In the state of Oregon, bicyclist rights are comprehensive. They are designed to protect cyclists, motorists and pedestrians alike on the road. However, if you or a loved one suffers personal injury from a bike accident, you may feel lost navigating through the law. You can protect yourself by learning about the five most important bicycle rights below.

Oregon Bicycle Helmet Laws

According to Oregon bicycle helmet laws, individuals over the age of 16 are not required to wear a helmet while riding in the state Oregon. In the event of an accident, not wearing a helmet cannot be used as evidence or reasoning for the negligent party as long as the individual meets the age requirement. That said, wearing a helmet can often prevent serious injury or death, so it’s in your best interest to wear safety gear whenever you ride.

Riding on the Road

While not exactly a bicyclist’s right, Oregon bicycle laws and regulations directly affect your ability to protect yourself in case of a collision with a pedestrian or vehicle. When no bicycle lanes are present, you are legally allowed to ride your bike on the road. In fact, you should avoid riding on sidewalks as much as possible, especially in downtown Portland, Beaverton, and Hillsboro areas. Many cities ban cyclists from sidewalks entirely, which is why it is crucial to discover which ones have restrictions in place. Not knowing about bicycling restrictions cannot be used to defend your court case in the event of an accident.

Failure to Signal Turn

Motor vehicles must use a turn or hand signal continuously for a minimum of 100 feet before turning when a bicyclist is present. Likewise, bicyclists must use a hand signal before turning. Not only is this helpful information when biking in Oregon, this law protects bicyclists in case of an accident caused by improper turn signal use.

Yielding for Faster Drivers

Many bicyclists are unaware that they do not need to yield to traffic, regardless of the speed they are going. Yielding to faster traffic only applies to vehicles and specifically excludes bikes. However, bicyclists should bear as far to the right as possible, without putting their safety at risk. Oregon bike law does not require bicyclists to do this when gravel or other obstructions are present.

Following Distance

Since bicycles leave riders more vulnerable than vehicles, there is no following distance set forth by the law that they must adhere to. However, vehicles must use a reasonable following distance when sharing the road with a bicyclist. Bicycle right of way laws protect riders from being forced into unsafe situations and allow them to put their safety first when following traffic.

If you were involved in a bike accident, knowledgeable help is available. With over a decade of experience in Oregon as a bicyclist and lawyer, Paul Galm will help you focus on recovering your health while he tackles the legal system. Get in touch with us today for your free consultation! In the meantime, check out our legal blog, where we cover everything from the new stop as yield bicycle law in Oregon to common bike accident causes and how to avoid them.