By Joseph Rose
February 9, 2011
The Oregon Senate has voted 28-1 to pass a bill that would make red, yellow and green bicycle signals to the state’s officially recognized traffic control devices.
The Oregon Department of Transportation is backing SB 130 and is moving to the House for a vote.
The Oregonian’s Janie Har tweeted that the only “no” vote came from Sen. Jeff Kruse, R-Roseburg, who decried “special perks for cyclists.” (We can’t figure out how making the roads safer for one of the fastest-growing forms of commuting in the state is a “perk.”)
It essentially brings uniformity to intersections for motorists and bicyclists. Under the bill, for example, “a bicyclist facing a steady yellow bicycle signal shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, shall stop before entering the marked crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or if there is no marked crosswalk, then before entering the intersection. If a bicyclist cannot stop in safety, the bicyclist may proceed cautiously through the intersection.”
The change is intended to make intersections, especially those on busy urban streets, less confusing and, ultimately, safer for both bicyclists and motorists.
At a hearing earlier this month, Peter Koonce, Portland’s chief signal manager, testified that the bill “will codify a technique that we have used to remove confusion and improve the safety of our streets.”