The Oregon Senate today passed a bill clarifying that bike lanes legally extend through intersections whether or not lines are marked.
House Bill 2682, sponsored by Rep. Rob Nosse (D-Portland) and Rep. Sheri Schouten (D-Beaverton), comes after two court rulings in Oregon in the past decade which found that the legal rights of cyclists disappeared in intersections where there were no bike lane markings.
The bill now goes to Gov. Kate Brown, where spokesperson Kate Kondayen says it will be reviewed by a legal team before Brown decides whether or not to sign it into law. "She doesn't often express her predisposition to sign a bill before that process is complete," Kondayen says.
In 2009, Bike Portland reports, a Portland judge ruled that a driver who made a sudden right turn and hit a biker was not liable because there were no painted bike lane lines in the intersection. And in 2018, a judge in Bend found that a cyclist who was struck and killed in an intersection by a FedEx driver didn't have the protection of a bike lane.
Nosse wrote in a testimony that the bill was born out of concern for "constituents that choose cycling as their method of transportation."
"Accidents happen and they're stressful," Nosse wrote. "This bill will help alleviate some of the potential stress from a cycling accident that occurs in an intersection."
The bill, which will now become Oregon law, is supported by the Portland Bureau of Transportation and the Oregon Department of Transportation. Both agencies call the measure a necessary clarification to existing legislation.
"Due to a recent court interpretation, HB 2682 is needed to clarify the interaction between bicyclists and motorists at intersections of streets with marked bicycle lanes," PBOT's interim director, Chris Warner, wrote in a March 27 testimony. "Without this bill, intersections could become unclear and more dangerous."