Rules Of The Road

I’m not sure why Zane Hager (Letters, Dec. 27) chose to obfuscate the legal issues regarding bicycle use on sidewalks. All I know is that he is 100-percent wrong.

The complete text of the portion of the law he cites (ORS 814.420 (1) (b)) is easily searchable: “… a person commits the offense of failure to use a bicycle lane or path if the person operates a bicycle on any portion of a roadway that is not a bicycle lane or bicycle path when a bicycle lane or bicycle path is adjacent to or near the roadway.”

Since a sidewalk is not “a portion of a roadway,” there is generally no offense for choosing to ride on the sidewalk instead of the road, unless there is a specific law prohibiting riding on a specific sidewalk, e.g. certain sidewalks in downtown Corvallis.

Moreover, the Oregon law provides exceptions even for the above offense if necessary to “avoid debris or other hazardous conditions.” (ORS 814.410 does spell out the rules for riding on sidewalks, which I would advise bicyclists to be aware of and follow when choosing not to ride on the road.)

We already have enough politicians playing fast and loose with the facts; adding one more untruth can only make all of us crazier than we already are.

Please, everyone, fact check yourselves.

John Tietjen


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