Colorado House Passes Bicycle “Safety Stop” Bill

If signed into law, the bill would make it easier for cities and towns to pass local laws enabling bicyclists to treat stop signs as yields.

Photo: David Sachs
Photo: David Sachs

Colorado cities and towns may soon have an easier time legalizing what many cyclists already do to stay safe: Treat stop signs as yield signs and red lights as stop signs.

In a 54 to 10 vote, the Colorado House passed the “safety stop” bill, which now heads to the Senate with a decent chance of becoming law.

The bill is a little convoluted. It would not “allow bicyclists to ride through stop signs,” as Fox31 has reported. Local governments can already adopt that rule, and Summit County, Dillon, Breckenridge, and Aspen enacted versions of it years ago.

What the bill would do is standardize language for other towns to adopt this measure. And that matters because it gives cities one less excuse to avoid enacting the “safety stop” rule, says Bicycle Colorado Denver Director Piep van Heuven.

“The legislation is important because it’ll create uniform conditions as more and more communities adopt bike-friendly traffic regulation,” van Heuven said. “It also removes one of the barriers to passing new safety laws. Communities can focus discussion on whether the safety stop law will improve traffic flow and safety without also needing to draft the language.”

In Denver, the state bill would give the City Council a ready-made, standardized ordinance to adopt.

The standardized rule says that at intersections with stop signs, cyclists should slow “to a reasonable speed” and yield to anyone with the right of way before proceeding. The default “reasonable speed” is 15 mph, but local governments will be able to raise or lower that speed.

At red lights, cyclists would have to completely stop and proceed only if there’s no cross traffic.

The idea behind the safety stop is to bring the law into alignment with reasonable cyclist behavior.

University of Colorado study found that bicyclists disobey stop lights to stay safe. When bicyclists get a head start at intersections, they become more visible to the drivers behind them, which helps avoid crashes in which the driver turns across the path of a cyclist in the vehicle’s blind spot.

House reps stripped an amendment that would’ve outlawed the safety stop on state highways, so the bill now heads back to the Senate. Given the element of local control in the legislation, van Heuven thinks it has a good chance of passing.

“We’re optimistic based on the initial Senate vote,” she said. “Now is a good time to reach out to your state senator and remind them why this is important for your safety on our roadways.”

  • jcwconsult

    This will be a very effective way to destroy respect for cyclists. I agree that it is perfectly safe for a cyclist to roll a stop sign when the way is clear and to proceed at a red light after stopping if the way is clear. THAT is not the issue. The same is true for car drivers, those actions are perfectly safe when the way is clear, but car drivers would never be given a “safety stop” rule. The correct text was on a car owned by a cyclist:
    Same Roads, Same Rights, Same Rules.
    If cyclists want respect from car drivers, they need to follow the same road rules.

    James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

    • roberthurst157

      I am a driver and I completely disagree. It makes perfect sense that drivers of cars – which can easily kill if the driver’s attention lapses for 1 second – and people on bikes would have different rules on the road.

      • jcwconsult

        I respect your opinion, but it is not the law in most states. Where there are decent sight lines and no cross traffic is present, it is equally safe for cyclists and car drivers to roll stop signs and treat red lights as stop signs. If there is nothing to hit, there are no safety issues.

        James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

        • roberthurst157

          As a driver and a bicyclist it is clear that it is much easier to overlook other road users from a vantage point inside a car. For instance a bicyclist or pedestrian about to cross the street can be completely obscured by something as small as a window pillar in a car, or a dirty windshield, etc. Makes perfect sense to me that drivers of 4000-pound vehicles that can kill in an instant where the sun is shining on a dirty windshield (as occurred last year in Bonnie Brae when a driver killed a toddler in a stroller who was crossing the street with his mom) or the driver is fiddling with the radio would have to follow different laws than people on bikes or walking. It’s a totally different animal.

          • jcwconsult

            I should add a bit of information here. The USA has a fetish for too many Stop signs that should be Yield signs, and too many stop lights that should be roundabouts (given the space to install proper modern ones). I kept track on several consecutive visits to the UK and saw a Stop sign about once in every 800 miles – used ONLY where the sight lines did not permit a good view of potential cross traffic. Almost everything in the UK is a Yield protocol (they call it Give Way) where you do not need to stop if the way is clear. On a recent trip to Germany, the same was true – almost every regular intersection had a Yield protocol, if the sight lines were decent. This Yield protocol style produces reduced air pollution, noise pollution, wasted fuel, wear on vehicles and lost time. A Sergeant in the Livonia, MI police went through the Stop signs in his city and removed those that did not meet their warrants (engineering requirements), mostly in residential areas. The average speeds in those areas went down after removal and he got a Governor’s Traffic Safety Advisory Commission safety award for the work.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • roberthurst157

            USA also has a fetish for driving at deadly speeds on neighborhood streets. In your travels in Europe maybe you noticed that speed limits tend to be 30 KPH in residential areas, and drivers there do not have an expectation of being able to drive fast wherever they want. I would support replacing stop signs with yield signs here after driving speeds in neighborhoods are effectively lowered and strictly enforced at that 15-20 mph level as in European cities. Otherwise doing so would just make drivers even more entitled and deadly than they already are.

          • jcwconsult

            I have seen some 30 kph & 20 mph residential limits in Europe. (I have driven in 27 world countries) I have also seen a LOT of residential areas in Europe that retain the typical 50 kph or 30 mph limits on residential streets. Some UK areas that went to 20 mph (from 30) saw actual average speeds change by about 1 mph which is irrelevant to safety. A couple saw crashes go up and they reverted back to 30 zones.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • Andrew

            Some UK areas that went to 20 mph (from 30) saw actual average speeds change by about 1 mph which is irrelevant to safety.

            Laws that aren’t enforced are meaningless.

