Support for Oregon Senate Bill 998

Senator Dembrow,

I’m writing as one of your constituents to register my support for SB998.

If passed, this measure will support cycling in several ways. Allowing attentive, slow-rolls through stop signs heals a discrepancy between Oregon law and normal, safe cyclist behavior. Reforming the code to conform with normal cycling behavior reduces the impetus for discriminatory traffic stops.

Rectifying the traffic code in this manner also promotes cyclist safety. Stopping and starting are two of the most vulnerable actions a cyclist has to make. Enabling cyclists to stop less frequently means there are fewer instances of this vulnerable activity to negotiate.

Some people object to this and similar legislation on the principal that all road users should be constrained equally by the law regardless of their mode of transportation. While I empathize with the desire for simplicity in the Oregon code, different modes of transport have varying needs in order to appropriately support their utility and safety. Allowing slow-roll stops increases utility and does not create a safety issue for cyclists or for other road users.

It is essential that our laws do not impede citizens from engaging in safe, normal behaviors that help Oregon make headway toward humanity’s most important priority as a whole: reducing the impacts of climate change. Cycling as a means of transportation promotes this ambition in an extraordinarily cost-effective manner while simultaneously advancing our urban development and societal health goals. It is an overwhelming public good. Reducing impediments—physical, legal, and cultural—that keep our citizens off of bikes promotes Portland’s values. This legislation will advocate cycling by addressing each of those three areas.

Thank you for your service and leadership.

Clay Fouts
Portland, Oregon