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Increase in Oregon bike lanes leaving no room for semi trucks, literally

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Expansion of Oregon bike lanes leaving no room for semi trucks as buffer zones, bike lanes encroach into space for traffic. 

In recent years, the expansion of bike lanes and the buffer zones separating them from the lanes of traffic have increased in width to accommodate bikers and pedestrians. Instead of widening the entire road, these buffer zones have encroached into the lanes of traffic, making for narrower roads that are difficult for commercial trucks to travel without driving inside of the buffer zone. 

Now, the trucking industry says these bike lanes are causing concerns about crashes with pedestrians when drivers are forced to use the buffer zones to fit in the lanes and avoid crashes with oncoming traffic. As a result, trucking organizations such as the Oregon Trucking Association want to change the law to make driving on the buffer zone legal for commercial trucks, reported Bike Portland.

“A lot of this has to do with designated freight routes throughout the state,” said Oregon Trucking Association Government Relations Policy Advisor Mark Gibson. 

“Which unfortunately, today those freight routes go through the middle of a lot of urban areas and a lot of times there are no other options for trucks… That’s really what we’re trying to solve. There’s a great deal of stress, being a truck driver in an urban environment.”

“We’re trying to provide safety for all users… We’re the ones delivering all the rock pavement concrete through all of these urban urban contexts. And that’s why we get so passionate about it, because for our drivers it’s very difficult for them to make that happen.”

Oregon Trucking Association Government Relations Policy Advisor Mark Gibson and Associated General Contractors Board Member Walt Gamble, have submitted a proposal to add a new definition of “buffered space” into the Oregon Vehicle Code, which would give truckers more freedom to drive within the buffer zones without facing legal consequences. The bill is expected to be filed by February 5th. 

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