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Oklahoma passes Idaho Stop law, joining growing list of states

Published May 11, 2021

OKLAHOMA CITY (BRAIN) — Oklahoma joined a growing list of states to adopt legislation that allows cyclists to treat a stop sign as a yield.

Gov. Kevin Stitt signed HB 1770 — which included adopting the Idaho Stop — into law on Monday. Jane Ziegler, transportation planner and bicycle-pedestrian coordinator for the Indian Nations Council of Governments (INCOG), said it was a “hectic” final push for support. It takes effect Nov. 1.

“What is interesting is neither the senate nor the house author ride bikes,” said Ziegler, referring to Sen. Darrell Weaver and Rep. Mike Dobrinski. “I think this shows there is support for bicycle legislation from people who you wouldn't normally think to be your typical supporter. However, the representative who we worked with to write the language (Rep. Carol Bush) does ride a bike.”

Oklahoma is the ninth state to adopt the legislation, joining Idaho, Utah, North Dakota, Washington, Delaware, Colorado, Arkansas, and Oregon. Colorado's legislation gives local authorities the framework to legalize the Idaho Stop if they want.

INCOG and the Metropolitan Planning Organization for the Tulsa Region collaborated with Bush, who communicated with Weaver and Dobrinski last summer, to create HB 1770 that also sought to:

  • Allow the use of the right hand to signal.
  • Consider the throwing of objects or maliciously taunting of a cyclist, horseback rider, or animal-drawn vehicle as reckless driving.
  • Forbid a motorized vehicle to honk at a cyclist, horseback rider, or animal-drawn vehicle when there is no immediate danger.

However, in order to gain passage, the reckless driving stipulation had to be removed.

"The draft language we proposed included '… harass, taunt or maliciously throw an object …' Ziegler said. "And we specifically stated 'bicycles, equine or animal-drawn vehicle.' This entire section was removed from the original language of HB 1770. If we had had more time, we could have sat down with Department of Public Safety along with other statewide stakeholders to talk this through and make changes that could garner support. In Oklahoma, the beginning of December is the deadline to file bills, and session runs from January to May. This does not leave much time for negotiating. In the future, this could be an issue to work on, and we learned who should be at the table if and when this particular subject is brought forth."

She said there was push back on the "motorized vehicle cannot honk at a person on a bike, equine or animal-drawn vehicle when there is no imminent danger," but it was passed as part of HB 1770.

"Now when that person in their truck comes up right behind you and blares their horn, causing you to swerve and jolt your bike in an unsafe manner, there can be legal consequences," Ziegler said.

Cycling advocates in the state also played a part in generating momentum for passage, in addition to PeopleForBikes and the American League of Cyclists, said Ziegler, who added HB 1770 is the “golden ticket” to improve bicycling safety in the state. 

Ziegler said she shared this video with several legislators over the course of the past few months to illustrate the benefits of the Idaho Stop.

Bicycles, Rolling Stops, and the Idaho Stop from Spencer Boomhower on Vimeo.

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