Safety needs to be a major part of any biking event - whether around the corner or around the country.
Washington County is home busy urban roads with wide bike lanes to narrow, country roads without bike lanes. All of our roads require bicycle riders and drivers to adapt to road and traffic conditions to stay safe.
Rules of the Road – Biking on the road
Bicycles in Oregon are considered vehicles, and cyclists have the same rights and the same responsibilities to follow the rules of the road as motorists. When riding, always:
- Ride with traffic. Ride on the right in the same direction as other vehicles. Go with the flow – not against it.
- Obey traffic laws. Obey all traffic signs, signals, and lane markings.
- Yield to traffic when appropriate. Almost always, drivers on a smaller road must yield (wait) for traffic on a major or larger road. If there is no stop sign or traffic signal, and you are coming from a smaller road (out of a driveway, from a sidewalk, a bike path, etc.), you must slow down and check for vehicle or pedestrian traffic before continuing.
- Be predictable. Ride in a straight line, not in and out of cars. Signal your moves to others.
- Stay alert. Watch out for potholes, cracks, wet leaves, storm grates, railroad tracks and anything else that can cause you to lose control of your bike. Listen traffic and avoid dangerous situations; don't wear a earbuds or other headset when biking.
- Look before turning. When turning, always look behind you for a break in traffic, then signal before making the turn. Watch for left- or right-turning traffic.
- Watch for parked cars. Ride far enough out from the curb to avoid the unexpected from parked cars, such as doors opening or cars pulling out.
Biking on sidewalks versus roads
The safest place for bicycle riding is on the street, where bicycles are expected to follow the same rules of the road as motorists and ride in the same direction.
However, children less than 10 years old are safer riding on the sidewalk. Follow these guidelines:
- Watch for vehicles coming out of or turning into driveways.
- Stop at corners of sidewalks and streets to look for vehicles. Make sure drivers see you before you cross.
- Enter a street at a corner, not between parked cars.
- Alert pedestrians that you are near. Say something or use a bell or horn.