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What is the law for bikes and stop signs?

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What is the law for bikes and stop signs?

Old 02-29-16, 11:34 AM
  #1  
RockiesDad
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What is the law for bikes and stop signs?

If you were coming down a good size hill and there was a stop sign at the bottom and no cars within 500' but there is a policeman on the other side of the road, would you slow down or even stop at that intersection?

Normally I would just blow through the stop sign if I feel it is safe and there are no cars around but am I breaking the law? I think it might vary from state to state or even city by city but I'm not sure if car laws are the same for bikes. Both are moving vehicles I'm guessing but do those laws pertain to bikes?

Just wondering...
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Old 02-29-16, 11:42 AM
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You're going to get stopped and talked to regardless of where you don't say you are. What not-so-hypothetical thing actually happened to you blowing through that sign?
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Old 02-29-16, 11:44 AM
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Traffic laws apply to vehicles.
A bicycle is a vehicle.
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Old 02-29-16, 11:49 AM
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Same as you would do in a car.
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Old 02-29-16, 11:54 AM
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Questions about traffic laws can't be answered without knowing what country/state/province you live in.
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Old 02-29-16, 11:57 AM
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In every state but Idaho, cyclists are required to come to a complete stop at a stop sign, just like all other vehicles. I don't know about other countries, but I assume it's the same. In Idaho (and I think some local jurisdictions but I could be wrong), cyclists can treat stop signs as yield signs.
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Old 02-29-16, 12:02 PM
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There's law and practical reality.

The law is very clear, a stop sign applies to bicycles the same as cars (except in some states where it may be treated as a yield sign -- see Idaho law).

So legally you need to stop.

The reality is that a cop may or may not bother citing you, especially if there's no affected cross traffic. Or he may cite you for burning the stop sigh without at least slowing, but not cite you if you seem to slow, check for cross traffic then continue without stopping. So, regardless of the clear language of the law, what happens to you as a cyclist will vary depending or the cop's mood, or his perception of your actions.

I routinely pass stop signs without stopping if the sight lines make it possible, and it's never been an issue here in the NYC suburbs. Even if a cop sees me doing so, he won't be bothered unless I create a problem (which I don't). So in my area, the Idaho Law is basically in effect in practice, though not in law.
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Old 02-29-16, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by RockiesDad View Post
Normally I would just blow through the stop sign if I feel it is safe and there are no cars around but am I breaking the law?
Depends, are you doing this in Idaho?
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Old 02-29-16, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by RockiesDad View Post
If you were coming down a good size hill and there was a stop sign at the bottom and no cars within 500' but there is a policeman on the other side of the road, would you slow down or even stop at that intersection?

Normally I would just blow through the stop sign if I feel it is safe and there are no cars around but am I breaking the law? I think it might vary from state to state or even city by city but I'm not sure if car laws are the same for bikes. Both are moving vehicles I'm guessing but do those laws pertain to bikes?

Just wondering...
Did you know that you can use a search engine to find bike laws for your location?
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Old 02-29-16, 01:26 PM
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It's a state regulation .. read your state Vehicle codes. I can't do that for You.
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Old 02-29-16, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by RockiesDad View Post
If you were coming down a good size hill and there was a stop sign at the bottom and no cars within 500' but there is a policeman on the other side of the road, would you slow down or even stop at that intersection?

Normally I would just blow through the stop sign if I feel it is safe and there are no cars around but am I breaking the law? I think it might vary from state to state or even city by city but I'm not sure if car laws are the same for bikes. Both are moving vehicles I'm guessing but do those laws pertain to bikes?

Just wondering...
In all 50 states in the USA a bicycle is a vehicle, just like a car. When on the road you obey the same laws and rules of the road and use hand signals for turns, etc.
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Old 02-29-16, 01:49 PM
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^ This is not true.

In my home state, it's illegal to drive a car while drunk. If the police think a cyclist is drunk, they have the authority to offer to drive that person home; the cyclist can decline.

