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Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Simple Idea That Makes Bicycling More Convenient: the "Idaho Stop"

Making bike riding safe and convenient is critical to encouraging commuters to seek alternatives to the rush hour slog through traffic in your car. Designating quiet side-streets as bicycle boulevards, painting bike lanes on streets, establishing bike boxes and bike-specific signals at busy intersections and other simple efforts can make biking safer and easier.

But here's a really simple idea: let bikers treat stop signs as yield signs. Most bike commuters (including myself!) do that already, since it's perfectly safe and conserves your momentum (and energy), but most of us risk tickets and fines for "running stop signs" if a cop spots you. Not so in Idaho, where a state law has allowed bicyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs for 27 years. Now other states are considering following Idaho's lead, and allowing what has become known as the "Idaho Stop" for bicyclists.

Spencer Boomhower writes at Vimeo:

The Oregon Legislature is considering passage of a law that would allow bicycle riders to treat stop signs as yield signs. These "rolling stops" would allow bike riders to preserve some of the momentum they depend upon for efficient travel, just so long as they don't infringe on the safety and rights of others.

The law is based on one that's been successful in Idaho for the last 27 years, so it's come to be known as the "Idaho Stop" law.

There's some controversy - and whole lot of misunderstanding - surrounding the proposed Idaho Stop law. I thought I could clear some of it up with the magic of animation.
Here's Spencer's video, an excellent use of animation to make your point, and well worth watching:

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

Hat tip to Moses Barrett for this video

1 comment:

Paul said...

I am glad to hear that the rolling stop is legal somewhere. Thanks for posting this.