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.
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.