You are here

California gearing up for another attempt to pass Idaho Stop law

Published January 20, 2021

SACRAMENTO (BRAIN) — The California Bicycle Coalition is backing another legislative attempt this year to adopt the Idaho Stop for bicyclists entering intersections.

The California law was first proposed but not passed in 2017, allowing bicyclists to treat a stop sign as a yield sign, and supported by the coalition. The bill was re-introduced in December 2020 by Assembly Member Tasha Boerner Horvath. Advocates believe the law is good for the bike industry, recognizing that penalizing cyclists with stop-sign enforcement discourages commuting as a regular travel mode.

The Idaho Stop, so named for the first state to passsuch legislation, in 1982, allows bicyclists to roll through clear intersections at a reasonable speed that would allow them to stop if encountering a motor vehicle. Advocates of the law say intersections are most dangerous to bicyclists because of inattentive drivers. Rolling through clear intersections gets bicyclists through quicker while helping them maintain momentum and control.

Those in favor of the law also say cyclists have a better perspective of what's around them than drivers who are often distracted by vehicle occupants and electronics.

Transportation activist Walt Seifert, who is helping the coalition with its efforts, told BRAIN the chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee, Laura Friedman, is "a bicycle-friendly person, so chances are much improved but opposition is still extremely likely and quite powerful."

Similar laws have been enacted in four other states, Washington, Delaware, Arkansas, and Oregon.

Join the Conversation