Should cyclists be able to do the "Idaho Stop"?

toronto stop sign
CC BY 2.0 Typical Toronto stop sign/ Lloyd Alter

Few posts that I have written brought out so many commenters, so much debate, as my question, Should Cyclists be Allowed to Blow Go Through Stop Signs? and Why Cyclists Blow Through Stop Signs: It's Physics. In both, I make the case that stop signs exist primarily as a form of speed control for cars rather than a right-of-way system; that's why they have converted most of them to four way stops that don't actually work as well for right-of-way as the old two way stops. It doesn't matter, I am still an idiot.

Now TreeHugger Emeritus Ruben Anderson joins the fray with Three Cheers for the Idaho Stop!! (or, the Insanity of Over-regulating Parakeets.)

The Idaho Stop is defined by Jonathan Maus of Bike Portland:

This law would make it legal for bicyclists to treat stop signs like yield signs. A cyclist approaching an intersection controlled by a stop sign, would be permitted to roll through the stop sign after yielding the right of way if there are other vehicles at the intersection.

It makes sense; a different kind of vehicle needs a different kind of regulation and control. Ruben writes:

Road laws are solely designed to reduce the carnage caused by 2,000 lb. bullets hurtling around at high speeds. And that is all the laws should be applied to.

We have laws for pig farmers. Should tomato farmers have to build giant manure management systems?

We have laws for dog licensing. Should parakeets have to wear a little collar with a tiny tag?

We have laws for new drivers. Should experienced drivers be forbidden from carrying passengers or driving on the highway?

My favourite bit of hilarity though: Imagine if we applied road laws to everyone who was commuting. Should pedestrians walking down the sidewalk shoulder check twice, extend their arm to signal the direction they intend to walk, then sharply turn?

Ruben concludes:

So, calls for cyclists to obey car laws are as misguided as suggesting cars should obey bike laws, or that parakeets should obey dog laws.

Read it all in A small and delicious life

Tags: Bike-Friendly World | Bikes | Biking | Vancouver