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Idaho Rolling Stop: Coming to California

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Idaho Rolling Stop: Coming to California

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Old 05-09-17, 09:24 AM
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Idaho Rolling Stop: Coming to California

First of all, how can I have been active in this forum for years and never heard of the "Idaho Rolling Stop" (Except as a joke that every state says about their own drivers)? Apparently since 1982 it's been the law in Idaho that bicyclists are allowed to exercise judgment whether it is safe to roll straight through a stop sign or if it is safer to stop.

A law is in the works now that would bring the same rule to CA.

Some choice quotes (with my bolding):

Assemblymen Jay Obernolte (R-Hesperia) and Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) introduced their measure on Friday that would allow bicyclists to treat stop signs as merely yield signs — proceeding with caution if conditions are safe. In effect, it would legalize the so-called California roll, although just for bicyclists.

“It’s pretty compelling that the data supports this kind of change in the law,” said Obernolte, an avid bicyclist. “Their loss of momentum causes them to spend a substantially longer amount of time in the intersection.” The longer it takes for a bicyclist to pass through an intersection, the greater likelihood that they’ll get hit by an oncoming vehicle, he said. Research of a similar policy in Idaho, the only state in which bicyclists are currently allowed such freedom, found a decline in bike-related injuries after the law was enacted.

Under the proposed law, bicyclists would still have to stop at red lights, which Obernolte said might motivate them to take less-traveled side roads rather than main roads with traffic signals. That could lessen congestion and boost safety, he said.

The legislation would break the “same road, same rights, same rules” philosophy endorsed by many bicyclists, which requires people on two wheels to follow the same traffic laws as people driving on four.

“I think that a lot of traffic gets held up because bicyclists are trying to follow the same laws that cars are going through,” he said. “The numbers are increasing; there are more and more bicyclists out there. It would be very wise to start looking at different bicycle laws.”

Others who make their living on bicycles think otherwise. Mo Karimi, owner of San Diego Bike Shop, said he thinks the bill is a bad idea because it will create uncertainty between motorists and bicyclists, particularly in more developed areas.
So what do you think? "same road, same rights, same rules"? Or does data from Idaho indicate that a differentiated rule would benefit both safety and traffic flow?
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Old 05-09-17, 09:30 AM
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There was a something like a protest a while ago in San Francisco. The issue involved escapes my memory at the moment, but basically cycling advocates organized themselves at a certain intersection, a four-way stop intersection, and each one of the hundreds of riders came to a complete stop, as required by law. You can imagine the gridlock this caused. Anyway, I'm sure someone will post a link to this story at some point.

Not quite sure how I feel about the 'same rule..." thing. I'll have to let this stew for some time and get back.
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Old 05-09-17, 09:50 AM
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Well, it might pass.

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Old 05-09-17, 09:53 AM
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I'd love to see a link about that San Francisco event. Reminds me of a time when truck drivers in London staged a protest by slow-rolling the entire city; clogging up all the streets driving 5mph. (I think their issue was more labor/union/pay related though)

I'm also conflicted about the SameRRR concept. I mean already it's not really the same; bikes can ride in 'car' lanes (they're not actually 'car'-only lanes), but cars can't drive in bike lanes (except for right-turns, near intersections, when no bikes are present).
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Old 05-09-17, 10:49 AM
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With the number of Californians relocating to Idaho, it's no wonder California is finally relenting. We're likely to see that trend reverse now.
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Old 05-09-17, 10:57 AM
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Is Idaho the new Oregon? I remember a few years back people in Portland would get uptight about all the CA license plates moving into their neighborhoods. "Stop Californicating our state!"
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Old 05-09-17, 11:57 AM
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A good idea all the way around. Should be applied to cars too...then we'll have a much wider support. Like most motoriest already roll thru stop sign anyway.
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Old 05-09-17, 12:27 PM
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Well for that, I think the more logical change is to swap out most stop signs for yield signs. For intersections with limited visibility or other special circumstances, leave them as 4-way stops, or 2-way stops.

