I saw an excellent piece in Slate last week about getting bicyclists to better-abide by traffic laws. One of the things brought up is something we’d discussed a few times on the Task Force: stop signs. Officially, in Minnesota and almost all other states, a bicycle is required to stop at stop signs like a vehicle. However, actually recommending this to bicyclists is problematic, because, as anybody who has ridden a bicycle knows, it’s extremely inefficient to stop completely and start again.
The Slate article contained a link to a video made for Oregon about the “Idaho Stop.” The Idaho Stop is a law that allows bicyclists to treat stop signs as if they were yield signs — they can’t violate cars’ right of way at the intersection, but they don’t need to stop if there are no cars in the vicinity. A law like this (HF4245) was proposed in 2008 in Minnesota, but it never made it past committee.
Here’s the video; it’s definitely worth a watch.