Oregon Motorcycle Law

Do I have to wear a helmet on my motorcycle in Oregon?

Oregon law requires you to wear an approved motorcycle helmet whenever you ride a motorcycle or moped, as either a driver or passenger. Helmets must have a label on them saying they meet U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) standards.

Is lane sharing legal in Oregon for motorcycles?

Oregon law allows motorcycles to ride two abreast in a single lane, but this is not a recommended safety practice. The Oregon Motorcycle and Moped operating manual actually advises that you ride in the center of the lane in order to discourage another motorcycle from trying to share the lane with you. They further suggest that you try to keep that space cusion around your motorcycle so that you have more room to operate your motorcycle when the unexpected happens in traffic and you have more room then for evasive maneuvers. Sharing a lane with a car while passing them is commonly known as "lane splitting" and is not legal in Oregon. Lane splitting can leave you vulnerable to the unexpected and reduces your space cushion. Do not ride between rows of stopped or moving motor vehicles. This is illegal in Oregon and can be dangerous.

Do I have to do anything special in order to carry a passenger on my motorcycle or moped?

Oregon law requires a motorcycle passenger to sit on a permanent and regular seat. A passenger must straddle the motorcycle and use foot pegs, unless riding in a sidecar.

You cannot carry a passenger on a moped.

Do I have to have insurance on my motorcycle in Oregon?

Oregon's insurance law requires every driver to insure their vehicle, including a motorcycle or moped, if it is operated on any highway or on premises open to the public. The minimum amount of liability insurance required is:

  • Bodily injury and property damage liability—$25,000 per person; $50,000
  • per accident for bodily injury to others; and $20,000 per accident for damage to property of others.
  • Uninsured motorist coverage—$25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident for bodily injury.

Oregon personal injury protection (PIP) insurance coverage is mandatory for all auto insurance, but not motorcycle insurance. It is possible to have PIP benefits for a motorcycle but you would have to specifically ask your insurer for the PIP coverage and pay for the additional coverage. If you do not have health insurance, I highly recommend paying for the addition of PIP benefits as it will not increase your monthly insurance costs significantly while providing real benefits: no-fault medical coverage. In addition to medical coverage, your personal injury protection insurance provides wage loss coverage and loss of essential services for up to $30 a day.

What is the deal with red lights and motorcycles / bicycles in Oregon?

The "dead red" bill - for when traffic lights are unresponsive to a motorcyclist or bicyclist. The new law permits a bicyclist or motorcyclist to proceed through a red light only after it failed to go through one full cycle -- and then only if done with caution.

This Oregon Senate Bill 533 passed unanimously in 2015. Relating to authority to proceed at a stop light; creating new provisions; and amending ORS 811.260, 811.265 and 811.360 Rules of the Road for Drivers.

Portland Motorcycle Operating FAQs from Portland Bureau of Transportation PBOT

Portland has its own city codes. You may also find some parking deals for motorcycles and scooters / mopeds.

Where can I attach my parking receipt to prevent its theft?

Portland asks you to place the receipt on or near the motorcycle seat while you are parked. You should note that some receipts have two parts to it. The larger section is for you to attach to the vehicle and the smaller section is for your records. It is very important that you detach the smaller one and keep it for your records. Should the one on your vehicle be lost or stolen you will be able to prove you paid by presenting the smaller part of the receipt. For receipts that do not have two parts, attach the payment to the seat or other secure location. It is helpful to write your license plate number on the receipt to prevent theft. Also, if you pay with credit card the Bureau of Transportation can quickly retrieve your payment information. There are several commercially available parking receipt holders that increase security as well.

In Portland, can more than one motorcycle or scooter legally share the same full-size parking spot? Do all of the motorcycles or scooters need to purchase a parking receipt?

Yes, it is possible to park as many motorcycles and/or scooters as will fit into a standard parking space. Although City Code does not state this, there is code language stating that the vehicle(s) must be within the space markings. Please note that the vehicle may not park anywhere there is yellow curb tape or paint. Title 16.20.120 - D All of the motorcycles and/or scooters must pay to park. If the vehicle is parked on the street and it is a pay-to-park block you are required to pay. You would receive an "Overtime" citation if you did not pay. You could also be given a second citation for an additional if you were to stay longer than the time limit allowed for that block.Title 16.120.190 - A.

Do I have to have a special license on my motorcycle or moped?

For motorcycle riders, Oregon law requires a valid motorcycle-endorsed driver license or a valid motorcycle instruction permit.

Moped riders are not required to have a motorcycle endorsement license. However, moped operators must have a valid class C or higher driver's license. Oregon does not have a specialized moped instruction permit. However, mopeds today may be more powerful than traditional mopeds, the law actually states, "If you are riding a bike that has an independent power source and can go over 30 mph on level ground, unassisted, you must have a motorcycle endorsement." As many mopeds are capable of hitting 50 - 60 mph.

The Oregon DMV Motorcycle and Moped Manual breaks down the legal definitions of moped, scooter, pocket bike, motorcycle, and what is required for legal roadway operation for you and your specific bike.

What is required motorcycle equipment for street use in Oregon?

All motorcycles and mopeds must have:

  • At least one but not more than three, white headlights. Modulating headlights are allowed during daylight hours. Oregon law requires that the headlight be on at all times.
  • At least one red taillight.
  • One white license plate light.
  • At least one red brake light.
  • Amber turn signal lights if the motorcycle was built after 1972.
  • A red reflector on the rear.
  • At least one rear view mirror.
  • One horn.
  • Fenders on all wheels.
  • At least one brake operated by hand or foot.
  • An exhaust system in good working order and in constant operation (or, in the case of mopeds, when the engine is running), which prevents the vehicle from discharging any visible emissions and keeps exhaust noise levels at or below standards set by the Department of Environmental Quality.
  • All lighting must be DOT compliant.

Converting Motorcycles designed for "Off-Road Use Only" to Street Use.

Motorcycles designed for "Off-Road Use Only" may not be able to be made street legal, even by purchasing a "street kit" from a motorcycle dealership or parts house. Off-road use only motorcycle engines may not meet federal Department of Environmental Quality standards for street use. Check with the

​Here is the Oregon DOT page with the details, see the "Off-Road Motorcycles" Tab and open:

"Q: Can an off-road class III ATV Dirt Bike be made street legal? A: Some dirt bikes can be made street legal, some can not ..."
With the Steps to take to find out your particulars.

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