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    Mionske argues Idaho Stop is safer

    Legally Speaking with Bob Mionske: The Idaho stop - VeloNews.com

    The Idaho stop, also known as “stop as yield,” allows cyclists approaching a stop sign when the intersection is clear to roll through at a safe speed — just like they would at a yield sign. But is it safe?I argue it is safer. The law allows cyclists to maintain momentum, and from the open-air position of a bike, they can safely determine if there is other traffic and proceed when — and if — it is clear. If there are other road users at the intersection (cyclists, motorists, or pedestrians) when they arrive, they are still required to come to a complete stop and wait their turn.
    And...YES...I know this is the 185th time we've discussed the Idaho Stop but I think that a well-known bike columnist (and bike lawyer) arguing that the the Idaho Stop is SAFER is a new development.

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    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    If a cyclist slows to near a walking pace speed when performing an Idaho stop, I'm fine with that, but many cyclists, that I have observed locally, barely apply their brakes, and travel past a stop sign at 15 to 20 mph.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dynodonn View Post
    If a cyclist slows to near a walking pace speed when performing an Idaho stop, I'm fine with that, but many cyclists, that I have observed locally, barely apply their brakes, and travel past a stop sign at 15 to 20 mph.
    +1 - Another move I've seen lately is the right on red, u turn after about 20 ft, right on green to circumvent a red light.

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    If they can see far enough at 15 to 20 mph to be safe, then why would it matter if they choose to cross at that speed?

    Even Oregon changed its law to allow cyclists who are crossing in a crosswalk to travel at a safe speed; previously they were required to ride at a walking pace.

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    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    If they can see far enough at 15 to 20 mph to be safe, then why would it matter if they choose to cross at that speed?

    Even Oregon changed its law to allow cyclists who are crossing in a crosswalk to travel at a safe speed; previously they were required to ride at a walking pace.
    Brakes on many bicycles at 15 to 20 mph are not nearly as effective as at or near walking speed, best to err towards the side of caution, and traveling at a safe speed does not necessarily mean at 15 to 20 mph, especially when there is an intersection with a stop sign being involved.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dynodonn View Post
    If a cyclist slows to near a walking pace speed when performing an Idaho stop, I'm fine with that, but many cyclists, that I have observed locally, barely apply their brakes, and travel past a stop sign at 15 to 20 mph.
    I suspect you're estimating those speeds very high.
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    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lostarchitect View Post
    I suspect you're estimating those speeds very high.
    Not really, I've followed many of those cyclists with either with my car or bicycle, both have speedometers.

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    Senior Member welshTerrier2's Avatar
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    I'm not buying this at all. First of all, why is everyone in such a hurry? If an intersection warrants a stop sign, then just stop.

    We already have enough highway deaths every year. Most bike-car crashes occur at intersections and now we're going to make it worse? There are way too many intersections where you can't see far enough left or right to just roll through safely. I'd rather set a hard and fast stopping rule and then allow a little flexibility in enforcement. I mean, if you're rolling through a stop sign at like 3 feet per second, that's usually fine. But when you start programming into people's heads that the priority is to maintain momentum so that they can pad their stats, you're asking for more accidents. The priority should be to come to a complete stop or very, very close to one. The argument that maintaining momentum makes you safer is only true if there's a vehicle coming from a cross street and you're going to race it through the intersection. If that's the case, it's safer to stop and wait.

    And where does the "if it's safe" argument end? Why not allow cars the same flexibility? If it's ok for a cyclist to buzz through a stop sign, if they think it's safe, why not allow the same for cars? In fact, why not allow cars to buzz through at 40 mph if they can see left and right clearly and decide there's no danger?

    Just because some cyclists may be skilled enough to make split-second judgments at intersections doesn't mean most cyclists can do so safely. The law should be designed for the safety of all road users and not just some of the so-above-average cyclists we have here on BF.
    Last edited by welshTerrier2; 05-25-15 at 12:47 PM.
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    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by welshTerrier2 View Post
    I'm not buying this at all. First of all, why is everyone in such a hurry? If an intersection warrants a stop sign, then just stop.

    We already have enough highway deaths every year. Most bike-car crashes occur at intersections and now we're going to make it worse? There are way too many intersections where you can't see far enough left or right to just roll through safely. I'd rather set a hard and fast stopping rule and then allow a little flexibility in enforcement. I mean, if you're rolling through a stop sign at like 3 feet per second, that's usually fine. But when you start programming into people's heads that the priority is to maintain momentum so that they can pad their stats, you're asking for more accidents. The priority should be to come to a complete stop or very, very close to one. The argument that maintaining momentum makes you safer is only true if there's a vehicle coming from a cross street and you're going to race it through the intersection. If that's the case, it's safer to stop and wait.

