Idaho Stop Law



Idaho Stop Law

As some of you might already know, multiple states have been considering the implementation of an “Idaho Stop Law“.  Orgeon’s current attempt was pronounced dead  in the last few days.  I’ve also heard that California, Montana, and DC have considered such laws.  Would such a law legalize what is already common behavior or would it just incite anger amongst motorists and encourage more cyclists to behave badly?

For the uninitiated, Idaho has, for the past 20+ years allowed cyclists to legally treat stop signs as yield signs.  This video does a fairly good job of describing what the law is all about.  Such a law would not mean cyclists can just blow through stop signs, but it would mean that cyclists can legally perform rolling stops, as is fairly common with cyclists around the country.  In fact, Idaho has pretty steep fines for cyclists who blow through a stop sign, on the order of over $300+!

What’s your take on such a law, would it help or hurt the cycling movement?


  • Matt
    Apr 24, 2009 at 5:38 am

    I love the comment about inciting anger among motorists. In my experience, my presence on the road seems to incite the same amount of anger whether I'm on foot, in my car or on a bike. My conclusion? There are some motorists out there just looking for a reason to be angry.

    I wish there was something I could do to make this untrue, but I cannot. Thus I ride, and tolerate the menacing behavior from the occasional motorist.

  • Alan Barta
    Apr 26, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    Motorists are like white rats in an anger management laboratory. Motoring breeds impatience which explodes every day in frustrated hate. This is what comes from letting too many idiots drive; psych screening should be part of getting a learner's permit and periodic renewal. Never mind, they aren't even concerned about eye tests or parallel parking.

    I routinely roll through stop signs. Nobody cares. Motoring code shouldn't apply to bicyclists. Motorists are OBLIGATED to stop for anyone who propels themselves, whether on bike, foot or wheelchair, mostly banned from roads, anyway. It's easy for them in their labor saving machines, but they've gotten used to unchecked speed. Laws are seldom enforced. When they are, it's usually just for the revenue, sort of like losing at a casino. It's just a game to them: See how long I can do wrong before getting caught.

    In a state where more people work for the state than any other business sector, you'd think enforcement and regulation would be remarkably unbearable. Not so. Office holders need to be watched more than public. Nobody spray cleaned bridges for 10 years, as required, now half are closed or restricted. Who was fired? Or impeached? Or indicted? No, let's take out our fury on those damned bicyclists, infrastructure preserving, nonpolluting, nontaxable miscreants that they are! Oh, brother!

  • Alan Barta
    Apr 28, 2009 at 10:22 am

    While yardening out front for an hour, had an opportunity to watch motorists drive down my Cranston street, neither a cul-de-sac nor a cut-through. There's a STOP sign here. Of the 25 cars (seemed like a lot), 2 stopped (although they were bunched together and the 2nd one rolled through with the first), 3 slowed and rolled, 18 ran through at posted 25 or so, and 2 sped through from 30 to 60 mph. So, really, only 1 motorist of 25 obeyed the law.

    I will be happy to point out this egregious intersection to law enforcers. They should place an unmarked car and call ahead to the next intersection for a patrol car to issue tickets. Of course, if their driving records are clear for last few years, tickets will be dismissed.

    What do 2 officers make an hour? $100? $200? How many tickets will stick? 5? What the penalty? Can't find out; not available on-line without having to buy from some disreputable Anyway, hardly seems worth all the bother for a few dollars. Smarter would be to stand by and toss spike strips under tires of any vehicle that doesn't stop. While they are waiting for a tow truck, maybe they'll notice the SLOW CHILDREN sign, which has also been here for a half century.

    Does anyone think bicyclists are going to set an example for motorists to follow? Laughable. Who are you trying to convince? The more things change, the more they stay the same.

  • Apr 28, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    How many, and what kinds of crashes are caused by bicyclists rolling through stop signs?

    Unless they failed to yield to a pedestrian or moving vehicle, I would bet zero.

  • Alan Barta
    Apr 29, 2009 at 3:51 am

    Bicycling is the safest form of transportation, all things considered. Both bicycling and motoring require balance, knowledge and skill to do effectively. Complaints you hear from cyclists are often from the ones who aren't so skilled or those who go too fast. Just like motorists, most collision and fatalities statistics involve risk taking young adults.

    The only legitimate issue is that bicyclists and pedestrians are marginalized by lack of respect and supporting infrastructure. Improvement in public transportation, another issue, is coming. MBTA will soon be extended to Westerly with stops at Kingston, Wickord Rotary, Warwick Airport, Providence and Attleboro. Bus roundabouts connecting with these terminals would be sensible.

    Had an opportunity to see a photo of the entire board of directors for an automobile club, all grossly obese men. Contrasts with the many bicycling clubs, egalitarian, nonsexist, skinny men and women, who will likely outlive them. Pity their automotive addiction.