Also, cyclists aren't required to have liability insurance and drivers aren't required to wear helmets.
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Old 02-29-16, 03:01 PM
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As noted, Iowa allows cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs. Also, they may treat steady red lights as flashing red lights, which means they must stop but may then proceed through the steady red light if there is no traffic.

In my local jurisdiction, hand signals are not required. I believe that is also in the state traffic code.

Just a couple of examples.
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Old 02-29-16, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
As noted, Iowa allows cyclists ....
Point of clarification.

Has Iowa adopted the so-called Idaho law? Or do you have the two states confused?
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Old 02-29-16, 03:37 PM
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also depends on the location and the officer . . . in my city the police don't even pull over cars for running lights, and honestly drivers are so terrible and inconsiderate I could make a legitimate argument that it is safer for EVERYONE if I get through the intersection quickly, even if that means splitting lanes and riding through stop signs or red lights to get out of the way of traffic.

with that said, hammering down hills towards stop signs seems silly, you won't be able to see around the corner, and more importantly, cars won't be able to see you. sounds like a recipe for disaster.
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Old 02-29-16, 04:00 PM
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Okay, here in CA bikes have to follow all vehicle laws that of cars etc. From the CA DMV: "Bicycle riders on public roads have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists, and are subject to the same rules and regulations. Refer to the California Driver Handbook to become familiar with these rules" So I guess I was breaking the law by blowing pass the stop signs. Fortunately, there were no police and it was a very huge intersection so one can see all directions. Maybe I will at least slow down with the intent to stop just in-case to be safe. I can deal with that...
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Old 02-29-16, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
In my local jurisdiction, hand signals are not required. I believe that is also in the state traffic code.
In mine, we require hand signals except when taking a hand off the bars would be unsafe, in the cyclist's judgement. So they're not required.

In practice, I've seen cyclists run red lights directly in front of occupied police cars and go "unnoticed" more times than I can count. I've also heard of police doing helmet law and stop sign enforcement. There are no guarantees in life.
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Old 02-29-16, 04:10 PM
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a toe touch as you pause perhaps?
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Old 02-29-16, 04:22 PM
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In Pennsylvania, pedalcycles are not vehicles, but the distinction is mostly moot. Obeying traffic control devices like stop signs is not one of the differences
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Old 02-29-16, 05:08 PM
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I strictly adhere to Idaho's cycling stop sign and traffic light laws, though I'm pretty sure I've never ridden in Idaho.
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Old 02-29-16, 05:08 PM
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Agreed. The letter of the law in most jurisdictions is come to a complete stop before proceeding into the intersection. But like many motorists, I tend to roll the intersection if the visibility is good in all directions and there is no traffic. I never "blow" a stop sign as if it wasn't there. I slow way down and look both ways a couple of times as I approach the intersection. I've had LEOs witness this a number of times and as long as I am showing caution and don't present a danger, they tend to let it slide. On the flip side, if I ever get a ticket for a slow roll through a stop sign, it's on me.
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Old 02-29-16, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
a toe touch as you pause perhaps?
Not required. The legal requirement is a complete cessation of forward movement. Nothing about putting a foot down.
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Old 02-29-16, 05:18 PM
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Track stands on a 22 speed need practice.

You of course are only speaking of Cal Vehicle code unless you know the section in all 50 states .
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Old 02-29-16, 05:19 PM
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Same way as you get to Carnegie Hall.
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Old 02-29-16, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
Not required. The legal requirement is a complete cessation of forward movement. Nothing about putting a foot down.
True...but Denver cops had a big push in the last couple of years and they issued tickets for failing to put a foot down at a stop. The law and physics may be on our side but, unless I really want to argue physics in court, I put my foot down when the police are present. Otherwise a track stand suffices.

To be fair, they were also ticketing motorists if they didn't let the vehicle settle onto the suspension during a stop at a stopsign which is a bit much as well.
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