Everybody Do The Idaho Stop

Joseph Stromberg encourages other states to allow bikers to roll through stop signs and go on red lights, as Idaho has done since 1982:

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 dish_citibikesalready a pedestrian, 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.

If a cyclist approaches a red light, meanwhile, he or she needs to stop fully. Again, if there’s any oncoming traffic or a pedestrian, it has the right of way. If there’s not, the cyclist can proceed cautiously through the intersection. Put simply, red light is a stop sign.

This doesn’t mean that a cyclist is allowed to blast through an intersection at full speed — which is dangerous for pedestrians, the cyclist, and pretty much everyone involved. This isn’t allowed in Idaho, and it’s a terrible idea everywhere.

Agreed on all counts. As usual, Dan Savage is on my side:

A cop stopped me in the U-District a few years ago after I failed to come to a complete stop at a stop sign.

There was no traffic coming in either direction—and I had slowed down (my days of bombing through intersections are over). But the cop explained as he wrote me a ticket that I had to apply my brakes and come to a complete stop, take one foot off a pedal, and put that foot on the ground. That’s a legal stop. I replied: That would be like telling a driver he had to put his car in park at a stop sign, take the keys out of the ignition, hold them out the window and jangle them. He handed me the ticket.

I’ve continued to roll through stop signs.

Drum is also on board:

I’m convinced. This actually sounds like a perfectly sensible rule to me. Blowing through intersections at top speed is obviously dumb, and you deserve every ticket you get if you do it. But bicycles are a lot slower than cars; a lot less dangerous than cars; and have a way better field of vision than cars. Allowing them to slow down but not stop for stop signs when no one is around makes perfect sense.

On the potato thing, though, Idaho needs to stand down. Let’s all leave the nutritionists alone, OK?