Three Wins for Transportation Partners at the Oregon State Legislature

Later this month, Governor Kitzhaber is expected to sign three new bills into law that make Oregon’s streets safer for all road users. Both the House and Senate approved the new legislation in support of lowering speed limits, a safer crosswalk law, and protection for vulnerable users.

Fanno Creek Crosswalk

New legislation will help cities lower speed limits, protect vulnerable users, and clarify Oregon’s crosswalk law. Above, new crosswalk on the Fanno Creek Trail in Washington County. Photo by Will Vanlue.

The Bicycle Transportation Alliance passed SB 415 to improve police officers’ ability to enforce the existing Vulnerable Road User law. The new law allows officers to note that the offense “appears to have” contributed to the serious physical injury or death of a vulnerable user, rather than requiring officers to conclude the cause of serious physical injury or death.

The Willamette Pedestrian Coalition passed SB 424, which clarifies and strengthens Oregon’s crosswalk law. Specifically, the legislation states that a person is crossing the street “when any part or extension” of the individual’s body, wheelchair, cane, crutch, bicycle or leashed animal enters the roadway.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation passed a fantastic bill, HB 3150, which will make it easier for communities to lower speed limits on their streets. This means neighborhood greenways can reduce the speed limit to 20 mph. As bicyclists, we’ve just gained a powerful ally and tool in our quest for more, safer bike facilities.

The BTA congratulates the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition, the Portland Bureau of Transportation, and all Oregonians who called, emailed, or lobbied with legislators directly to help pass these bills. These victories validate our vision of a bolder agenda for future legislative sessions.


Comments (1)

  1. Vernon Huffman Permalink  | Mar 22, 2012 12:45pm

    The nexus of peak oil and global climate change are forcing our society to deal with our petroleum addiction. Cars are killing us. To kick this habit we must demand that officials at every level of government practice some tough love. Here are our suggestions for the Oregon State Legislature.
    1. Stop all funding for paving and road improvement projects, except those which can be proven to make a substantial improvement for mass transit, pedestrians, or bicycles.
    2. Require commercial driver’s licenses for all operators of large vehicles, regardless how the vehicle is used. Motor homes and camp trailers present more danger on the road than trucks and buses do.
    3. Assist police departments to remain aware of accident statistics and develop enforcement plans designed to reduce road fatalities and injuries.
    4. Pass the Idaho Stop Law to allow bicycles to treat stop signs as yield signs.
    5. Require older motor vehicle operators and those who have had suspended licenses to retest to prove competence before reissuing a license.
    6. Support transit services in coordination of schedules and promotion to enable riders to easily transfer across systems.
    7. Establish multimodal centers at every train station to encourage transit users, pedestrians, and cyclists transferring to and from all trains. Require trains to offer roll-on service to bicycles.
    8. Require all roads which have a rumble strip on the right shoulder to have at least three foot wide smooth pavement to the right of the rumble strip.
    9. Empower transit services to experiment with jitney, shared vehicles with flexible, demand driven routing. Provide Dial-a-Ride for all.
    10. Raise the gas tax substantially to enable all transit services to remove fares.
    We are challenged to embrace a car-free future. With a little global and historical perspective, we realize that 99% of the humans that have walked the earth did so without cars. We will survive and even thrive without the pollution, highway deaths, and physical disabilities that cars create. It’s time to proclaim that healthy vision.