A QUICK REFERENCE GUIDE TO

OREGON PEDESTRIAN LAWS

A reference for the most commonly asked questions about pedestrian laws in Oregon.

Important definitions

A pedestrian is any person afoot or using a wheelchair.  ORS 801.385.

 

A highway is not just those roads usually referred to as highways but includes every public way, road, street, thoroughfare and place used or intended to be used for the use of the general public for vehicles or vehicular traffic as a matter of right.  ORS 801.305.

 

A sidewalk is, on a highway with a shoulder, the area between the edge of the shoulder and the adjacent property line capable of being used by a pedestrian.  ORS 801.485(1).

 

A sidewalk is, on a highway without a shoulder, the portion of the highway between the edge of the roadway and the adjacent property line capable of being used by a pedestrian.  ORS 801.485(2).

 

A shoulder is the portion of the highway, whether paved or unpaved, next to the roadway.  ORS 801.480.

 

Having the right of way means that a person has the right to proceed in a lawful manner in preference to another vehicle or pedestrian approaching in such a way as to give rise to the danger of collision unless one grants the right of way to the other.  ORS 801.440.

General responsibilities pedestrians have

Even if a pedestrian complies with all provisions of the vehicle code it is not intended to relieve a pedestrian from the duty to exercise due care.  ORS 811.005.

 

A pedestrian must yield the right of way to an ambulance or other emergency vehicle when the vehicle is approaching with its emergency lights and/or siren on.  ORS 814.050.

 

A pedestrian cannot leave the curb or other place of safety and move into the path of a vehicle in such a way as to create an immediate hazard.  ORS 814.040(1)(a).

 

A pedestrian crossing the roadway at any place other than a crosswalk must yield the right of way to all vehicles.  ORS 814.040(1)(b).

 

Unless a pedestrian is granted a right of way under the law over a vehicle in the roadway a pedestrian must always yield the right of way to a vehicle in the roadway.  ORS 814.040(1)(c).

 

A pedestrian must obey all bridge and railroad signals, and cannot cross through, around, over, or under and barricades or gates while they are closed or being opened or closed.  ORS 814.030.

 

Any person that intentionally obstructs vehicular or pedestrian traffic can be arrested for disorderly conduct in the second degree.  ORS 166.025.

Rights and responsibilities when crossing the street

A crosswalk can be marked or unmarked.  ORS 801.220.

 

A marked crosswalk is any portion of the roadway, at an intersection or not at an intersection, that is distinctly indicated for pedestrian crossing by lines or other markings on the roadway.  ORS 801.220.

 

If an intersection has a marked crosswalk a pedestrian must use the marked crosswalk at the intersection to cross the roadway.  ORS 801.220.

 

An unmarked crosswalk is where the lines of the opposite facing sidewalks, shoulders, or curbs create a line and the unmarked crosswalk is up to 20 feet wide, or if there are no sidewalks or shoulders, where the crosswalk would be if there were sidewalks or shoulders (up to six feet wide).  ORS 801.220(1) and (2).

 

An intersection is created when two or more roadways join together at any angle.  ORS 801.320. 

 

An alley intersecting a roadway does not create an intersection.  ORS 801.320(3).

 

A traffic control device is any sign, marking or device placed, operated or erected by any road authority for the purpose of guiding, directing, warning, or regulating traffic.  ORS 801.540.

 

A pedestrian is considered to be crossing a roadway in the crosswalk when any part of their body, their wheelchair, cane, crutch, or bicycle moves into the crosswalk with the intent to proceed.  A pedestrian does not need to put their whole body into the crosswalk to trigger their right of way.  ORS 811.028(4).

 

When a pedestrian is crossing in a crosswalk, vehicle operators must stop and remain stopped until the pedestrian has cleared the lane the vehicle is in and the lane adjacent to the lane the vehicle is in.  For the purposes of counting lanes, a bicycle lane and a parking lane are not counted.  ORS 811.028.

