What is the Safety Stop?
Also known as the Idaho Stop, a Safety Stop law allows people on bikes to treat a stop sign as a yield sign, and in some states to treat a stop light as a stop sign. It’s already law in Idaho (since 1982), Delaware (2017), Arkansas (2019), Oregon (2019), Washington (2020), Utah (2021), North Dakota (2021), and Oklahoma (2021), along with some cities in Colorado (2019).
Is it really safe to do that?
According to a study by Jason Meggs of UC Berkeley in 2009, bicyclist injuries in Idaho dropped 14.5% after the original Idaho Stop law passed. In Delaware, a study of the “Delaware Yield” law found that it reduced bicyclist injuries by 23% at intersections with stop signs.
As advocates in Washington explained in public testimony, “Allowing cyclists to keep some of their momentum increases safety and traffic flow. Bicyclists usually stop off to the right at a stop sign, which puts them in a blind spot for some motorists… Stopping and starting is the hardest and most vulnerable time for bicyclists. This helps reduce the speed difference between me and the cars around me, and when the car does overtake me, I am out of the intersection which removes some unpredictability and traffic.”
How can we get a Safety Stop law in Michigan?
Watch this space…
What does the Safety Stop look like in other states?
Where can I learn more?
Check out the following resources:
- Arkansas: The Idaho Stop Becomes the Arkansas Stop (2019)
- California: Bike Safety Stop Bill Passes CA Assembly (2021)
- Chicago: POLICIES FOR PEDALING: Managing the Tradeoff between Speed & Safety for Biking in Chicago (2016)
- Colorado: The Colorado Safety Stop (2021), Colorado’s New Stop-as-Yield Legislation (2018)
- Oregon: Beginning in 2020, Oregon cyclists can treat stop signs as yields (2019)
- Utah: Cyclists no longer required to stop at stop signs in Utah, per Governor Cox (2021)
- Washington: Washington State’s new bicycle “Safety Stop” law allows people biking to treat stops signs as yield signs with some exceptions. (2020)
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