          • jcwconsult

            This point has come up repeatedly in other discussions. NO city has the ability to enforce speed limits with enough officers or enough cameras to significantly reduce the actual travel speeds. Such enforcement would require a massive budget increase, monies that cities do not have and will not spend. Significant changes in actual travel speeds can be achieved only with changes in the engineering of the streets themselves. Many cities are reluctant to do this because that also costs a lot of money AND it kills the for-profit speed traps.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • Andrew

            My city wants to do it, The state legislature won’t allow it. Nonetheless, the handful of speed cameras that are in place have been significantly decreasing driver speeds. In other words, enforcement works.

            You object if a city loses money on speed enforcement (“would require a massive budget increase”) and you object if a city makes money on speed enforcement (“for-profit speed traps”). You’ll have to pardon me if I reach the obvious conclusion that your actual objection has nothing to do with money and has everything to do with the speed enforcement itself.

          • jcwconsult

            If they really worked well, there would not be the huge profits.

            I just note the reality – cities will NOT use enough enforcement to actually reduce most speeds at a high budget cost.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • Andrew

            A reduction in daily violations of 104 to 35 over 18 months does not suggest that there are “huge profits.” It does, however, suggest that there are significant impacts on driver compliance with the speed limit – and on pedestrian safety, with a 23.3% reduction in injuries.

            Enforcement works. (That’s why you don’t like it.)

          • jcwconsult

            Check the financial stats and follow the money trail.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • mckillio

            1 mph is not irrelevant at all in regards to safety.

          • jcwconsult

            Nonsense. The negative aspects of more speed variance are greater than the reduced physics consequences of a 1 mph reduction in average speeds.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • mckillio

            Not nonsense at all when we’re talking about pedestrians and cyclists.

            https://usa.streetsblog.org/2016/05/31/3-graphs-that-explain-why-20-mph-should-be-the-limit-on-city-streets/

          • jcwconsult

            Speed variance is the cause of uneven and less safe traffic flows. Artificially low limits that are ignored by most drivers lead to more speed variance, more conflicts, and more danger.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • mckillio

            You’re deflecting.

          • jcwconsult

            No, you are not taking the realities into account. My views come from 75+ years of real history of actual research.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • mckillio

            Yes, you are. I am taking realities into account, a 1 mph difference can mean the difference between life and death. If you weren’t so busy deflecting you’d realize that.

          • jcwconsult

            You are ignoring the reality of increased danger with more speed variance. Traffic safety is a VERY complex interaction of many elements. Focusing on one or two and ignoring others easily leads to the wrong actions. The really unfortunate part of this happens when cities deliberately and maliciously ignore some elements so they can focus on the few actions that sharply increase the ability to fine mostly safe drivers for “the crime of driving safely for the conditions”. THAT is a for-profit racket.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • mckillio

            And you’re ignoring the reality of physics. Please provide proof that lowering speed limits has lead to an increase in number and severity of crashes particularly in regards to pedestrians and cyclists.

          • jcwconsult

            Lowering speed limits (without engineering changes that would actually effect travel speeds) has almost no effect on the actual traffic speeds, except to sometimes increase speed variance which tends to raise crash risks.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • mckillio

            A. You’re assuming that all streets aren’t designed for lower speeds, many are, especially in and near downtown Denver. B. You’re still ignoring the fact that if one goes slower and gets in a crash the crash will be less severe. C. Lowering the speed limit could very well reduce speed variants. D. I’d still like to see evidence that lowering speed limits increases the rates and severity of crashes.

          • jcwconsult

            A. If streets are actually designed for lower speeds, the speeds will actually be lower. The for-profit ticket scams are for lower posted limits without effective engineering parameters.
            B. True, but lower posted limits without engineering changes do NOT create lower actual speeds. Axiom #1 on this issue.
            C. The reverse is true in most cases, because lower limits below the speeds most drivers find to be safe and comfortable – and which ARE safe and comfortable under almost all circumstances – do not reduce the actual speeds of most drivers.
            D. See http://www.ibiblio.org/rdu/sl-irrel.html for the largest study ever done on the effects of raising and lowering posted limits.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • mckillio

            A. Generally speaking yes but the higher limit gives people an excuse to go faster, which increases speed variances.

            B. Again, you’re assuming they aren’t properly engineered, stop doing that. Some people will go slower, some won’t, essentially no one will be going faster. Therefore speeds will lower, theoretically speed variances will increase but the lower speeds will also reduce other crashes and their severity.

            C. Maybe on stroads/roads with terrible designs but here on most city streets they’re properly designed and we are almost entirely talking about city streets here. There’s nothing safe/r about higher speed limits.

            D. That study which is very out of date and doesn’t take into account any of the things we now know about street designs and pedestrian/cyclists. It also only looked at rural and urban highways, so it’s basically completely irrelevant to this discussion. It also doesn’t show that lowering speed limits to unrealistic speeds increases crashes, just that it doesn’t reduce them but again that’s only in regards to car crashes. It also doesn’t address the severity of crashes. Nor does it define what “long-term”In sum, that study is almost worthless in regards to the context that we’re discussing.

          • jcwconsult

            Thoughtful replies, but my experience and that of the safety department of the Michigan State Police do not agree.
            A. Plus or minus a maximum of 3 mph, but usually 0 to 2 mph, the posted limits have no effect on the actual travel speeds. I know of many examples where a +10 mph increase in the posted limits left the actual 85th percentile speeds exactly the same.
            B. If the “required” speeds are that 85% will be at or below for example 25 mph, but the street is not engineered that way, then it is the engineering that is wrong. ONLY engineering can create and maintain 85th speeds of XX mph.
            C. Limits set notably below the actual 85th speeds of free flowing traffic under good conditions tend to increase speed variance and conflicts between users, which raises crash risks. They also give vulnerable pedestrians and cyclists a false sense of security by lying to them on what they should expect for the actual speeds of the surrounding traffic. It is foolish and dangerous to lie to users that traffic should be expected at around 25 mph when it is really coming at up to about 35 mph.
            D. The highest confidence for the lowest crash rates was with limits raised to or closer to the actual 85th speeds. Remember, I know Martin Parker and have communicated with him for more than 20 years. He has been a regular presenter at the Michigan Traffic Safety Summit. He is one of the most respected traffic safety researchers in North America. Any suggestion that the most definitive study ever done on this issue is worthless is simply wrong.
            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • Yup, right on cure, hoarking up the Solomon Curve where it’s not even remotely applicable.

