Bike safety tips

Stay safe and enjoy Portland's bike-friendly culture.

Bike and car downtownA cyclist and motorist share the road in downtown Portland.

Portland loves bikes, but it’s still important to be armed with knowledge and cycle safely.

Know the Law

The Portland Bureau of Transportation provides a page with all the relevant state and city laws pertaining to cyclists.

Note: Portland city ordinances prohibit riding bicycles on sidewalks in the downtown area bounded by SW Jefferson Street, SW Naito Parkway, NW Hoyt Street and 13th Avenue.

Sharing the Road

Most Portland drivers are comfortable sharing the road with bicyclists — in fact, many of those drivers are counting the hours until they can get on their own bikes and ride. However, it’s still a good idea for cyclists to be careful and ride defensively. Some Portland streets are geared more toward cyclists than others, so it’s a good idea to review the biking and walking maps from the Portland Bureau of Transportation.

Bike Boxes

Portland has 15 intersections with green “bike boxes.” These are designed to prevent collisions between cyclists using bike lanes and motorists making right turns. Here’s how they work:

  • When the light is red, bicyclists should stop inside the green box. (Motorists must stop at the white line behind the box.)
  • Bicyclists can turn right on a red light at bike box intersections; drivers cannot.
  • Bicyclists have the right of way on a green light.

Bike Lane Variations

The city is testing two other alternatives to traditional bike lanes downtown: the Portland State University Cycle Track demonstration project on Southwest Broadway from Clay to Jackson; and buffered bike lanes on Southwest Oak between Naito Parkway and Ninth Avenue, and Southwest Harvey Milk Street between Naito and 13th. Use the links above to learn more.

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