England does well I think by using traffic circles more often than stop-signed intersections. By definition, incoming traffic yields to anybody already in the circle.
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Old 05-09-17, 12:51 PM
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Roundabouts are becoming more common here in new developments, but people don't have much experience on what to do with them so confusion often ensues when there is more than one car approaching the intersection.

Making it legal for cars to roll through an intersection is not a good idea. High probability of a collision when more than one vehicle is there at the same time, especially if you toss a cyclist into the mix.

The dilemma seems to be that we (cyclists) want to be treated like regular cars, but we also want special treatment when it suits us. At least that's the way this idea of a legal rolling through is going to be perceived by motorists.
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Old 05-09-17, 04:13 PM
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Others who make their living on bicycles think otherwise. Mo Karimi, owner of San Diego Bike Shop, said he thinks the bill is a bad idea because it will create uncertainty between motorists and bicyclists, particularly in more developed areas.
Clearly this person has never been to New York.
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Old 05-09-17, 05:46 PM
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Okay, here's the story I mentioned earlier:
This Is What Happened When Bicyclists Obeyed Traffic Laws Along The Wiggle Yesterday | The Snitch
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Old 05-09-17, 09:35 PM
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In my opinion its a bad idea. I'm in the 'same road, same rights, same rules' camp; its easier for everyone using the roadway if everyone has to obey the same rules of the roadway. A stop sign means stop, so just stop. And will this lead to motorcyclists wanting their own set o rules? And whtabout cops who have to enforce this - when is an intersection too busy to allow this rule to be used?? Its just not a good idea. YMMV
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Old 05-10-17, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
That's really interesting, but a little bit of "the cyclist doth protest too much". The law doesn't require cyclists to wait one at a time at the stop sign (does it?). In a realistic situation, the bikes could be 4-6 abreast in the lane, and stop fully at the signs, and proceed through together, and traffic would not be disrupted.
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Old 05-10-17, 11:49 PM
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Drivers are expected to learn and heed exceptions to conventional policies that are designed for optimal public safety. Some drivers are ignorant of those exceptions. Some deliberately violate them. That's a problem with driver education, beginning with the notion that drivers always have precedence over everyone and everything not in a motor vehicle.

There are many exceptions that drivers are expected to learn: where it's legal to turn right (or left, in a few places) on red and where it isn't legal; that right on red for the second person in line doesn't mean the person at the front of the line *must* turn right on red when it's an option lane; that drivers are expected to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks (routinely ignored by drivers in our area at schools and hospitals); that disabled people in wheelchairs are permitted to use street lanes in residential areas (most of ours lack sidewalks, or the sidewalks are in bad shape and impossible to navigate); and the list goes on and on.

Yet drivers seem perfectly capable of knowing they are permitted park in most bike lanes in our area, even though this isn't marked anywhere.

That's just one example of highly selective attention to detail, and proves that drivers are capable of coping with exceptions -- as long as it benefits them rather than pedestrians and cyclists.

Again, it's because driver's ed in the U.S. fails to emphasize personal responsibility and duty to community.

Fortunately law enforcement in my area unofficially ignore cyclists practicing the Idaho Stop. Good thing because I'd use that self protection technique anyway for my own safety.

As a commuter and recreational cyclist and motorcyclist since the mid-1970s almost every time I've been hit by a vehicle it was from behind at a traffic stop -- either a sign or light. That's even happened when I was in a motor vehicle. Always at slow speed, and every offending driver was sooo apologetic and claimed they "didn't see me." Even when I was driving a car or truck. What they meant is "I was so intent on watching other traffic so I could make my own move that I overlooked the obvious person right under my nose."

That isn't an accident. That's negligence.

So, yes, when I approach a stop sign, and there's a vehicle approaching from behind, and the other roads are clear, I'm rolling through. I do slow down and look all ways very carefully -- usually at least twice.