          • jcwconsult

            Parker is 30 years after Solomon, with the same conclusions for both urban and rural roads.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • Andrew

            You ignored his question. Try again.

          • jcwconsult

            No, I explained Parker showed 85th methods apply in cities.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • Andrew

            What he asked of you: “Please provide proof that lowering speed limits has lead to an increase in number and severity of crashes particularly in regards to pedestrians and cyclists.”

            We’re all still waiting on that.

          • jcwconsult

            Crash rates count those with pedestrians and cyclists.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • Alicia

            We’re still waiting for you to produce any research that says the 85% methodology is compatible with safe and convenient pedestrian and bicycling access. You’ve been spamming the Streetsblog family of sites (as well as general news sites around the world) for years, but you still haven’t come up with any examples of such research.

          • jcwconsult

            Except for research that is entirely about limited access freeways, all traffic researchers are concerned with total crashes and results – including those with pedestrians and cyclists.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • Alicia

            ” all traffic researchers are concerned with total crashes and results – including those with pedestrians and cyclists.”

            That’s an assertion without evidence. We’re still waiting for you to produce any research that says the 85% methodology is compatible with safe and convenient pedestrian and bicycling access.

          • Lest we forget, 75+ years includes the notion that widening roads for a margin of safety will make them safer (turns out that they only make cars speed more), the endless promotion of the long-debunked meaning of the Solomon Curve, and decades of ignoring research on induced traffic and traffic evaporation.

          • jcwconsult

            Solomon was never debunked, the conclusions were found to be the same 30 years later by Parker – and on both urban and rural roads. Cirrillo proved the same for freeways.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • Solomon is applicable to one particular kind of road. Using it as a basis for planning other streets, to justify lax enforcement, and to misinform judicial rulings has made us a nation of speeders where killing 40,000 people a year is considered no big deal.

          • jcwconsult

            Just above – the conclusions were found to be the same 30 years later by Parker – and on both urban and rural roads. You can pretend Parker did not happen or that you failed to see it, but that does not negate its proofs. Parker was the most exhaustive study ever done on the effects of raising and lowering speed limits. He basically proved what observers of all kinds had instinctively known for decades: posted limits have almost no effect on travel speeds and safety is optimized when posted limits are set at about the 85th percentile speed.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • This is, of course, the result of 30 years of overbuilt streets and nonenforcement based on belief in the Solomon Curve. Parker reached conclusions that were in the premises, which should surprise nobody, nor should it impress anybody.

            If you overbuild streets to handle one standard deviation over the mean as a safety margin and let everyone speed to one standard deviation over the mean, thereby erasing that margin, you’ll end up with an entirely tautological 85% percentile compliance. This in itself indicates nothing. The impact of that erased safety margin is the only relevant outcome.

          • jcwconsult

            The reality is you cannot control speeds to be at or below the mean, with any level of enforcement cities are willing to fund.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • Andrew

            And how much of that “research” is on the topic of pedestrian safety?

          • jcwconsult

            Traffic safety researchers and engineers consider all users.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • Andrew

            Funny, then, how none of the “research” that you’ve cited has any bearing on pedestrians.

          • jcwconsult

            Researchers count the stats for all users.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • Alicia

            You’re a chronic liar. The researchers you cite virtually never treat road safety for pedestrians or bicyclists as objectives.

          • jcwconsult

            I know I can never convince you, but those following the thread may well be convinced by facts and research – especially when explained by someone who knows some of the researchers personally.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • Andrew

            Understatement. He completely ignored your reference to pedestrians and cyclists.

          • Andrew

            Speed variance is the cause of uneven and less safe traffic flows.

            This is your response to a comment specifically about pedestrians and cyclists. Are you suggesting that motorists drive at a walking pace (about 3 mph), to avoid speed variances between motorists and pedestrians?

          • jcwconsult

            No – just that smooth, even, predictable traffic flows with less speed variance tend to be the safest for all users.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • Seems like a response inapplicable to reality.

            Except in a world where pedestrians are going 25-30mph.

          • Andrew

            You’re ignoring the speed variance between motorists and pedestrians.

          • jcwconsult

            We will never have cars limited to walking speeds.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • roberthurst157

            Wel…Much of UK is very bad for biking and walking as well, largely because of those high speeds you mention. Generally speaking speed limits in continental European cities are MUCH lower than in the US, which contributes to those cities being much safer and more pleasant to be in. The difference is really very obvious in person, and on paper.

            When cars travel 30 mph, a collision with a kid or other neighborhood resident is very likely to be fatal. When cars travel 20 mph, collisions are very unlikely to be fatal. It has to do with physics, and that pesky exponent in the formula. So in the USA with 25 mph speed limits on neighborhood streets we get actual 30-40mph deadly speeds. Why? Is there a reason you, an individual human, need to be driving at deadly speeds through residential areas that is more important than all the people who live there? Please slow down and be less selfish.

          • jcwconsult

            There is a very high rate of walking in the UK, my wife is British.

            And the axiom that is SO hard to teach is that posted limits set notably below the actual 85th percentile speed of free flowing traffic under good conditions do NOT reduce travel speeds, only engineering can do that. People can wail and gnash their teeth for decades saying this shouldn’t be this way, but only engineering can produce and maintain 85th percentile speeds of XX mph where about 85% are at or below that speed under the best of conditions. That is simply a fact everyone must accept.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • roberthurst157

            I am not buying what you’re trying to sell here. I’ve seen speeds effectively controlled with a single radar van.

            Let’s change the speed limit signs – spending approx. 0.0$ in the process – and see who is right. If it doesn’t work, we can just change them back.

          • jcwconsult

            Right at or near the van, yes. Overall, no. Your “study” has been done a great many times with no positive effects.