 

When a vehicle is turning over a crosswalk and a pedestrian is crossing with a crossing signal the turning driver must stop and remain stopped until the pedestrian has crossed the lane they are turning into and six feet into the adjacent lane.  ORS 811.028(1)(b)(E). 

 

When a vehicle is turning over a crosswalk and a pedestrian is crossing without a crossing signal the turning driver must stop and remain stopped until the pedestrian has crossed the lane they are turning into and the adjacent lane.  ORS 811.028(1)(b)(D). 

 

A vehicle operator must stop if they approach from the rear another vehicle stopped at a marked or unmarked crosswalk to permit a pedestrian to cross regardless of the position of the pedestrian at the time.  ORS 811.020.

 

Vehicle operators must stop and remain stopped for a blind pedestrian carrying a white cane or accompanied by a guide dog who is crossing or about to cross a roadway, even if the blind pedestrian is not crossing in a crosswalk or is crossing against the direction of a traffic control device.  ORS 811.035.

 

A pedestrian must obey all traffic control devices applicable to the pedestrian unless complying with the direction of a law enforcement officer.  ORS 814.020.

 

A pedestrian facing a “WALK” signal or another symbol may proceed across a roadway.  ORS 814.410(6)(a).

 

A pedestrian facing a “WAIT”, “DON’T WALK” or another symbol may not proceed.  This means it is unlawful for a pedestrian to enter a crosswalk on any symbol other than “WALK”, including a flashing “WAIT”, “DON’T WALK”, or symbol.   ORS 814.010(6)(b).

If a signal changes from “WALK” to “WAIT”, “DON’T WALK”, or another symbol while a pedestrian is in a crosswalk they must proceed “with dispatch” to a sidewalk or safety island.  ORS 814.010(6)(b).

 

Vehicle operators are required to yield to traffic patrol members (crossing guards) in the crosswalk.  ORS 811.017, ORS 339.650.

 

A vehicle operator is not required to stop and remain stopped for a pedestrian in a crosswalk when the pedestrian is crossing the roadway on the opposite side of a safety island.  ORS 811.208(3)(a).

 

A vehicle operator is not required to stop and remain stopped for a pedestrian when the pedestrian is crossing in a crosswalk and a pedestrian safety tunnel or overhead crossing has been provided at or near the crosswalk.  ORS 811.028(3)(b).

 

A pedestrian must use a pedestrian tunnel or overhead crossing to cross a roadway one is provided.  ***note there is no exception for a person with a disability in this statute*** ORS 814.060(1). 

 

Local road authorities are permitted to regulate the movement of pedestrians in their jurisdictions by establishing crosswalks, closing crosswalks and prohibiting pedestrians from crossing in certain places, or establishing laws that prohibit crossing outside of the crosswalk (jaywalking), so it is important to know your municipal or county laws as well as the state laws.  ORS 810.080.

Rights and responsibilities when on the sidewalk

A vehicle operator must yield the right of way to any pedestrian on a sidewalk.  ORS 811.025.

 

Motor vehicle operators must stop before crossing the sidewalk when exiting an alley, driveway, or building.  ORS 811.505.

 

Operators of “electric personal assistive mobility devices” (Segways) on the sidewalk are considered pedestrians.  ORS 814.550.

 

A person is not allowed to operate a moped on a sidewalk.  ORS 814.210.

Rights and responsibilities when walking on the highway

A pedestrian is not permitted to walk upon or along a highway if there is a sidewalk or shoulder available.  ORS 814.070(1)(a).

 

If a pedestrian is walking on a two-way highway without a physical center divider that has a shoulder available but no sidewalks, the pedestrian is required to walk upon the shoulder as far as practicable from the edge of the roadway on the left side (facing traffic).  Hitchhikers are not required to walk on the left side so long as they walk backward.  ORS 814.070(1)(c).

