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Cellphone law doesn't apply to bicyclists

I was driving south on Holly Street recently when I saw a bicyclist. He stuck to the bike lane but didn’t have his hands on the handlebars. They were occupied, you see, jamming away on his phone. I couldn’t believe it. I drove past, giving him a wide berth, and glanced behind me to see him accidentally swerve out into traffic momentarily. The vehicle behind me almost hit him. Does the no-cellphones-while-driving law apply to bicyclists? Seems to me it should.

— A Little Shaken

Apparently not, Shaken.

According to Medford police Sgt. Trevor Arnold, the cellphone law — ORS 811.507 — applies only to motor vehicle drivers, not bicyclists.

The law you’re talking about is titled “Operating motor vehicle while using mobile electronic device.”

The offending cyclist you mentioned could certainly be held accountable under other statutes if he caused a crash, Arnold said.

“There are many traffic laws that apply to bicyclists,” Arnold wrote in an email.

In the scenario you provided, the cyclist might have violated ORS 814.440, or failure to signal a turn, as cyclists are supposed to signal their intention to stop or turn.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@rosebudmedia.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.