            The Michigan State Police did some speed studies on a main collector street near Lansing with a posted limit of 35 mph. First they did it from an unmarked vehicle with the officer in civilian clothes, so no one would think it was a police vehicle. Then they did it from a marked cruiser with a bubble on top and a uniformed officer. The 85th percentile speeds were 43 mph from the unmarked car and 42 from the marked one – a statistically irrelevant difference well within normal variation.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • Andrew

            And the axiom that is SO hard to teach is that posted limits set notably below the actual 85th percentile speed of free flowing traffic under good conditions do NOT reduce travel speeds, only engineering can do that.

            As can meaningful traffic enforcement (the kind of traffic enforcement that you don’t like).

          • jcwconsult

            “Meaningful enforcement’ costs big money, so it isn’t used.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • Andrew

            It’s used in my city.

          • HayBro

            Yes – far too many stop signs. Thing is, that when there are no stop signs for long stretches, too many (most?) drivers gun it and end up breaking speed limits, not yielding to pedestrians crossing the street, and travel at a speed where it would be impossible to yield to cross traffic. You see it everywhere – people concerned about safety due to dangerous motorists asking for stop signs, and cities putting the signs in to improperly take care of the problem. The traffic controls that motorists (I am one) complain about are directly a result of BAD DRIVING. We need better driver training, stricter license tests, more enforcement of reckless driving, and a more civilized culture that behaves properly and responsibly when handling a 4000 lb object through public space.

          • jcwconsult

            Most states have something like a Governor’s Traffic Safety Advisory Commission that issues awards every year for valuable contributions to traffic safety by officials or members of the public. A police sergeant in the city of Livonia, MI researched the engineering warrants (requirement to install) for stop signs in his city. He got the ones that did not meet the warrants removed. He did speed studies before and after the signs were removed and found the average speeds went DOWN without the unnecessary signs that were often every block or every other block. He got an award for his work. Using stop signs for speed control is a violation of traffic safety engineering practices.

            So many things about traffic safety engineering are counter intuitive which makes the principles hard to teach. Most drivers respond well to realistic controls and ignore unrealistic ones. And NO city has enough enforcement resources to change most behaviors with enforcement. Engineering is the proper answer that works.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • HayBro

            I agree engineering and smart design are key. I also believe that driving will be a lot smoother and safer if we have better up-front driver training and licensing protocols that do not allow bad drivers to get licenses so easily. We also need stricter consequences for drivers who get multiple moving violations and DUIs. Is that something the National Motorists Association can get behind?

          • jcwconsult

            We have long supported better driver training. Stricter sanctions for multiple violations should depend upon whether the parameters of the violations were correct. For example, if a city or state sets posted speed limits below even the 50th percentile speed to arbitrarily define 50% or 70% or 90+% of the drivers as violators – then most speeding tickets will be for-profit rackets, not safety violations. We strongly support sanctions for high BAC drivers because something like 25% of all fatals involve a person with a BAC of 0.14 or higher. We think high sanctions for drivers under 0.10 BAC are not justified in most cases because those drivers present little more risk than totally sober ones.

            Go to our website and click on the Learn More About NMA on the opening page for our basic principles.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

        • JimthePE

          How can you say it’s equally safe? Safety (actually risk) has two components: probability and severity. Severity is largely a function of kinetic energy. At the same speed, a motor vehicle will have 20 times as much energy as a person on a bicycle.

          Including private road and parking lot crashes, over 40,000 people were killed in vehicle crashes last year. How many people were killed in non-vehicle cyclist crashes?

          • jcwconsult

            No cross traffic = no crashes.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • Jesse

            oh okay.
            No cars = no crashes.
            Perfect.

          • jcwconsult

            I have often said that well designed pedestrian precincts can be quite effective. I’ve experienced many of them in the US and the UK where the main collector and arterial roads lead to near the precincts and adequate parking for employees and shoppers. Then there are some adjacent very slow streets for bus and drop off/pick up vehicles. Commercial vehicles are allowed in at very slow speeds before and after shop hours. It works VERY well.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

        • Andrew

          I respect your opinion, but it is not the law in most states.

          In case you haven’t been paying attention, we’re discussing a proposal to change the law in the state of Colorado.

          Where there are decent sight lines and no cross traffic is present, it is equally safe for cyclists and car drivers to roll stop signs and treat red lights as stop signs.

          No, it is not equally safe.

          Cyclists have greater visibility than motorists, cyclists have far more natural incentive to avoid making mistakes, and cyclists cause far less damage when they do make mistakes.

          • jcwconsult

            If there is no cross traffic, no crashes are possible.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • mckillio

            But a car driver is much less able to know if there is or isn’t cross traffic and when they are wrong about it, the consequences are much more severe.

          • jcwconsult

            Many European countries disagree and use mostly Yield protocols with MANY fewer Stop protocol areas. They then get the advantages of reduced air pollution, noise pollution, fuel use, vehicle wear and lost time.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • mckillio

            That has zero to do with what I stated.

          • jcwconsult

            You must be assuming the European authorities don’t care about safety – which would be a very poor assumption.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • mckillio

            You’re still not addressing what I stated.

            So cars in Europe can roll through stop signs and proceed through traffic lights if there’s no visible cross traffic?

          • jcwconsult

            Traffic lights, no, but there are fewer of them. Stop signs, no, but there are DRASTICALLY fewer of them because most intersections with decent sight lines have Yield protocols. I kept track on several successive long visits to the UK and found a Stop sign only about every 800 miles. They almost didn’t exist, because the Yield protocol applies (they call it Give Way).

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • mckillio

            So your comment stating that “it is equally safe for cyclists and car drivers to roll stop signs and treat red lights as stop signs.” was completely irrelevant.

          • jcwconsult

            No, that is just a statement of fact. No cross traffic = no crashes.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • JimthePE

            The only way I have no cross traffic = full access control (i.e. a freeway)

          • jcwconsult

            Let us be sure we understand each other. You are closely approaching an intersection at a low speed in a car or on a bicycle and the weather is clear. You have clear sight lines down both ways on the intersecting street. There are no approaching cars or bicycles. There are no pedestrians crossing or about to cross your intended path.

            What cross traffic do you take into account in that situation?

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • JimthePE

            The 90% of road users – motorized and non-motorized – that don’t complete to a complete stop at a stop sign unless they see conflicting traffic.

