Friday, February 20, 2009

Oregon's Trying to Go Idaho-Style

The Legislature of the State of Oregon is currently considering a bill that would make it legal for bicyclists to roll through stop signs (i.e., treat them as yield signs) when it is safe to do so. It would also allow cities to select certain specific intersections to sign/designate as areas where bicyclists would still be required to come to a full stop. It would NOT legalize proceeding through a stop light after coming to a complete stop.

Idaho has had a similar law on the books since 1982, with no reported adverse effects or incidents. They added a new provision allowing bicyclists to proceed through red stop lights (after first coming to a full stop) earlier this decade, reportedly because this option was cheaper than tuning the vehicle-detection-loops at every traffic light in the state such that they would detect bicycles.

While the Metropolitan Transportation Commission in the San Francisco Bay Area in California was studying this issue in 2008, that effort has apparently stalled.

Oregon may therefore yet become the first place outside of Idaho to legalize going "Idaho-Style."

Go Oregon!



Frank said...

Wow, this is about the smartest thing I can think of to improve Bicycle/Car/Pedestrian relations.

As a bicyclist, it can be very frustrating to have to come to a complete stop every two blocks for nobody, when just slowing down and looking is all that's necessary. This is because much energy is expended to get the bike going, and it's a real waste of momentum to have to brake all the time when there's a clear view of cross-traffic, and there is none.

I hope Portland will adopt this, if only to stop the constant complaining that bikers "don't follow the rules". The fact is that the rules are designed for cars, not bikes (which can stop on a dime).

Now that I live in the Bay area, I also hope we'll get that down here, too.

Garlynn Woodsong said...

It's kind of a dead heat race between California and Oregon as to who may go "Idaho-style" next. The bill in play in Oregon has apparently been put on hold until the next legislation session; no bill has yet been introduced in California.