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Portland green bike box - bike lane indicates a trouble spot for drivers to pay more attention and look for cyclists and pedestrians

Bicycle Laws in Portland - The Not Always Obvious

If you've ever ridden a bike in Oregon, you know that with the fun and freedom also comes with the awareness of your responsibility. City of Portland Office of Transportation provides the source for Portland bike law information which provides answers common questions and more. In particular this is the City of Portland Article 16 rules of operation for bicycles.

Bike Helmet Law

Bike helmets are required by Oregon law for bicycle riders who are under 16 years old.

Bike Impounding Laws

A bike in Portland can be impounded for just being locked on public property for more than 72 hours - please do realize this just means on any sidewalk, for instance if you lock to a stop sign or a neighborhood street sign marker.

Private property entails more factors if you are leaving or locking a bike. A good (precautionary) measure is to just communicate with the property owner.

If you commute in Portland, you know that you frequently end up in areas where locking to a stop sign is one of the only options. If you lock on a sidewalk, take care to make sure that you are not obstructing the sidewalk in any way, especially the wheel chair ramps, and be sure your bicycle does not impede vehicles in any way, as these are each grounds for a bicycle being immediately impounded. Of course, never lock too near a fire hydrant, or a police or fire callbox, as these all must be kept absolutely clear or your bicycle may be impounded.

If your bike is impounded, "the impounding agency must make reasonable efforts to notify the owner of the impoundment and a description of how and by what date the bicycle must be claimed." You may be charged a fee for your impounded bicycle to get it out, if it was impounded for one of the types of reasons previously discussed. If your bike goes unclaimed, after 30 days the city may dispose of your impounded bike.

But What If You Want To Use Your Bike For Transportation To Portland International Airport And Need Bike Parking?

No problem. But obviously, don't don't park just anywhere, especially if you have to leave your bike for 72 hours or more. The Portland International Airport actually has free premium bike parking.

The Portland International Airport provides several options for bicycling transportation. It's also easy to connect to the Max Train and Tri Met busses and still use your bike for a part of your journey. Afterall, the Max train and Tri Met busses do quit running at night which means your bike increases your transportation options to the airport in a big way.

Check the Portland Airport (Port of Portland) website for more information and maps to help you navigate to the airport's bike parking areas.

Bicycles can be locked up in one of two ribbon racks located at the north end of the terminal building on the lower level and the south end of the terminal building near the TriMet MAX Light Rail platform on the lower level. Additional fenced parking is also available adjacent to the motorcycle parking area near the beginning/end of the multiuse path. Bicycle parking is free. http://www.portofportland.com/parking.aspx

Can You Ride A Bike On The Sidewalk In Portland?

Oregon bike law - Portland boundary of no sidewalk biking with a small exception in SW Portland. Not everywhere. The region where you cannot ride your bike on the sidewalk is not marked in Portland. The no bikes on sidewalk is locaed in the SW/NW section of Portland ~ around the downtown shopping areas. Specifically it is this area (pictured below) bounded by and including these roads: SW Jefferson, Front Avenue, NW Hoyt and 13th Avenue.

In addition, there is a small area carved out which is an exception to the no biking on the sidewalk rule.

The area that you can ride on the sidewalk within this boundary is essentially a part of the Park Blocks: west property line of SW Ninth Avenue, to the east property line of SW Park Avenue; from the property line of SW Jefferson to the south property line of SW Salmon Street.

Of course, a bicyclist is allowed to ride on the sidewalk in order to avoid a safety hazard, but this exception really means specifically only as an avoidance type of maneuver around a hazard within the cyclist's immediate area. You can also follow a designated bicycle lane or path if it leads you onto the sidewalk and this exception also provides for all access to ramps onto the bridge crossings over the Wllamette River. Of course, police officers on bike are allowed to use the sidewalks at will as are private security bike patrols.

Remember that bicycles always must yield to pedestrians.

Oregon Bike Law Resources