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Ask A Cop: When can I pass?

Editor’s note: Every week a Lake Oswego police officer answers your questions in this space. Please send your questions to reporter Cliff Newell at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 503-636-1281, ext. 105.

“With school back in session, what are the laws regarding passing a school bus with flashing yellow and red lights?

An easy way to remember what to do is to remember that, as with traffic signals, yellow flashing lights mean stop if you can now and red flashing lights mean you must stop. Oregon law requires motorists in all lanes of travel to come to a complete stop when a bus displays flashing red lights and remain there until the bus turns off the flashing lights. The only exception to this rule is if a bus is stopped on a highway divided by a concrete divider.

Most school buses in the Lake Oswego area have an arm that extends when the flashing red lights are activated. If the bus does not have an extending arm, it does not mean that you can ignore the flashing red lights and pass the bus. TREATThe arm is merely another tool the bus driver can use to communicate with other motorists that children are either entering or exiting the bus.

Passing a school bus with red lights flashing is a Class A violation carrying a fine of $435.

— Lt. Doug Treat of the Lake Oswego Police Department



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