This is all about U (turns)

I would like for you to clear the air about U-turns. I have come across a lot of people who seem to think it's OK to make a U-turn wherever they please — on Biddle Road, for instance, where there are breaks in the center for turns onto side roads.

I have almost gotten into wrecks because out of the blue someone decides to make a U-turn in front of me and I wasn't expecting it because U-turns are illegal in the state of Oregon except where signs are posted. They often can't even make a complete turn and end up on the far side of the road, making it hazardous for anyone who might be turning off the side road onto Biddle or elsewhere.

I know that if I do get into a wreck with them that it wouldn't be my fault, but it is an inconvenience and a safety issue.

— Kim P.

There's not much air to clear here, Kim. You've done a fairly good job of stating your case. I'll make a few clarifications to what you wrote, however.

U-turns are legal in Oregon under certain circumstances. The illegal violations usually take place at signalized intersections. Most places on Biddle Road are illegal for U-turns because the statute says no U-turns at signalized intersections unless posted otherwise, such as where Biddle Road intersects with Morrow Road and farther north at Hilton Road.

There is one instance of a nonsignalized intersection at Biddle Road and Superior Court where a U-turn would be permitted. A lot of the center breaks you're referring to have shrubs planted in the median, which blocks the visibility of oncoming lanes. The U-turn statute (ORS 811.65) prohibits making a U-turn at any place where the turning driver cannot be seen by another driver, from either direction, for a distance of at least 500 feet, within incorporated city limits.

Dace Cochran, a patrol sergeant with the Jackson County Sheriff's Department, writes a weekly Q&A column on police issues for the Mail Tribune. Have a question for him? Write to Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501, or e-mail

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