Urban Velo

San Francisco law would let cyclists run stop signs.

Stop SignAccording to a report on www.streetsblog.org, San Francisco is considering new legislature that allows cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs, and stoplights as stop signs. It’s something a lot of us do already, so this law essentially aims to decriminalize a victimless crime.

And while some people may think it seems like a totally unsafe proposition, consider how much easier it would be for cars to predict a cyclist’s next move. The state of Idaho recognizes the value of momentum to cyclists (and other human powered vehicles), and has a statute that reads, “A person operating a bicycle or human-powered vehicle approaching a steady red traffic control light shall stop before entering the intersection and shall yield to all other traffic. Once the person has yielded, he may proceed through the steady red light with caution. Provided however, that a person after slowing to a reasonable speed and yielding the right-of-way if required, may cautiously make a right-hand turn. A left-hand turn onto a one-way highway may be made on a red light after stopping and yielding to other traffic.”

Read more at www.streetsblog.org.

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  1. MichaelJuly 18, 2008 at 7:37 am

    Bad law, bad, bad law. We don’t need more segregation between motorists and cyclists, we need less. This is just a step toward banning non-motorized traffic on what the motorized public views as their roads.

  2. unixd0rkJuly 18, 2008 at 10:10 am

    i also think that the peds want to get in on this “less segregation” fad. get rid of those pesky crosswalks and other lines on the road and lets ROCK people!

    heck, why should i have to keep my car on the street and in between some painted lines? that’s segregationist orrin hatch type talk, son!

  3. jimmyJuly 18, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    legislate whatever you like, i’ll be riding the same regardless – running lights, signs or the traffic officers directive. whatever the situation calls for.

  4. jim gJuly 18, 2008 at 5:07 pm

    Victimless crime? Hardly. Every time you run a red light and steal someone else’s right of way, god kills a kitten AND you stamp the word ASSHOLE on bicycle riders everywhere.

    Thanks for that!

  5. jimmyJuly 18, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    i’d rather stamp asshole on every other cyclist than have my ass stamped with the bumper of some inattentive driver while i’m standing in the middle of the road waiting for a light to change colors.

  6. BjornJuly 19, 2008 at 1:28 am

    The Idaho Style group has been and continues to work towards a similar law for oregon. I think we have a good chance of getting it passed this year because we have the support of high level lawyers and several bike lobby groups. There is lots of work to be done, but I think we will prevail, largely because the system has been tested for over 20 years in Idaho and is proven to be safer and to improve the flow of traffic. People can say it violates common sense, but the facts are in, Idaho Style works so lets use it here.


  7. FritzJuly 20, 2008 at 5:34 pm

    As I reported last month *ahem* it’s a little more nuanced than what you report here. A subcommittee of a regional commission is looking at considering the law. If the MTA BPAC like it, they’ll make a recommendation to a state legislative committee who can then elect to introduce a STATE law (not SF city code) to make the Idaho style changes.

    I’m in favor of the proposed change, but right now I don’t think there’s much chance of it happening. In Idaho, it was the motorcycle lobby that pushed that law through and it flew in under the radar without any press or before any motorist group had a chance to learn about it and lobby against it. In San Francisco, it’s gotten so much press that people have already written in to their legislators (local and state) saying how much they hate the idea.

  8. fixed gear home skilletJuly 22, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    They already tried this is in California and it failed. Would be nice, but I don’t see it happening. The drivers here, Fresno, CA, are complete morons. My buddy and I ran a red light in deserted downtown only to be chased down by some old man in a van to lecture us. I could understand if I was some punk kid, but I’m a grown ass man. Needless to say, he got an ear full from us.

  9. Bike Carson » Blog Archive » Bike NewsJuly 31, 2008 at 11:48 pm

    [...] Urban Velo recently discussed a new law that is being discussed in San Francisco that would allow cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs, and stoplights as stop signs. What an excellent idea! Well half of it anyhow. I think stop signs are already yield signs for most cyclists, and we do it quite safely. I’m not so sure about the stoplight issue though. I can see this causing accidents, as I don’t typically see many breaks in traffic at the stoplights. I think it would be way too unpredictable for all traffic involved. At least that’s how I see it here in Carson City. What are your thoughts? [...]

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