Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My Bike Tires Are Stuffed with Cocaine for Performance Reasons Only

Some people here may remember that last year a police officer pulled me over and told me that my use of blue lights on my bike rims was illegal. Apparently though he actually pulled me over because there was a heroin sting in progress and I'd ridden right through the area, making them wonder if I was involved.
So some of us wondered if his blue light comment wasn't a farce, just an excuse to pull me over.
I had a spare moment today so I ended up looking it up.
I quickly found ORS 816.350 (4): “Vehicles operated by a police officer and used for law enforcement may be equipped with any type of police lights, but only these vehicles may be equipped with blue lights,” (emphasis mine).
A few people had actually already told me this much. Though honestly, I'd originally remembered it as something like, “... only police vehicles may have blue and red lights in combination.” Ah well. So it goes.
So we know that only police vehicles may have blue lights. But does that apply to bikes? Do they count as “vehicles”?
I'll keep you off the edge of your seats and tell you: yep.
ORS 314.400: “(1) Every person riding a bicycle upon a public way is subject to the provisions applicable to and has the same rights and duties as the driver of any other vehicle concerning operating on highways, vehicle equipment and abandoned vehicles...” (emphasis mine).
“(2)(a) A bicycle is a vehicle for purposes of the vehicle code; and
(b) When the term ‘vehicle’ is used the term shall be deemed to be applicable to bicycles.”

Guess I'll see if I can find some other color lights for my rims. Amber perhaps.

I kept looking and found a few other nice points to add.
Oregon law says that if there is a bike lane, you must use it (obviously you can swing out to turn, etc). Also that bikes can legally go on the side walk so long as they yield right of way to pedestrians and slow down when crossing streets.
And I actually remember seeing a young lady with a large print on her bag saying that the law allows a full lane to bikes. But ORS 814.430 seems to say the exact opposite: that unless you're moving the same speed as traffic, you are required by law to scooch over.

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