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.

Oregon Bicycle Helmet Law

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

Bicycles always must yield to pedestrians.

Oregon's version of the Idaho Stop Law

Riding a bicycle on the sidewalk in Oregon.

Like Portland, many towns in Oregon do not have signs alerting bicyclists not to ride on the sidewalks in the parts of town where they have such a restriction.

But, in Corvallis, you can ride a bicycle on the sidewalk everywhere except for when you see that this is prohibited with posted signs.

These codes/laws also change a little too frequently if you are a bicycle commuter.

Jump to the bottom for links to many Metro Municipal Bike Laws to get more specific bike laws for Lake Oswego, West Linn, Beaverton, Hillsboro, Salem, Eugene, Corvallis, Bend, Redmond ... you will see not just sidewalk bicycle riding, but also bicycle impounding and bicycle locking/parking codes

Where 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.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.

In Oregon, bicycles ridden on the sidewalk laws vary greatly depending on the local ordinances.

Eugene, Oregon
Biking is prohibited on sidewalks in Downtown Eugene. People biking are required to walk when using the sidewalks in Downtown (8th - 13th Avenue and Lincoln - Pearl Street).

Corvalis, Oregon
Riding a bicycle on the sidewalk in Corvallis is legal, except where indicated by signage. When riding on sidewalks, cyclists have rights and responsibilities similar to those of pedestrians.

Beaverton, Oregon
6.02.410 which formerly prohibited riding upon a sidewalk where official signs prohibited bicycle riding, has been repealed.

Hillsboro, Oregon
You may not ride on sidewalks in downtown areas. Hillsboro provides this handy, and printable, quick guide for bicycle riding rules.

The longer rule:

8.28.040 Operation on sidewalks

        A.    Bicycles, skateboards and toy vehicles may be operated on sidewalks within the corporate limits of the city except on those sidewalks under HMC 8.28.040(B) or under those conditions in HMC 8.28.040(C) and (D).

        B.    Sidewalks adjacent to streets or on public service building grounds located within the boundaries between the north line of NE and NW Lincoln Street to the south line of SW and SE Baseline Street and the east line of NE and SE 5th Avenue to the west line of NW and SW Adams Avenue.

        C.    At speeds in excess of 10 miles per hour.

        D.    Failing to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians using the sidewalk or not dismounting and walking past children at play or congestion caused by pedestrians.

Salem, Oregon

Sec. 101.100. - Riding bicycles on sidewalks. (a)The term "bicycle" means a vehicle that:(1)Is designed to be operated on the ground on wheels;(2)Has a seat or saddle for use of the rider;(3)Is designed to travel with not more than three wheels in contact with the ground;(4)Is propelled exclusively by human power; and(5)Has every wheel more than 14 inches in diameter or two tandem wheels either of which is more than 14 inches in diameter.(b)It shall be unlawful to ride a bicycle upon a sidewalk within that area bounded by and including Front Street on the west, save and except the bridges, Cottage Street on the east, Union Street on the north, and Trade Street on the south; provided this subsection shall not apply to three-wheeled bicycles being ridden by a handicapped or elderly person.(c)Whenever any person is riding a bicycle upon a sidewalk, such person shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian. (Prior Code, § 101.100; Ord. No. 183-71; Ord. No. 66-85) State Law reference— Definition of bicycle, ORS 801.150; operation of bicycles on sidewalks, ORS 814.410.

West Linn, Oregon

6.155 Bicycle Operating Rules. In addition to observing all other applicable provisions of this chapter and State law, a rider of a bicycle upon a street shall not: (1) Ride upon a sidewalk within a business district;

Bend, Oregon
Bicycles shall not be ridden on a sidewalk in the Downtown District described in section 6,190 or in the Centennial Parking Garage. 6.20.025 (1) describes the Bend Downtown District: (see the last page of the linked PDF for a map which shows the downtown district described here and titled Exhibit A, the quality isn't the best but it is easier to read while bicycling than this description). Beginning at the North side of Newport Avenue and the Deschutes River, thence South along the Deschutes River from Newport Avenue to the South side of Franklin Avenue, thence East on Franklin Avenue to the West side of Broadway Street, thence south on Broadway Street to the South side of Louisiana Avenue, thence East on Louisiana Avenue from Broadway Street to the West side of Wall Street, thence South on \Nail Street from Louisiana Avenue to the South side of Kansas Street, thence Easterly from Kansas and Wall Street through the Administrative School District property to the Southeast corner of the intersection of Kansas and Lave Street, thence Northeast on Lava Street to the North side of Franklin Avenue, thence East from the Northeast corner of Franklin Avenue and Lava Street to the West side of Division Avenue, thence North on the West side of Division to the South side of Greenwood Avenue, thence West on Greenwood Avenue to the Southeast corner of Greenwood Avenue and Harriman Street, thence North (across Greenwood Avenue) to the Northeast corner of Greenwood Avenue and Harriman Street, thence West to the Northeast corner of Greenwood Avenue and Bond Street to the Junction of Bond Street and Wall Street, crossing Wall Street to the West side of Wall Street and the Northwest corner of Wall Street and Vermont Place, thence West along the North side of Vermont Place to the Deschutes River, thence South to the Point of Beginning.

Redmond, Oregon 6.325 Bicycle Operating Rules.
2.) Not ride a bicycle on a sidewalk in any business district, except along an unimproved street. However, in a business district, bicycles may be ridden on sidewalks to deliver newspapers and messages and to make other deliveries. In addition, Redmond police officers who are operating their bicycles in the course and scope of their duties may ride on sidewalks.

In any other Oregon towns, look for the bicycles on the sidewalk laws and any other unique laws. Sometimes these can be a little challenging to find for a specific area you want to ride, and the laws also change.

Bicycle Impounding Laws / Bike Parking

These also can vary depending where in Oregon you are. The above links to sidewalk laws for various Oregon cities will also have details on bicycle impounding, bicycle parking, bicycle locking and or storage rules.

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

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

If you bicycle commute in Portland, you know that you frequently end up in areas where locking to a stop sign is one of the only options. Take care to make sure that you are not obstructing the sidewalk in any way, especially the wheel chair ramps. Check to be sure your bicycle does not impede vehicles in any way. Examples for grounds for a bicycle being immediately impounded are obstructing the sidewalk, obstructing a wheel chair ramp, or impeding motor vehicles in some manner. Also 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 in Portland, "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.

Portland International Airport
Free Bicycle Parking

The Portland International Airport provides several options for bicycle 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.

Check the Portland Airport (Port of Portland) website for more information and maps to help you navigate to the Portland Airport's bike parking areas. They even have a bicycle repair station located near the Max and one bicycle lock up area.

They've also created this helpful content with pictures to help you navigate your way to the airport on bicycle whether using the trails and connections or riding bus or Max train. They do also show images of the bicycle parking coverage but some of the bicycle racks are indeed not under the cover.

Free bicycle parking is available at the north and south end of the roadway closest to the terminal building. 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 bicycle parking is also available at the north end of the terminal building on the upper level. https://www.flypdx.com/Parking

Metro Bicycle Maps and Resources