Stop Signs are optional

Illustration by Rachel Schuldt

This New Year's day, you've got one more reason to celebrate as someone who commutes by bicycle around Bend.  You will no longer will be required to come to a full halt at a stop sign or a flashing red beacon.  If you find it safe and conditions allow, you don't have to completely kill your momentum.  Horray!  But, as they say, "Conditions apply." Read on for details.

Here's an excerpt from a press release from City of Bend staffers on the changes to the state-wide driving law.

...When can a person riding a bike Yield instead of Stop? The new rules apply at intersections controlled by a stop sign or flashing red beacon. The person riding a bike needs to slow to a reasonable speed, yield to anyone in the intersection, and not approach too closely to others that might create a hazard. People riding bicycles must stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, make every effort to avoid an accident, and follow the directions of a police officer or flagger.

How do I decide when to yield or stop? It is up to the person riding the bike to determine at each intersection based on their skills, speed, and assessment of conditions, vehicles, pedestrians, or other people in the intersection when to yield or stop. The new law just gives people riding bikes the option to yield instead of completely stopping under certain conditions. When in doubt, just stop.

Where can I read the details of the new law? The full details of the new law are found in Oregon Senate Bill 998 enacted this past August to update Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) 811.260 and 811.265. The state is in the process of updating the website, so the new details may not yet be found in the ORS. Violations to the rule are considered improper entry to an intersection, a Class D traffic violation subject with fines of $115, or $225 if in a work zone or school zone.

One last very important note: people on bicycles still must come to a full stop at a solid red light.

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