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Driving Myth #3: Bicycles on the Sidewalk

Myth No. 3:  I can ride my bicycle on a sidewalk just the same as riding on the street.

Here we have another great source of Portland arguments and displays of verbal versatility. Portland pedestrians frequently voice their opinion that there should be a law protecting them from cyclists using sidewalks. Well, there is such a law.

ORS 814.410 – Unsafe Operation of a Bicycle on a Sidewalk. Before any of the pedestrians gets too excited, this statute does not ban bicycles from sidewalks, but it does protect pedestrians from cyclists going too fast. The statute specifically states that:

  • A bicyclist can operate at a speed no faster than walking pace when passing any pedestrians.
  • The bicyclist must give an audible warning when passing any pedestrian.
  • The bicyclist must also slow to no more than a walking pace when:
    • Crossing a driveway entrance or exit
    • Leaving the sidewalk to enter the roadway
    • Entering the roadway at a crosswalk

The last three elements of that statute are clearly designed to give motorists a fair chance to spot the bicyclist when the bike either enters the road or passes a driveway.

Video Provided by the Portland Police Bureau.