2020 Oregon Laws: Bicycle Stops and Plastic Bags

With a New Year comes new regulations for the state of Oregon, including House Bill 2509, aka the “Sustainable Shopping Initiative,” and Senate Bill 998, which allows cyclists to perform an “Idaho stop.” Both bills were passed in June, and will come into effect January 1, 2020.   

Sustainable Shopping Initiative 

With HB 2509, the rest of Oregon will be catching up with Corvallis, Portland and Eugene in banning retailers from providing single-use plastic shopping bags. The bill will also require retailers to charge a minimum of 5 cents for paper or reusable bags. The fee is intended to help train shoppers to bring their own bags, as well as make up for the cost of switching to reusable bags. 

“Plastic bags are so much cheaper than the recycled paper bags,” Shawn Miller of the Northwest Grocery Association told OPB. “It doesn’t cover the cost between the difference in those two bags, but it helps make sure grocery costs aren’t going to increase because of the cost shift when you ban plastic.” 

HB 2509 specifically applies to checkout bags — plastic bags will still be allowed for produce and  bulk goods.  

Restaurants will also be prohibited from providing single-use bags for takeout. However, they will be exempt from the 5 cent charge on paper bags.  

Idaho Stop 

Under SB 998, bicyclists will be allowed to pass by stop signs or signals at intersections as long as they slow down to a safe speed and yield to traffic. As Idaho was the first state to implement such a law, the technique has become known as the “Idaho stop.”  

According to a study by UC Berkeley, cycling accidents in Idaho decreased by 14 percent when a year after the law was enacted. 

Of course, risky behavior has also been taken into account, as cyclists who fail to yield at a stop sign intersection can look forward to a fine of up to $250. 

In an interview with KATU News, Lt. Budreau of the Medford Police Department said “Laws like this apply to really everyone. They need to remember that everyone needs to take part in traffic safety, everyone has to look out for each other whether you’re on a bicycle or in a car. You got to look out for one another to avoid potential collisions.”    

By Brandon Urey