Ray Thomas, Portland-based lawyer specializing in bicycle and pedestrian issues, will be giving a clinic on May 7 from 7-8:30 pm in the Madison Avenue Meeting Room at 500 SW Madison Ave. I have been to a clinic of his before and it was excellent and entertaining. I highly recommend it.
It wasn’t always the case that a motorist could kill pedestrians without penalty:
[A] 1923 editorial from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch […] opined that even in the case of a child darting out into traffic, a driver who disclaimed responsibility was committing “the perjury of a murderer.”
The [automobile] industry lobbied to change the law […] to restrict pedestrian use of the street and give primacy to cars. The idea of “jaywalking” – a concept that had not really existed prior to 1920 – was enshrined in law.
From: “The Invention of Jaywalking”, The Atlantic Cities
But, in fair Oregon, the law is on the side of the pedestrian. In short, jaywalking is not illegal in Oregon. That is, there are no statutes in Oregon that deem jaywalking illegal, and, as Ray Thomas put it:
What is not taken away is given.
That does not mean that you cannot get a traffic ticket as a pedestrian.
Continuing on the “things I learnt about Oregon Revised Statutes as they apply to me as a cyclist and pedestrian” vein, I learnt that:
811.025 (1) The driver of a vehicle commits the offense of failure to yield to a pedestrian on a sidewalk if the driver does not yield the right of way to any pedestrian on a sidewalk.
At Ray Thomas’s bicycle clinic Thursday night, my — what I had thought was well-informed — knowledge was greatly improved. I had known, and was not very happy with, the “mandatory bicycle lane use” statute:
814.420 (1) […] a person commits the offense of failure to use a bicycle lane or path if the person operates a bicycle on any portion of a roadway that is not a bicycle lane or bicycle path when a bicycle lane or bicycle path is adjacent to or near the roadway.
Why should I use a bicycle lane if I am going the speed limit, or close to it, and feel confident — safer even — in the middle of the lane? Continue reading
Ray Thomas gave a bicycle law clinic last night, and I will post on some of the highlights as I find the time over the next few days. I was very happy to be able to ask something that had worried me on and off over the past few years as (misinformed) friends warned me that if I was hit by a car (or hit a car) and sustained injuries I would have to foot the bill for any medical expenses.
Now, I’m from Canada. So the idea of ever having to pay anything for medical care already makes me shudder. But the idea that my own state-employee health insurance would not cover medical expenses from a traffic accident seems an extra oddity.
I was able to ask Ray Thomas: if you are in a traffic accident as a cyclist and you incur medical expenses as a result, who pays your hospital bills? Continue reading