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Drivers Be Aware: New Oregon Law Changes the Way Bicyclists Can Treat Some Intersections

A cyclist stopped on the streetAs of January 1, a bicyclist may now YIELD at stop signs and red flashing lights, as opposed to coming to a full stop, providing they:

  • slow to a safe speed;
  • yield right-of-way to traffic lawfully in the intersection or traffic close enough to pose an immediate hazard;
  • yield to pedestrians;
  • obey the directions of a police officer or flagger; and
  • exercise care to avoid an accident.

Again, the new law only applies to intersections controlled by a stop sign or a flashing red light. At all other traffic control signals and lights, bicyclists must obey the signal; meaning, if it's a red light, they must make a full stop.

The key point is that bicyclists are permitted to “yield” instead of being required to come to a full stop at stop signs or flashing red lights. This does not mean a bicyclist always has the right-of-way in these types of intersections. For example, if a bicycle approaches an intersection controlled by a stop sign and there are already cars stopped at the intersection obeying the stop sign, the bicyclist must yield to the cars that are close enough to pose an immediate hazard. 

When can a bicyclist legally ride through without stopping? Only when there are no cars present or close enough to present a hazard, and only at stop sign or flashing red light intersections.

Oregon Senate Bill 998 takes effect on January 1, 2020 and regardless of this new law, it is incumbent upon all bicyclists and motorists to share the road safely and respectfully.

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