    And where does the "if it's safe" argument end? Why not allow cars the same flexibility? If it's ok for a cyclist to buzz through a stop sign, if they think it's safe, why not allow the same for cars? In fact, why not allow cars to buzz through at 40 mph if they can see left and right clearly and decide there's no danger?

    Just because some cyclists may be skilled enough to make split-second judgments at intersections doesn't mean most cyclists can do so safely. The law should be designed for the safety of all road users and not just some of the so-above-average cyclists we have here on BF.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gear64 View Post
    +1 - Another move I've seen lately is the right on red, u turn after about 20 ft, right on green to circumvent a red light.

    The Idaho stop allows cyclists to circumvent red lights legally.

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    Quote Originally Posted by welshTerrier2 View Post
    Just because some cyclists may be skilled enough to make split-second judgments at intersections doesn't mean most cyclists can do so safely. The law should be designed for the safety of all road users and not just some of the so-above-average cyclists we have here on BF.
    If 40 years of evidence in Idaho (and multiple years in Colorado cities) is not enough then I suspect you are simply ideologically opposed to what is the de facto practice of most cyclists -- rolling stop signs.

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    And where does the "if it's safe" argument end? Why not allow cars the same flexibility? If it's ok for a cyclist to buzz through a stop sign, if they think it's safe, why not allow the same for cars? In fact, why not allow cars to buzz through at 40 mph if they can see left and right clearly and decide there's no danger?
    It always amuses to see people equate a multi-ton ICE-powered machine that people DRIVE to a light-weight human-powered accessory that human beings RIDE. Moreover, as Idaho, multiple cities in Colorado, and large swathes of France show the Idaho Stop is demonstrably safe and does not result in discernable issues for motorists or law enforcement.

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    Quote Originally Posted by welshTerrier2 View Post
    I'm not buying this at all. First of all, why is everyone in such a hurry? If an intersection warrants a stop sign, then just stop.
    it has been noted by several visitors to the US from the UK that we tend to overdo the stop sign thing... thus, a particular intersection may not actually "warrant a stop." But along those lines of thinking... if a stop is "warranted" why is it that we permit wide motor vehicles to make a choice to then proceed to make a right turn from said stops?
    Quote Originally Posted by welshTerrier2 View Post
    We already have enough highway deaths every year. Most bike-car crashes occur at intersections and now we're going to make it worse? There are way too many intersections where you can't see far enough left or right to just roll through safely. I'd rather set a hard and fast stopping rule and then allow a little flexibility in enforcement. I mean, if you're rolling through a stop sign at like 3 feet per second, that's usually fine. But when you start programming into people's heads that the priority is to maintain momentum so that they can pad their stats, you're asking for more accidents. The priority should be to come to a complete stop or very, very close to one. The argument that maintaining momentum makes you safer is only true if there's a vehicle coming from a cross street and you're going to race it through the intersection. If that's the case, it's safer to stop and wait.
    And yes... a slow rolling stop is the ideal situation... and even that preserves momentum.

    Quote Originally Posted by welshTerrier2 View Post

    And where does the "if it's safe" argument end? Why not allow cars the same flexibility? If it's ok for a cyclist to buzz through a stop sign, if they think it's safe, why not allow the same for cars? In fact, why not allow cars to buzz through at 40 mph if they can see left and right clearly and decide there's no danger?
    If they can see clearly right and left far enough down the road to make such decisions... then why does a stop exist there? Certainly cyclists are rarely traveling at those speeds... and in fact the mass of a cyclist and bike is so low that said cyclist and bike is almost guaranteed to be at the poor end of any vehicle/bike collision... thus a cyclist is vastly more motivated to ensure their way is clear. The mass of a car however is such that they become a hazard to anything they hit, including other cars.
    Quote Originally Posted by welshTerrier2 View Post
    Just because some cyclists may be skilled enough to make split-second judgments at intersections doesn't mean most cyclists can do so safely. The law should be designed for the safety of all road users and not just some of the so-above-average cyclists we have here on BF.