          • jcwconsult

            Correct, because no cross traffic = no crashes.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • And nobody ever crashes on a freeway.

          • JimthePE

            I’m sorry if I’m wrong, but I’m assuming that’s sarcasm. Yes, there are crashes on freeways, but the rate is far, far lower than surface streets. On the other hand, the crashes that do happen tend to be worse because speed kills.

          • mckillio

            But that’s not what you said, I quoted you.

          • jcwconsult

            You can play with words if you want, but it remains true “it is equally safe for cyclists and car drivers to roll stop signs and treat red lights as stop signs.” IF THERE IS NO CROSS TRAFFIC.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • mckillio

            Sorry, I thought you had just stated that portion. But I fail to see what point you’re trying to make, as of course that’s the case. You might as well say the sun doesn’t rise in the West.

            Are you trying to say that cars should also have a Idaho Stop law?
            Why? The physical characteristic differences between cars makes it quite obvious why it’s safer by bike than car.

          • jcwconsult

            A VERY high percentage of US intersections that now have Stop signs should have Yield signs instead. At a VERY high percentage of intersections with 4-Way-Stops, the more main street should have no signs and the slightly lesser street should have Yield signs. This would apply to BOTH cars and cycles.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • Andrew

            And what safeguards would you suggest to ensure that the motorists who are required to yield do in fact yield to cross traffic, including cyclists and pedestrians, rather than expecting the cross traffic, especially cyclists and pedestrians, to yield to them?

            Where I live, and probably also where you live, motorists driving across crosswalks (marked or unmarked) at unsignalized intersections are required to yield to pedestrians attempting to cross. When you approach such intersections, do you carefully watch the sides of the street to see if a pedestrian is approaching or is waiting to cross, so that you can stop if necessary to provide the pedestrian a safe opportunity to cross, as the law requires? Or do you just blast through with no care in the world, making it amply clear to any pedestrians in the area that you’re quite prepared to kill them rather than yield to them?

            So, to ask my opening question in different words: What safeguards would you suggest to ensure that motorists don’t simply ignore yield signs and do whatever the hell they want, just as they ignore speed limit signs that don’t have robust automated enforcement systems?

          • jcwconsult

            Yield is a more logical protocol where Stop is not needed for sight lines. It is more likely to be respected than unnecessary stop signs that cause more air pollution, noise pollution, wear on vehicles wasted fuel and wasted time. When laws respect the roadway users, they are more likely to get good compliance.

            Yes, I do check for pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles so I can yield to those I should. A Yield protocol is no different than a STOP protocol in that respect, you yield as required.

            See paragraph 1 for the answer on yield signs. Speed limits set well below the safest 85th percentile levels will never get high compliance and cities will not use robust-enough automated enforcement systems to actually reduce most speeds because then the enforcement would become a huge cost factor – rather than a profit center as they are now used.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • Andrew

            Yes, I do check for pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles so I can yield to those I should.

            Really? On streets with unsignalized intersections, you look carefully for pedestrians on the curb and you stop for any pedestrian waiting to cross the street?

            Somehow I find it hard to believe that you are even aware of the pedestrians’ presence. (Driving fast tends to have that effect.)

          • jcwconsult

            I have never had a pedestrian or cyclist crash in 57 years of driving and over 1.1 million miles in 27 countries. I follow our state Uniform Traffic Code which is to yield to pedestrians in my half of the roadway or closely approaching my half. The last speeding ticket on my record was in the summer of 1995. I try to drive at about the 85th percentile speeds, and that does not tend to draw the attention of officers. I use a Valentine One to guard against the for-profit speed traps in light traffic.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

    • Josh Patsey

      There’s an entire section of the law for special laws for cyclists, so already that doesn’t make sense.
      Also, after getting hit by a car and not suffering “enough damage” we certainly don’t have the same rights on the road

    • mckillio

      They’re not the same at all. Cars have blind spots and the front of the car is three plus feet from the driver, compared to one foot for the cyclist.

      Bikes and cars already have different rights and rules, and generally speaking cyclists don’t want the same roads, they want dedicated lanes, just as pedestrians have dedicated lanes with different rules and rights.

      • jcwconsult

        State laws in almost every state make the rules the same.

        James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

        • mckillio

          No they don’t, there are all kinds of rules/laws that are different between motor vehicles and bikes.

        • Evan D

          Besides being incorrect, that’s circular logic. Laws should be the same because laws are the same?

    • deadindenver

      Hate much?

    • Andrew

      If cyclists want respect from car drivers, they need to follow the same road rules.

      The same road rules that car drivers ignore (and with your hearty approval, yet)?

      • jcwconsult

        When the traffic safety engineering parameters and enforcement are done for safety, not for ticket revenue, the compliance rates are very high.

        James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

        • Andrew

          Only where “safety” is based on a deliberate misinterpretation of a 1964 paper, applied in settings in which the paper’s author explicitly warns the reader not to apply it.

          Drivers who ignore speed limits (with your hearty approval) kill law-abiding pedestrians every day. Cyclists who yield at stop signs don’t kill or even injure pedestrians. You are defending the dangerous while objecting to the safe.

          Of course, this is because, as your repeated Disqus comments reveal, you don’t care in the slightest about safety. You care only about preserving the ability for drivers to do whatever the hell they want, regardless of the consequences.

          • jcwconsult

            Many other studies, including the largest one ever done which was by Martin Parker in 1992 for the Federal Highway Administration, show that the safety rules for setting speed limits are the same on both urban and rural roadways. It is often safer to ignore posted limits when they are improperly and less safely set below the 50th percentile speeds and sometimes below the 10th percentile speeds to arbitrarily define almost all drivers as violators to enable very lucrative speed traps.

            The NMA cares a lot about safety and wants it achieved using known and proven traffic safety engineering rules – NOT by improper rules aimed at enabling for profit speed traps.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • mckillio

            There’s no such thing as “for profit speed traps”, violators are clearly donating their money by speeding. Roads have speed limit signs, cars have speedometers, there’s no excuse for speeding.