I also do the full stop and then go maneuver at red lights that don't change for cyclists. Partly for the same reason -- inattentive drivers behind me, like the Domino's delivery guy who barely missed me a few months ago who was impatient because it took me too long to get back up to speed turning left after the light turned green. If I'd done what I usually do at that intersection -- stop, look and go -- I'd have been out of the way before he even got there.

And in some areas it isn't prudent to stop and wait. Bad neighborhoods or tunnel traps.
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Old 05-11-17, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
As a commuter and recreational cyclist and motorcyclist since the mid-1970s almost every time I've been hit by a vehicle it was from behind at a traffic stop -- either a sign or light.
Too true. We all know somebody. My wife's car was hit at a stop; a friend was plowed into on his Harley and badly injured
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Old 05-11-17, 09:59 AM
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Rolling Pauses, without fully stopping, were called 'California Stops', long ago..




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Old 06-20-18, 08:29 AM
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I did not stay on top of this, here's an article describing how the bill was 'spiked' by the proposers in Jan 2018 due to obviously having no chance to pass a vote, even after rolling back to merely establishing 3 pilot cities to test the law initially.

https://cal.streetsblog.org/2018/01/...-signs-spiked/

Seems like maybe a slight modification could go a long way; on an intersection-by-intersection basis, hang a triangle below the stop sign that says "Bicycles Yield". Without that sign, bicyclists must fully observe the stop sign. And I guess this can only be used for all-way stop-signed intersections, so that drivers and cyclists approaching from all directions get the same message.

In fact, what's to prevent any local transportation authority from adding "Bicycles Yield" signs to whatever stop signs it wants, even without a change in the law? "Yield" is an established principle in traffic law. In principle it's no different than conditional signage like "No left turns weekdays 7-9am" or "No trucks over X tons" or "HOV lane, 2+ occupants, motorcycles, transit vehicles, or FlexPass only".

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Old 06-20-18, 08:42 AM
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I don't stop at 4 ways. Because I don't want to get hit.

The purpose, to me, of rules is to determine who is at fault in a collision.

​​​​I'm in control of my bike. It's not society that pays the price if I'm injured, but me. So how I navigate the road is my decision, not society's.

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Old 06-20-18, 09:01 AM
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You also have to factor into that the potential of paying for tickets if cops see you run stop signs. Although, there's no license they can take away, so if the long term financial cost is ok, I guess it doesn't matter.
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Old 06-20-18, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
Is Idaho the new Oregon? I remember a few years back people in Portland would get uptight about all the CA license plates moving into their neighborhoods. "Stop Californicating our state!"
We were always told as kids not to say too loudly where we were from when visiting family in OR.

Of course, having abandoned the state myself now, well, I still don't.
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Old 06-21-18, 05:30 PM
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Sorry. I can't understand why having to negate habit patterns from 60 years of cycling and 55 years of driving makes me safer.
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Old 06-21-18, 05:54 PM
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What others here seem to be saying is, rolling stops for bicycles will result in fewer cars running into cyclists stopped at signs. Cyclists rolling through stop signs will also slightly speed up traffic through those intersections, since (sometimes) cars will not have to wait for bikes to get up to speed again after stopping.

Your driving habits likely wouldn't change, as a cyclist, you are probably aware of cyclists already, and share the road with them safely.
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Old 06-21-18, 06:03 PM
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I live in California, but I ride like I'm in Idaho. Always have, always will. The letter-of-the-law of the matter does not concern me.

The "same roads, same rights, same rules" notion is absurd. A bicycle is a vehicle, but it is most certainly not a car. Well, unless your bike weighs 3,000lbs and you can pedal it up to 60mph in 10 seconds. Then you should probably follow the rules for cars.
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Old 06-21-18, 06:10 PM
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I've been rolling through stop signs since...ever. Only 1 ticket in 50 years, so it has a good performance/price ratio.
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Old 06-21-18, 06:39 PM
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Drivers in my area would be annoyed if I came to a full stop at stop signs. It would hold up everyone. A law like this would legalize what already happens. And that's always a good thing.
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