  14. #14
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spare_wheel View Post
    The Idaho stop allows cyclists to circumvent red lights legally.
    You are still required to stop for a stop light... you then proceed through at your own judgement. Stop signs become yield signs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    Even Oregon changed its law to allow cyclists who are crossing in a crosswalk to travel at a safe speed; previously they were required to ride at a walking pace.
    When did this happen? I've been following the walking-speed rule. And I can't find anything that corroborates that.
    From Pedal Power (2012):
    Bicycle advocates like the BTA have been unsuccessful for over ten years in convincing the legislature that the law should be changed to allow bicyclists to proceed at a “reasonably safe speed” in approaching a crosswalk without losing the right-of-way.
    ORS 814.410 (ORS 814.410 - Unsafe operation of bicycle on sidewalk - 2013 Oregon Revised Statutes):
    (1) A person commits the offense of unsafe operation of a bicycle on a sidewalk if the person does any of the following:
    (d) Operates the bicycle at a speed greater than an ordinary walk when approaching or entering a crosswalk...
    More on the topic of this thread: what's the interaction between a stop sign and a yield sign at an intersection? If the Idaho stop law is in effect, and you are approaching a four-way stop with three cars coming, do you get your same "turn"? Or do you have to wait for everyone to clear out before continuing?

    As for blasting through yield signs...you can do that in a car too, as long as you have good line-of-sight. I would think the law requires slowing down at yield signs until you can confirm the way is clear.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dynodonn View Post
    Not really, I've followed many of those cyclists with either with my car or bicycle, both have speedometers.
    How many of THOSE cyclist did you also observe getting hit?

    My guess is ZERO.
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    Makes complete sense to me. I wonder why more (all) states have not adopted the I-stop laws. It's certainly not on the grounds of being unsafe.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynodonn View Post
    If a cyclist slows to near a walking pace speed when performing an Idaho stop, I'm fine with that, but many cyclists, that I have observed locally, barely apply their brakes, and travel past a stop sign at 15 to 20 mph.

    Let's classify the 15 mph "stop" as California Stop. Any votes?
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    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
    Makes complete sense to me. I wonder why more (all) states have not adopted the I-stop laws. It's certainly not on the grounds of being unsafe.
    States certainly jumped on the right turn on red pretty fast for motorist convenience, even though it made it less safe for pedestrians and cyclist. The Idaho Stop does little for motorist convenience, so why bother?
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    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    How many of THOSE cyclist did you also observe getting hit?

    My guess is ZERO.
    One, but I'm thankful that more motorist do not take up the same practice.

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    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynodonn View Post
    If a cyclist slows to near a walking pace speed when performing an Idaho stop, I'm fine with that, but many cyclists, that I have observed locally, barely apply their brakes, and travel past a stop sign at 15 to 20 mph.
    The safe speed to proceed through a stop depends on the visibility down the crossing road when approaching the corner and the amount of traffic. If you can see a half mile down the crossing road in each direction a half mile before you get to the intersection it's a lot different than being only able so see 50 yards in each direction 50' from the intersection. Just use reasonable judgement to avoid getting hit. Even if you come to a full stop at the sign you still need to judge when it's safe to proceed and can still get hit if you misjudge it.
    Eschew simplistic dogma.

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    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynodonn View Post
    One, but I'm thankful that more motorist do not take up the same practice.
    I see very few motorist come to a complete stop at stop signs. Motorist stop about as often as cyclist do.
    And some cops expect cyclist to do more than a complete stop, they expect cyclist to put a foot on the ground to prove a complete stop. Maybe the same should apply to motorist; open the door, put a foot down, then you can proceed.
    Last edited by CB HI; 05-25-15 at 05:53 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    States certainly jumped on the right turn on red pretty fast for motorist convenience, even though it made it less safe for pedestrians and cyclist. The Idaho Stop does little for motorist convenience, so why bother?
    Right on red was enacted in the 70's to reduce fuel consumption and emissions, and is now federally governed as part of each states energy conservation plan required to receive federal assistance. I wasn't driving age in the 70's, but I do remember there was resistance to it.
    Idaho stops are a "convenience" that reflects the reality that cyclists are not motorists or pedestrians.

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    People blowing through right on red? Never happens.



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    Senior Member Ed.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    ...
    And some cops expect cyclist to do more than a complete stop, they expect cyclist to put a foot on the ground to prove a complete stop. ...
    Many years ago I was pulled over for failure to stop for a stop sign on my motorcycle. "How do you know I didn't stop?" "You didn't put a foot down." I then proceeded to demonstrate that I could balance the bike, motionless, for a fair bit of time (The sign benefits of track-stand practice.) I didn't get a ticket.

    I confess to a situational approach. I usually stop for stop lights, 'track-stand' for stop signs, but today I pretty much blew thru a stop light. Visibility was excellent, and cars were nil.
    Yes, you can have my sew-ups, but first you'll need to pry my cold, dead fingers from them.

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