Bicyclist Stop/Yield Bill Gets Hearing In California Assembly

(KPIX 5) — A bill that would allow bicyclists in California to roll through stop signs was the subject of a hearing in Sacramento Monday.

Assembly Bill 1103 would allow cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs, proceeding through the intersection without stopping, unless safety considerations require otherwise.

There was no vote in the Assembly Transportation Committee hearing Monday, and the bill faces a number of legislative hurdles and committee hearings.

The rolling maneuver is known as an Idaho bike stop, because Idaho was the first – and still the only state – to make it legal back in 1982.

But as most people know, everyone seemingly does it anyway.

“Let’s be honest,” said Colin Heyne of the Silicon Valley Bike Coalition. “A lot of people don’t stop at stop signs when they don’t see cross traffic coming.”

Heyne said Idaho has made a few surprising conclusion about bike safety over the past 35 years. “We know that since the law was passed, bicycle injury crashes have dropped by over 14 percent in the state of Idaho,” he said.

In addition a few towns in Colorado did not see an increase in bicycle crashes when they adopted so-called “stop-as-yield” in 2013.

“The traffic rules were designed for cars,” said Heyne. “And I think if we want to encourage healthy, sustainable transportation, we’re going to have to tweak the laws that we have now so that they work better for people on bikes.”

Opponents of this bill say if passed, it would encourage bad habits might leave too much up to the bicyclists’ discretion.

Still, even with data to support it, Idaho stops in California are a longshot. Lawmakers tried to pass a similar bill to ease punishment of Idaho stops in San Francisco, but it failed.

“That didn’t pass in one of the more progressive cities in California,” said Heyne. “So it remains to be seen how it performs in Sacramento.”

 

Sponsors of the bill, including San Francisco Assemblyman Phil Ting, have offered to reduce the extent of the bill to a two-year trial to appease some of the bill’s opponents.

The earliest date a final vote would is anticipated is in January of 2017.

 

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