Friday, June 20, 2008

Will California be the next to go Idaho-Style?

I'm referring, of course, to Idaho's law that allows bicyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs, and stop lights as stop signs.

Currently, there is a media buzz about something less then a proposal (call it a topic of debate at an obscure committee of an obscure regional government) to perhaps push for a similar law to be passed by the California Legislature, assuming a legislative sponsor and the requisite votes could be found.

First, on Wednesday June 18th (2008) the Examiner kicked off the coverage with the article, Proposal would change rule for bicyclists at stop signs, which scooped every other media outlet on the topic. It also cast a rather critical eye on the subject, claiming that "police said the idea would likely lead to more bicycle-to-car collisions."

The, on Thursday the San Francisco Bay Guardian responded with a much more positive take on the topic in their article/blog post Let's change the bike laws. They lay out a very good rationale for why the law change makes sense, and why it may encounter plenty of opposition even so.

KCBS, the SF Bay Area television station, posted this article on their website, quoting the argument that "they do it already, why not make it legal? (My paraphrasing.)

Following up, SFist put up the post, Cyclists to Legally Run Red Lights?.

The proposal, in its current form (a memo to the Regional Bicycle Working Group by MTC Regional Bicycle Planner Sean Co), was posted by the San Francisco Bay Guardian on their website.

On Friday, the media storm continued. Bronstein from the Chronicle chimed in with his own aghast reaction in the column Should we change the laws for cyclists? The Examiner continued its negative coverage of the issue with not just one but three articles: The article Plan allowing bikes to cruise through intersections is idling, the editorial How to make city traffic worse and the headline for the letters page, To stop and roll, that is the question.

All of this over one presentation at one meeting. If anything, the proposal is attracting attention. What comes next is anyone's guess.

Interestingly, back in May the San Francisco Bay Guardian posted a story on this same topic, The Bike Issue: Don't Stop. And, I had previously blogged on this topic back in February, 2007. Let's hope that the momentum keeps building for this, until we get the law passed in all the West Coast states!

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