There is currently a bill before the state legislature that would see California adopt the ‘Idaho stop’ for cyclists.
For those of you who may be unfamiliar with it, the ‘ Idaho stop‘ allows cyclists to ride through stop signs when it is safe to do so (i.e. treat stop signs like yield signs). It became law in the State of Idaho 35 years ago. The law has since been expanded to parts of Colorado.
In addition to endorsing the way many cyclists already treat stop signs, the ‘Idaho stop’ has been found to be as safe, or safer, than the status quo. Studies in Idaho indicate that the law has resulted in fewer and less severe crashes.
Over the years, there has been a growing interest in the ‘Idaho stop’ in various jurisdictions. For example, in 2015 the City of Montreal formally recommended that Quebec adopt such a law (although nothing came of it).
California is one of the largest jurisdictions in North America (it’s population is larger than all of Canada’s), so it’s adoption of the law would do much to legitimize the ‘Idaho stop’ as a way of making traffic laws safer and more compatible with cycling.
Update: The proposed legislation to allow the ‘Idaho stop’ in California was put on hold during committee hearings in May because of opposition from various groups, including law enforcement and automobile organizations.
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