June 05, 2012 11:45The Portland Police Bureau has released a series of videos that discuss the top five most common traffic myths. In the videos, Sergeant Bret Barnum of the Portland Police Traffic Division discusses traffic laws that often confuse drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists.
The five videos discuss the following myths or excuses people say to Traffic officers:
#1 "The light was yellow; I thought I could speed up and make it through."
ORS 811.265 - Failure to Obey a Traffic Control Device requires vehicles to stop at a yellow light just as they would for a red light. A vehicle may only proceed through a yellow light if they cannot stop safety.
#2 "As a pedestrian, I always have the right of way over motor vehicles."
ORS 811.005 - Duty to Exercise Due Care requires pedestrians to exercise care when entering onto a roadway.
#3 "I can ride my bicycle on a sidewalk just the same as riding on the street."
ORS 814.410 - Unsafe Operation of a Bicycle on a Sidewalk requires a bicyclist to operate at no faster than a walking pace when passing any pedestrian. The bicyclist also needs to give an audible warning when passing. In addition, a bicyclist on a sidewalk, needs to slow to no more than a walking pace when crossing a driveway entrance or exit; or when the bicyclist leaves the sidewalk into the roadway or at a crosswalk.
# 4: "I can use the left turn lane (or designated center turn lane), as a merging lane or a lane of travel to get up to my anticipated turning point."
ORS 811.346 Misuse of Special Left Turn Lane requires a vehicle to use the continuous left turn lane only for turning into, or out of a driveway. However, you can use this lane to turn from a driveway in order to merge into a driving lane of traffic as long as you stop and remain stopped prior to merging with traffic. Using the lane to pass traffic in order to reach your turning point is against the law.
#5 "Slowing down or moving a lane away from stopped emergency vehicles is only a courtesy and not a law"
ORS 811.147 Failure to Maintain Safe Distance from Emergency Vehicles requires motorists to make a lane change away from an emergency vehicle--this includes police, fire, ambulances, roadside assistance vehicles, and tow vehicles.
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Sgt. Pete Simpson