RULES OF THE ROAD

As many locals already know, Portland is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the country. Whether you’re an experienced rider or new to urban cycling, here are a few simple tips to help you feel more comfortable and confident.

CYCLING RESOURCES
For more information on Portland’s bicycling laws, check out the Portland Biking Guide and the Oregon Bicyclist Manual. The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) also publishes interactive bike maps by neighborhood and holds Portland By Cycle bike classes and guided rides.

Biketown: how it works/rules of the road Plan a sensible route image

PLAN A SENSIBLE ROUTE

From shared traffic lanes to car-free paths, choose a route that suits your comfort level. Find bike lanes on the BIKETOWN mobile app, download PBOT's Citywide Bike Map, or use Google Maps to map out your route.

GET THE MOBILE APP
Biketown: how it works/rules of the road do a pre-ride check image

DO A PRE-RIDE CHECK

Before you start a ride: adjust the seat to fit your height, squeeze the brakes to make sure there’s resistance, and check the tires to make sure they’re not flat. If there’s a problem with the bike, end your ride and report the issue directly within the app. Then choose a different bike to continue your journey.

MEET THE BIKE
Biketown: how it works/rules of the road wear a helmet image

WEAR A HELMET

All riders are encouraged to wear a helmet while riding. Make sure yours fits snugly, wear it level on your head, and always buckle the chin strap.

LEARN HOW TO FIT YOUR HELMET
Biketown: how it works/rules of the road obey traffic signals image

OBEY TRAFFIC SIGNALS

The same laws apply to bicycles as to motor vehicles in Portland – including obeying all traffic lights and signs.

Biketown: how it works/rules of the road ride with traffic image

RIDE WITH TRAFFIC

Bicyclists are required by law to ride in the same direction as cars, and must use a bike lane when available. If there is no usable bike lane, it's best to ride on the right side of the road, unless hazardous conditions prevent it.

Biketown: how it works/rules of the road avoid sidewalks image

AVOID SIDEWALKS

Cyclists must yield to pedestrians on sidewalks – but whenever possible, it’s best to ride on the road and leave the sidewalk for pedestrian traffic only. Riding on sidewalks is prohibited in the core area of downtown Portland.

Biketown: how it works/rules of the road Cross tracks image

CROSS TRACKS WITH CAUTION

Never ride between light rail or streetcar tracks – and cross them at a right angle to avoid catching your wheel.

Biketown: how it works/rules of the road Be courteous image

BE COURTEOUS

Like motor vehicles, bicyclists must yield the right of way to pedestrians when the law requires it, such as at crosswalks and intersections. If you have the light, use your bell to alert pedestrians of your presence when necessary. Remember others may not be aware that you are coming.

Biketown: how it works/rules of the road Use hand signals image

USE HAND SIGNALS

Bicyclists are required to use hand signals to let others know where they’re going. Stick your left arm straight out to indicate a left turn. For a right turn, extend your right arm straight out, or raise your left arm and bend it upward at the elbow.

Biketown: how it works/rules of the road never ride image

NEVER RIDE DISTRACTED

Don’t text and ride! Pull over if you have to send a message or talk on the phone. It is also illegal to ride with two headphones in; one is permitted, but it’s always safer to ride without any. Being aware and predictable reduces the chance of an accident.

WANT TO BRUSH UP ON YOUR CYCLING SKILLS?

The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) offers a variety of Portland By Cycle bike classes and group rides aimed at introducing or re-introducing adults to cycling.

SEE THE SCHEDULE