10,000 pounds gross weight to be equipped with “crossview” mirrors. Crossview mirrors enable the driver to see people and objects directly in front of the vehicle.  In addition, SB 108 allows a driver to pass a bicyclist only on the left and at a safe distance from the cyclist. A safe distance is a distance sufficient to prevent contact between the vehicle and the cyclist if the cyclist were to fall into the driver’s lane of travel. This rule does not apply when driver is traveling in a lane adjacent to a designated bicycle lane, on roads with a speed less than 35 mph, or when the cyclist is turning left.
This bill resulted in the creation of ORS 815.237 and 811.065 and modifications to 811.485.  ORS 815.237 requires cross view mirrors on heavy vehicles.  ORS 811.485 requires a safe following distance.  ORS 811.065 requires the buffer distance between motor vehicles and bicycles on roads greater than 35 mph as described in the above paragraph.
SB 567 --- Towing of Vehicles
Road authorities (the Oregon Department of Transportation, a county or a city) have broad discretion to remove any vehicle from a bike lane or highway shoulder when it is a hazard or obstruction to traffic.  The authority to remove such vehicles is clearly granted under current law on freeways within cities during the morning and evening rush hours.

SB 567 allows road authorities to remove vehicles weighing less than 26,001 pounds that are a hazard or obstruction from a freeway shoulder at any time. Road authorities may remove large vehicles (those weighing more than 26,000 pounds) during the morning and evening rush hours.

SB 789 ---“Share The Road” Registration Group Plate
SB 789 authorizes the Oregon Department of Transportation to issue a “Share the Road” group plate.

The department will consult with the Bicycle Transportation Alliance and Cycle Oregon to design the plate. “Share the Road” group plates will be made available to vehicle owners for a one-time surcharge of $10 ($5 per plate) in addition to the required vehicle registration fee.  The department will credit the proceeds from “Share the Road” plates, less the department’s expenses, to the Bicycle Transportation Alliance and Cycle Oregon. Both organizations are private non-profits.  They will use the money to improve awareness of responsibility to share the road and improve bicycle and pedestrian safety.
This bill resulted in modifications to ORS 805.205, adding the “Share the Road” license plate to the list of special license plates.
SB 829 ---Pedestrian Crossings on MAX Light Rail System
SB 829 requires the Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District (Tri-Met) to commission an independent study of pedestrian.
HB 3314---Careless Driving Penalties
HB 3314 enhances the penalties associated with careless driving when the person convicted of this offense also contributed to the serious physical injury or death of a “vulnerable user of the public way.”

Under the bill, a “vulnerable user” includes a pedestrian, a highway worker, a person riding an animal, the operator or user of a farm tractor, a skateboard, roller skates, in-line skates, a scooter, or a bicycle.  HB 3314 requires a court to sentence a person convicted of this offense to complete a traffic safety course, perform 100 to 200 hours of community service, pay a fine of up to $12,500, and suspension of driving privileges for one year. Payment of the fine and suspension of driving privileges may be waived by the court upon completion of the traffic safety course and community service.

This bill resulted in the creation of ORS 801.608 and modifications to ORS 811.135.  ORS 801.608 defines a “vulnerable user” and ORS 811.135 describes additional penalties for careless driving when vulnerable users are affected.  

Information provided by the Oregon Department of Transportation: