Saturday, May 10, 2014

Idaho stop

What would Jesus drive?

I'm already dreading the inevitable run on unnecessary bicycle traffic law enforcement initiatives we're sure to see around here soon.  Up to now, a big part of the appeal of biking is that it's a way to get around without having to constantly worry about being pulled over. But what's happened in recent years is a lot of sanctimonious people who do things in order to model behavior for others have started biking more. Hence the building clamor for telling other cyclists what they're not allowed to do.

But instead of just complaining that terrible people are going to make terrible laws, better to point out the sensible laws that exist elsewhere.
There are already a few places in the US that allow cyclists some flexibility in dealing with stop signs and red lights. Idaho has permitted it since 1982, which is why this behavior is known as the Idaho stop.

Idaho's rule is pretty straightforward. If a cyclist approaches a stop sign, he or she needs to slow down and look for traffic. If there's already a car or another bike there, then the other vehicle has the right of way. If there's no traffic, however, the cyclist can slowly proceed. Basically, for bikers, a stop sign is a yield sign.
The basic point is that bikes are not cars. It's ok for the traffic laws to reflect this obvious fact. 

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