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Washington state will be latest to enact Safety Stop Law

Published September 30, 2020

OLYMPIA, Wash. (BRAIN) — The Safety Stop Law goes into effect for Washington cyclists on Thursday, aimed at making intersections safer.

The law allows cyclists to roll through stop signs at a reasonable speed that would allow them to stop if necessary. Cyclists are still required to stop for vehicles entering an intersection.

The statewide bicycle advocacy organization Washington Bikes, affiliated with the Cascade Bicycle Club, lobbied for the law, which has now passed in six states, including Idaho, Delaware, Arkansas, Colorado, and Oregon. Colorado's legislation gives local authorities the framework to legalize the Idaho Stop if they want.

Facing the most danger at intersections from inattentive drivers, cyclists benefit from the law — also known as the Idaho Stop after the first state to pass it — by giving them the opportunity to roll through clear intersections quickly. Cyclists have a better perspective of what's around them compared to drivers often distracted by vehicle occupants and electronics.

The Washington State Legislature passed the law in the first year it was introduced.

"The bill's swift passage underscores the bipartisan support for biking, and Washington Bikes' ability to pass practical, safe and smart legislation," said Vicky Clarke, policy director for Washington Bikes.

After passing in Idaho in 1982, the Safety Stop Law is credited with injuries decreasing by 14%.

"There's a reason this law received huge support from both sides of the aisle in Olympia: It makes sense and it makes the roads safer," said Alex Alston, Washington Bikes' state policy director and lead lobbyist in Olympia.

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