In Idaho for the past 35 years, cyclists have been allowed to treat stop signs like yield signs. After determining an intersection is safe, bicyclists are allowed to just roll through, preventing a loss of momentum or balance. Until recently, Idaho was the only state where this was allowed. Delaware recently passed a bill that would legalize the “Idaho stop” there, and the campaign is ramping up to make it legal in California as well.
New Idaho Stop Bill
A bipartisan bike bill (AB 1103) would do just that. And advocates hope that, since California is the nation’s most populous state and highly influential, that a change here could help other states adopt the practice.
Several states have tried and failed to enact an Idaho stop law, despite a study by DePaul University showing that 96 percent of cyclists have, at some point, treated a stop sign like a yield. Millions do every day, yet it usually does not result in catastrophe. And actually, in Idaho, injury collisions went down after the Idaho stop law passed.
Advocates in California use this bit of data to argue that the law as it is less safe than it would be if the Idaho stop was legalized. This is because it increases bike exposure time to traffic, impedes traffic flow and makes biking more arduous and less convenient.
What do you think? Should California legalize the Idaho stop?