Can Cars Park in Bike Lanes in Oregon?
Like a lot of things in the law the answer to whether cars can park in bike lanes is: it depends.
This is in opposition to the common belief that a bicycle lane is sacred under Oregon law.
Oregon law ORS 811.555 makes parking in prohibited places illegal. ORS 811.550 provides the list of the places parking is illegal. ORS 811.550(23) makes parking on a bike lane illegal. However, it also makes ALL of the exemptions found in ORS 811.560 applicable. Bicycle lanes and bicycle paths are the only prohibited places where all of the exemptions are allowed, not just some.
So, looking at the exemptions, it is LEGAL for a motor vehicle to park in a bicycle lane if:
The vehicle is a school bus or worker transport bus with its safety lights flashing;
The vehicle is momentarily dropping off or picking up a passenger;
The vehicle is actually engaged in the picking up or dropping off of property or passengers;
The vehicle is owned by a county or city and is parked in order to perform maintenance on the roadway;
The vehicle needs to be parked on the bicycle lane to "avoid being a conflict with other traffic" (this one is especially insulting);
The vehicle is parked in order to comply with the directions of a police officer or traffic control device;
The vehicle is disabled to such an extent that the operator cannot avoid leaving it in the bicycle lane;
The vehicle is owned by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and is stopped to enable employees to release fish;
The vehicle needs to stop to allow oncoming traffic to pass before making a turn;
The vehicle is stopped in preparation for or while negotiating an exit from the road;
The vehicle is a commercial vehicle stopped to engage in the collection of solid waste, recyclable material, or yard debris.
Charley Gee is a Portland personal injury attorney. He focuses his practice on representing injured cyclists and pedestrians throughout Oregon and Washington.