What are 'cross-bikes?' The city explains

The city of Portland has installed three dozen of these "cross-bikes" across town as part of a pilot project. (KATU Photo)

There are bike lanes. There are crosswalks, and now in Portland, green rectangular things.

They look like a green crosswalk for cyclists and the Portland Bureau of Transportation calls them “cross-bikes.”

But do you know how they work or even what the law requires when bikes and cars share the road?

PBOT put in three dozen of the cross-bikes across town, part of its pilot project. But there appears to be a little confusion about how they work.

Are drivers supposed to stop for bicyclists?

It turns out, if you’re a cyclist using a cross-bike, you do not have the right of way.

“We put these cross-bikes in to let drivers know that they can expect more bicyclists,” said PBOT spokesman John Brady. “They don’t have to stop. They are not required to stop for a bicycle that is in a cross-bike.”

Brady said the cross-bikes are only installed in places where a neighborhood greenway – a residential street where bikes and pedestrians are given priority – crosses a two-lane street. And he said they appear to be working, making drivers more aware of cyclists on the roads.

But what about some other gray areas?

Question: How should I pass a cyclist in my car?

Answer: Pass on the left and give them enough room.

“If a bicyclist were to fall over, they would need enough room so the car would not hit them,” Brady said.

What if I need to make a right turn, but there is a cyclist in the bike lane?

“Drivers have to yield to people on bikes if they are in that right lane,” Brady said. “And then they can yield to the bikes and then they can turn.”

Can I drive on a neighborhood greenway?

“Cars are welcome on neighborhood greenways,” Brady said.

What if a driver does stop at a cross-bike?

“That’s a nice thing, and we encourage bikers to give them a wave,” said Brady.

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