            Besides, we’re largely talking about city streets here and they’re much less likely to be designed to encourage speeding.

          • jcwconsult

            Perhaps in a perfect world, your view would prevail, but it is hopeless unrealistic. The Parker study showed that raising the posted limits by up to 15 mph or lowering them by up to 20 mph would change the actual 85th percentile speeds by a maximum of 3 mph – but usually less, an average change of 1.5 mph.

            I approach these issues strictly from a realistic view of what will ACTUALLY happen, and I encourage you to consider that view.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • mckillio

            Now you’re talking about two different things.

            I would love to see a 5-10% decrease in speeds here in the city, that would make things much safer and pleasant.

          • jcwconsult

            Lobby the city to degrade the roadway environments so the slowest 85% of the drivers that formerly felt safe and comfortable at speeds up to XX mph, now feel safe and comfortable only at speeds up to .95XX or .90XX mph.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • mckillio

            I already have.

          • Improved safety is “degrading.”

            See, kids, this is why exhaust-huffing is bad. Don’t huff cars, m’kay?

          • Andrew

            My city is in the process of upgrading (not degrading) many of its streets to be safer and more hospitable to pedestrians and cyclists.

            But that still doesn’t stop stupid and selfish motorists from endangering other people’s lives.

            It also will take decades to upgrade all of the streets that need upgrades. We can’t wait that long.

            Serious enforcement needs to play a significant role in pedestrian safety. There’s no way around it.

          • jcwconsult

            Enough enforcement to reduce most actual speeds is too expensive, so cities don’t do it. They instead use just enough enforcement to make it wildly profitable, with little effect on the actual speeds of most vehicles. It becomes a for-profit racket.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • Andrew

            That’s funny, my city’s managed to do it.

            The daily rate of violations drops from 104 in the first month to 35 in the 18th month:

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6896b41543734b60838b78a3b4735c19f9f4bb855cdbf972d056500e9010d486.png

            Motorists quickly learn their lesson, and there are few repeat offenders:

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/39b0f2a8f29fe87554f21d090179eb3675a91d22ef1dec7236bef341f6f4b5c7.png

            Here’s a more specific look at nine individual speeding-prone locations near schools:

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1c73bf78cba5a5fc4680516a9532fcf3e637bc42702105d111554216623ce26e.png

            And, most important of all, speed enforcement has resulted in a significant reduction in injuries (14.8%), especially injuries to pedestrians (23.3%):

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/69a46b772296661c35d00a9c7a0bdb52eeec000a18dd467b2751e306ec7d3472.png

            (source)

            Stop lying.

          • Andrew

            The Parker study showed that raising the posted limits by up to 15 mph or lowering them by up to 20 mph

            without meaningful enforcement

            would change the actual 85th percentile speeds by a maximum of 3 mph – but usually less, an average change of 1.5 mph.

            There. I added the missing words for you.

            A pedestrian struck at 45 mph has a 40% chance of surviving. Lower that speed by 3 mph and the pedestrian’s chance of surviving grows to 49%. Raise it by 3 mph and his chance of surviving drops to 31%. (source) While a 3 mph reduction in speed is clearly not sufficient, it’s still a heck of a lot better than nothing for those of us concerned with pedestrian safety.

          • jcwconsult

            “Meaningful” enforcement enough to reduce most actual speeds is too expensive, so cities don’t use it.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • Andrew
          • jcwconsult

            Check the financial stats — follow the money trail.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • Alicia

            “Check the financial stats — follow the money trail.”

            Engage in a real discussion instead of regurgitating talking points.

          • jcwconsult

            Strange political positions that are contrary to reality can sometimes be explained by following the money trail.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • red123

            That’s total BS. Nice try.

          • jcwconsult

            For red123
            Which item do you think is total BS? The set of replies were on several different elements.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • Andrew

            Many other studies, including the largest one ever done which was by Martin Parker in 1992 for the Federal Highway Administration, show that the safety rules for setting speed limits are the same on both urban and rural roadways.

            If by 1992 you mean 1997, the 177-page document does not include the word pedestrian or cyclist (or bicyclist) even once.

            It is often safer

            For whom, exactly?

            to ignore posted limits when they are improperly and less safely set below the 50th percentile speeds and sometimes below the 10th percentile speeds to arbitrarily define almost all drivers as violators to enable very lucrative speed traps.

            There is nothing arbitrary about pedestrian safety, even if it’s not something that you personally care about.

            As I was saying.

            The NMA cares a lot about safety

            Motorists kill pedestrians every day. What is the NMA doing to reduce the volume of pedestrians killed by motorists?

            and wants it achieved using known and proven traff ic safety engineering rules –

            You object to any form of traffic engineering that reduces traffic speeds on city streets, whether through street redesign or through meaningful enforcement of existing laws.

            NOT by improper rules aimed at enabling for profit speed traps.

            What a sneaky trap! If you drive at speeds well above those posted on the speed limit signs, you may occasionally be fined. I can’t imagine how anybody might avoid such a trap! Surely driving within the legal speed limit isn’t feasible.

          • jcwconsult

            The Parker study was first released in 1992, and re-released in 1997 with almost all the same data panels but a deliberately confusing text to hide the real conclusions. The more accurate 1992 text is here http://www.ibiblio.org/rdu/sl-irrel.html

            BOTH versions confirm that the safest limit to post is almost always the 85th percentile speed of free flowing traffic under good conditions. Remember, I have talked to Martin Parker on may occasions for more than 20 years and have presented to him with the Michigan State Police in an ITE forum.

            The ONLY way to reduce actual traffic speeds is to re-engineer the roads so that (example) areas where the slowest 85% of the drivers formerly felt safe and comfortable at speeds up to about 35 mph, they now feel safe and comfortable only at speed up to about 25 mph. That works. It MAY cause some pretty serious problems with congestion and diversion to roughly parallel smaller streets that are not prepared for the higher volumes and speeds of commuting traffic.