 

If a pedestrian is walking on a two-way highway with a physical center divider that has a shoulder available but no sidewalks, the pedestrian is required to walk upon the shoulder as far as practicable from the edge of the roadway on the right side (back to traffic).  ORS 814.070(1)(d).

 

If a pedestrian is walking on a highway that does not have sidewalks nor shoulders available, the pedestrian must walk as near as practicable to the outside edge of the roadway and, if the highway is two-way, only on the left (facing traffic).  ORS 814.070(1)(e).

 

Pedestrians are allowed to walk on “narrow residential streets” so long as signs have been posted designating the street as a “narrow residential street” and the pedestrians do not create a traffic hazard.  ORS 814.070(4) and ORS 801.368.

 

Vehicle operators must yield the right of way to highway workers who are pedestrians in a highway work zone.  ORS 811.233.

Where motor vehicle operators can stop and park

A car cannot be parked or stopped on the sidewalk unless it is government owned, there was a conflict with other traffic, at the direction of a law enforcement officer, or the car is disabled.  ORS 811.555, ORS 811.550(4), and ORS 811.560(4)-(7).

 

A car cannot be parked or stopped on a shoulder unless they are on a straightaway of at least 200 feet.  ORS 811.555 and ORS 811.550(2).

 

A car cannot be parked or stopped on a crosswalk unless it is government owned, there was a conflict with other traffic, at the direction of a law enforcement officer, or the car is disabled.  ORS 811.555, ORS 811.550(6), and ORS 811.560(4)-(7).

 

A car cannot be parked or stopped within 20 feet of a crosswalk at an intersection unless it is momentarily picking up or dropping off passengers, government owned, there was a conflict with other traffic, at the direction of a law enforcement officer, or the car is disabled.  ORS 811.555, ORS 811.550(4), and ORS 811.560(2), (4), (7).

 

A car cannot be parked or stopped within 50 feet upon the approach of a traffic control device in such a way that the vehicle will obstruct the traffic control device unless it is momentarily picking up or dropping off passengers, government owned, there was a conflict with other traffic, at the direction of a law enforcement officer, or the car is disabled.  ORS 811.555, ORS 811.550(4), and ORS 811.560(2), (4), (7).

General responsibilities motor vehicle operators have to pedestrians

A “Vulnerable User of a Public Way” includes anyone who is a pedestrian.  ORS 801.608.

 

A person commits vehicular assault of a pedestrian if they drive recklessly (the person was aware of, and consciously disregarded, the substantial and unjustifiable risk that a crash will occur) and hit a pedestrian and cause the pedestrian physical injury.  ORS 811.060 and ORS 161.085(9).

 

If a vehicle operator drives in a careless manner and hurts pedestrian they may face enhanced penalties under Oregon’s Vulnerable Roadway User law.  ORS 811.135(3).

 

Even if a pedestrian violates the vehicle code it is not intended to relieve a vehicle operator from driving with due care concerning pedestrians.  ORS 811.005.

 

Any person that intentionally obstructs vehicular or pedestrian traffic can be arrested for disorderly conduct in the second degree.  ORS 166.025.

Interacting with bicyclists

If a bicycle is being operated on the highway (which includes the sidewalk) the bicyclist has all the same rights and responsibilities as a motor vehicle operator.  ORS 814.400, State of Oregon v. Potter, 185 Or.App. 81, 57 P.3d 944 (2002).

 

A bicyclist riding on the sidewalk also has the same rights and responsibilities under the law as a pedestrian.  ORS 814.410(2).

 

A bicyclist must provide an audible warning before overtaking and passing a pedestrian on a sidewalk.  ORS 814.410(1)(b). 

 

A bicyclist must yield the right of way to all pedestrians on a sidewalk.  ORS 814.410(1)(b).

 

A bicyclist is not allowed to operate a bicycle on a sidewalk in a careless manner that endangers any person or property.  ORS 814.410(1)(c).

 

A bicyclist is not permitted to operate any electric assisted bicycle on a sidewalk.  ORS 814.410(1)(e).

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