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Tips for Safe Walking, Biking, and Riding

Walking Safety 

The following are tips for staying safe as a driver and pedestrian from The Highway Research Center at the University of North Carolina.  

Tips for Walking

  • Do not walk on freeways or restricted areas.
  • Cross or enter streets only where it is legal to do so.
  • Use sidewalks if possible.
  • If there are no sidewalks, it is safer to walk facing road traffic.
  • Make it easier for drivers to see you by dressing in light colors and wearing reflective clothing, and carry a flashlight in dark areas.
  • Don’t count on drivers paying attention, so watch out and make eye contact to be sure drivers see you!
  • Alcohol and drugs can impair the ability to walk safely, just as they do a person's ability to drive.
  • Use extra caution when crossing multiple-lane, higher speed streets, and don’t assume that because one lane has stopped, drivers in the other lanes have seen you and will also stop.
  • Do the Safety Step - A Survival Guide for Pedestrians has guidance on how to  stay safe as a pedestrian.  

Tips for Driving 

  • Drivers can come across pedestrians anytime and anywhere, even in places where you do not expect to see them.
  • Pedestrians can be very hard to see, especially in bad weather or at night, so drivers must keep a lookout and slow down if they can't see clearly.
  • When entering a crosswalk area, drive slowly and prepare to stop.
  • Stop for pedestrians who are in a crosswalk, even an unmarked crosswalk.
  • When stopping for a pedestrian in a crosswalk, stop well back so drivers in the other lanes can also see the pedestrian in time to stop.
  • Do not pass other vehicles stopped for pedestrians.
  • When turning, drivers often have to wait for a "gap" in traffic, so be aware during that period, pedestrians may have moved into the driver’s intended path.
  • Be especially cautious around schools and in neighborhoods where children are around.  

Bicycle Safety 

Bicycling is a popular way to get around in Oregon. In Oregon, bicycles are vehicles and must follow vehicle laws when riding on the road.   
The Oregon Department of Transportation’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Program gives information on pedestrian and bicyclist laws, scenic bikeways, research and workshops on bicycle and pedestrian safety, and other information.   

Tips for Biking  

  • Be visible. Wear light colored or reflective clothing. Use lights on the front and back when riding at night or in other conditions when visibility is lower.
  • Ride on the right. It is dangerous to ride on the road against the direction of traffic.
  • Signal lane changes and turns with hand signals. Drivers often are very nervous driving around bicyclists because they don’t know what to expect. They will generally give you more space and time to make your turn if they know what you intend to do.
  • Take the lane when necessary. If a lane is so narrow that passing is dangerous, you may need to take the lane briefly to make that clear to drivers behind you. Also, take the lane when moving at the speed of traffic, such as when traveling down hills or on downtown streets.
  • Stay out of the “door zone.” Be far enough away from parked cars that if someone opens a door without looking, you don’t have to swerve suddenly.
  • Obey traffic laws. Bicycles are vehicles under state traffic laws. 

Tips for Driving 

  • Be especially cautious around schools and in neighborhoods where children are active. These are places where you are most likely to find children on bicycles.
  • Leave a safe distance between your car and a bicyclist when passing.
  • When you are traveling at a speed greater than 35 mph, you may only pass a bicyclist by driving to the left when the passing distance is sufficient to prevent contact with the person operating the bicycle if the person were to fall into the driver’s lane. If passing safely is not possible, you must slow down and follow until you can safely pass.
  • Don’t follow too closely. Bicyclists are allowed to “take the lane” if there is not room for drivers to safely pass. Most bicyclists would prefer to be out of your way, and will allow you to pass as soon as safely possible.
  • Do not honk at a bicyclist, unless you have good cause to warn the rider you are close by. The loud noise could startle the rider. There may be a good reason for the bicyclist to be riding in the travel lane, such as roadway hazards not visible to motorists.
  • Check the bike lane before turning. The bike lane is a travel lane. Be sure to check for bicycles in the lane when turning across it. Bicyclists often move as quickly as cars, particularly in the city. If you’ve just passed a bicyclist, check to make sure there is plenty of space before turning across their path.
  • Look before opening your door so you don’t open your door in front of other cars, bikes, or pedestrians. 

Motorcycle Safety 

Tips for Motorcyclists

  • A motorcyclist should attend a rider-training course to learn how to operate the vehicle and to get the required license to ride a motorcycle in Oregon.
  • The Oregon DMV provides a Motorcycle and Moped Manual. It has information about road rules and safe riding practices.
  • Follow the rules of the road, be alert to other drivers, and wear protective gear. 
  • DMV considers most mopeds and scooters a motorcycle so you should not ride one without a permit. 

Tips for Driving

  • Allow a motorcycle a full lane width and signal your intentions to avoid a motorcycle being in your blind spot.
  • Allow a longer following distance from a motorcycle than with other vehicles.