Oregon State Bill Pending: Bike Lanes Continue Through Intersection

Oregon House Bill 2682 - 2019

Help Oregon House Bill 2682 become law

Call to Action: Email Bend’s newly seated Oregon House Representative Cheri Helt to let her know what you think about HB 2682, the “bike lane” bill. (see image above) She and her staff can be reached at [email protected].

The bill clarifies what seems an obvious point – a gaping hole in Oregon law. It seeks to statutorily enshrine the fact drivers have an obligation to yield to people riding bikes in a bike lane, even when the lane is not painted through an intersection.

Representative Helt has not yet announced whether she will support HB 2682.  In an email exchange, her Chief of Staff Quinn Burket mentioned that,

“Representative Helt is concerned about whether or not painting lines and making yielding to bicyclists in an intersection a statutory requirement will actually make cyclists safer, because it may give bicyclists a false sense of security.”

This bill is not about perceptions about safety.  It is about holding drivers legally accountable for failing to yield.  It’s a legislative response to the tragedy of November 2017 when 31-year-old Jonathan Chase Adams was killed while bicycle commuting to work by a FedEx semi-truck driver at the intersection of NW Wall and Hill Streets in Bend. The Bend Police Department declined to cite the driver, and later, after Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel took the unusual step of issuing a traffic citation, Deschutes County Circuit Court Judge A. Michael Adler found that bike lanes do not continue through intersections and threw out the ticket.

Not supporting this bill is equivalent to saying that drivers should have no legal obligation to yield to people on bikes lawfully riding through an unmarked intersection.

What’s your opinion of HB 2682?