            Any engineer or police officer allowed to tell the truth by their bosses will confirm that posted limits have almost no effect on the actual traffic speeds without visible enforcement that is pretty close to 24/7. Remember, I am only interested in reality, NOT in pipe dream non-solutions enforced for profits.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • It is true that overbuilt roads have resulted in speeding. Nothing magical in this 85th percentile number, it reflects the safety margin built into roads after WWII, which is one standard deviation above the mean. However, it also reflects enforcement that capitulates to treating the speed limit as one standard deviation above the limit, thereby erasing the safety margin.

          • Andrew

            Neither study touches on pedestrian safety. At all.

          • jcwconsult

            All researchers deal with total stats for all users.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • Andrew

            No they don’t. A study of collision rates between motor vehicles does not touch on pedestrian safety.

          • jcwconsult

            Sorry, crash rates count those with cyclists and pedestrians.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • mckillio

            Prove it.

          • jcwconsult

            If you actually do not believe that researchers count crashes with pedestrians and cyclists – then there is no hope for understanding because you do not understand how the basic criteria on how research is done. Solomon’s study may have involved few pedestrians or cyclists in the mix – but Parker studied many urban areas with the same results. 85th percentile posted limits almost always produce the lowest crash rates.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • mckillio

            I’m not saying whether I believe it or not, I just asked for proof. But more importantly, those two studies are for highways, where pedestrians and cyclists aren’t allowed, so I fail to see how the two were taken into account.

          • jcwconsult

            I won’t say this again, even if you deny it again, but Parker studied both urban and rural roadways. The methodology applies to freeways, rural highways, and urban roadways of all kinds.

            And it simply defies logic that a researcher would include crashes between vehicles in the stats, but would say “Oh those crashes that occurred between cars and pedestrians and cyclists can be left out of the stats – to deliberately falsify the total data set.” It is utter nonsense to believe such a conclusion.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • mckillio

            The Parker study only mentions highways, per the link you provided. So I fail to see how a study based on highways would take pedestrian and cyclists crashes in any kind of meaningful way.

          • jcwconsult

            “Highway” is a generic term that means a roadway open to the public for travel. Parker is Michigan based and in the definitions in Michigan law the smallest residential street is a “highway”. Many of Parker’s urban studies were on main roads passing through cities with a mix of cars, trucks, cyclists and pedestrians.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • jcwconsult

            Michigan Motor Vehicle Code

            257.20 “Highway or street” defined.

            Sec. 20.

            “Highway or street” means the entire width between the boundary lines of every way publicly maintained when any part thereof is open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

    • Evan D

      1. Motorists are significantly impaired by their vehicles in sight and hearing compared to cyclists, so motorists are much less likely to accurately judge when the way is clear. I have personal experience being on the receiving end of this impairment.

      2. A cyclist who wrongly judges when the way is clear will almost certainly suffer the greatest consequences in the resulting crash. By contrast, it’s quite common for a motorist at fault in a crash to be least impacted in person and property compared to the other involved parties.

      • jcwconsult

        Europeans usually disagree and use Yield or Give Way protocol far more than in the USA.

        James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

        • Evan D

          That does not establish that drivers’ perception is on par with cyclists, nor does it disprove my second point. And in any case, Europeans have stricter licensing requirements for drivers.

          • jcwconsult

            I disagree that there is a significant difference in the view that the way is clear or not for a motorist or a cyclist at very slow speeds of typically less than 10 mph approaching a stop sign where the sight lines on the cross street are decent. A VERY high percentage of those locations should have Yield signs to reduce air pollution, noise pollution, fuel use, vehicle wear & lost time.

            Agreed that a cyclist or pedestrian usually comes out worse in almost any crash with a vehicle, that is simple physics which should not affect proper traffic safety engineering.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • Evan D

            I’ve been struck by a car going about 10 miles per hour in broad daylight, which left-turned into me at a 4-way intersection. I had come to a complete stop, then entered the intersection before the car arrived at the opposite side. They couldn’t see me because of glare on their windshield, and they couldn’t hear me yelling at them to stop because their windows were up.

            So we have windshield glare, a driving position set several feet back from the front of the vehicle, a posture which makes it more difficult to turn one’s head, blind spots from roof pillars, and hearing which is worse than that of a cyclist wearing earbuds (https://www.vox.com/2014/8/7/5956899/bike-headphones-safe-dangerous-riding). Drivers’ senses are unquestionably compromised by their vehicles.

            The Idaho stop was found to be associated with fewer crashes (https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CDsQFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fbclu.org%2Fjmeggs-TRB-IDAHO-AUG10.pdf&ei=QuprU8mYC4iTyATk74DAAw&usg=AFQjCNFNrRAi8e6lSJHG8a4sZ14TLIYCxA&sig2=KW1yJCV28sjE7UaeJiAA8A&bvm=bv.66330100,d.aWw). Stop signs were necessitated by the advent of motor vehicles; bicycles were already on the streets for years prior without a need for those traffic controls.

            I have also now remembered that Europe does not generally permit right turns on red, so it would seem that continent is not as trusting of drivers as you think. Would you care to share an example of an intersection with a stop sign which you think could instead be a yield sign?

          • jcwconsult

            No set of laws and priority rules can possibly stop all crashes. From your description, whether the car did or did not quite stop on the opposite side of the intersection before entering the intersection would not have affected the crash where the primary cause was windshield glare after entry to the intersection box.

            You are correct Europe does not generally permit right turns on red (or left on red in the UK). But please note traffic lights are less common in many areas with greater use of well-designed roundabouts that usually cut crashes by about half and cut serious injury & fatal crashes by 80-90%. Europeans also have more frequent applications of Yield or Give Way protocol, so the need for unnecessary full stops is sharply reduced. This produces much greater respect for the less common need for a full stop. We respected the Stop signs we saw about every 800 miles in the UK, because they were used only where absolutely necessary due to poor sight lines.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • Evan D

            1. I arrived at intersection and come to a complete stop
            2. Car arrives at intersection opposite me and maybe comes to complete stop
            3. Since I arrived at the intersection first, I enter the intersection traveling straight ahead
            4. Since they perceive no one else at the intersection (due to window glare, the driver said), the car enters the intersection turning left, before I have cleared it.
            5. I start yelling at the car.
            6. Car hits me

            Roundabouts are completely irrelevant to whether bikes should be allowed to roll stop signs. I don’t know why you’re bringing them into this conversation.

          • jcwconsult

            Your description of the crash confirms my analysis – whether the car from the opposite side fully stopped or not was irrelevant.

            Roundabouts are hugely relevant because they totally eliminate unnecessary stop signs and unnecessary stops when no conflicting traffic is present. MANY UK intersections that do not have enough area to allow installation of raised-center roundabouts have what are called ‘mini-roundabouts’. They are large painted white dots in the center of the intersection meaning you are to treat the intersection as if it had a raised-center roundabout. You yield to traffic already in the intersection or coming from the right and about to be in the intersection before you would be in the intersection box.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • Evan D

            This discussion is not about redesigning intersections. That’s a good discussion to have, but it is irrelevant both to the article and the point you originally tried to make.

            My point does not hinge on whether the car fully stopped or not. It hinges on whether the driver was blinded by their vehicle, which they were—they were blinded by the sun on their windshield, a piece of equipment noticeably lacking on most bicycles. It directly proves that there is “a significant difference in the view that the way is clear or
            not for a motorist or a cyclist at very slow speeds of typically less
            than 10 mph approaching a stop sign where the sight lines on the cross
            street are decent,” which is the assertion you rejected all the way at the top. The significantly higher rate of collisions with pedestrians and cyclists at intersections, both at speed and after the car had fully stopped, shows that there is indeed reason to treat cars and cyclists differently in the law.

            If you aren’t prepared to support your original argument, which I will quote: “Same Roads, Same Rights, Same Rules.
            If cyclists want respect from car drivers, they need to follow the same road rules.” and are instead going to continue to branch off into new topics like traffic engineering, then I think this discussion is at an end.

          • jcwconsult

            Perhaps that is best to end here. Your own crash showed it made no difference whether the car stopped or not before the stop sign before hitting you in the intersection. The problem was windshield glare which would have been an identical problem with or without a full stop some feet back from the intersection.

            America has a fetish for unnecessary stop signs, at so many places that should be yield signs for both cyclists and car drivers. It breeds disrespect for so many stop signs that are unnecessary, yet the car driver risks serious tickets to ignore them if viewed by an officer. Seeing cyclists ignore them – mostly in states where that is illegal causes disrespect for cyclists from car drivers.

            The root cause is engineering mistakes. I tend to look at the real causes of problems that correction would solve. Thanks for a good and thorough discussion.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • Andrew

            Perhaps that is best to end here.

            So you’re going to go away and stop spamming serious safety discussions all across the Internet?

          • Alicia

            No, JCW may stop for a few weeks, but he’ll always be back to troll again. Either he’s getting paid for spamming hundreds of sites with pro-speeding propaganda, or he’s seriously deranged.

          • jcwconsult

            I get no pay from the NMA, almost all of us are volunteers. If reading, understanding, and discussing traffic safety research reports = deranged in your view, then it is use of the word that most people would find false.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • Alicia

            ” If reading, understanding, and discussing traffic safety research reports”

            You may read them. You don’t understand them, as shown by the fact that you refuse to recognize the shortcomings of those studies.

          • mckillio

            Why can’t you just admit that which is perfectly clear, cars cannot as easily or safely tell if an intersection is clear or not. It’s been explained to you by multiple, it is Crystal clear that you’re wrong, just give up.

          • jcwconsult

            Because it is simply not true. Here and in many countries that use the Yield protocol FAR more often than an unnecessary Stop protocol – car drivers can easily and accurately tell if the intersection is clear or not. Insisting on unnecessary stops breeds disrespect for the times a Stop is really needed, and breeds disrespect for traffic controls in general. It is wrong.

            James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

          • mckillio

            It 100% is true. Stop with the hold Yield thing in other countries and whether we should have fewer stop signs. Do cyclists have blind spots in front of them? Do cyclists have multiple feet of vehicle in front of them that requires they pull farther out so they can see? Do cyclists have windshields that get dirty and/or cause glares? Can cyclists hear their surroundings better than car drivers? If a cyclist is wrong about whether the intersection is clear, what are the chances that the car that hits them or they hit is likely to be seriously injured?

          • “If cyclists want respect from car drivers, they need to follow the same road rules” is of course completely absurd. I can’t routinely bike 10-15mph over the speed limit and kill 40,000 people a year, so I’ll never be respected by the people who do.

    • For those unfamiliar with the National Exhaust-HuffersMotorists Association, hop onto the Wayback Machine at http://web.archive.org/web/*/motorists.org to watch a bunch of “how to beat emissions testing,” “how to beat your ticket,” and “how to get away with speeding” Usenet FAQs morph into mannered corporate messaging. Still the same twisted priorities, though.

      The problem with that inane “Same Roads/Rights/Rules” bumper sticker (yes, it is a bumper sticker) is that we don’t have the same roads. Motorists get many, many, many miles of limited-access highway built and maintained at overwhelming public expense. You sure as heck won’t see any of this false-equivalency rhetoric from the National Kill-More-People-Than-RifleMotorists Association advocating fair and balanced access for bicyclists to those roads.

    • james

      No that still comes down to the individual riders who will, just like drivers break this law. Nothing will change except everyone else who respects this new ordinance will have piece of mind while staying safe on their bike instead of having to break a law to do so.

  • Darren Buck

    A few things I offer to people for consideration, that this initiative addresses: it recognizes the PROFOUND physical and operational differences between motor vehicles and bicycles and, given that these are public rights-of-way (ROWs), there should be separate sets of reasonable operational laws governing them, which is NOT a new concept; it also CODIFIES what both the motoring public and the cycling public have come to know as BEST PRACTICES. Idaho encountered the exact same cultural pushback when the state enacted its similar laws in 1982; it’s become a non-issue and has improved safety there, and I would anticipate more and more states will enact similar laws. Finally, I’ll personally note some observations, as a cyclist having logged over 100,000 miles over the past 35 years or so: first, motorists tend to be more annoyed with me if I come to a complete stop at a stop sign, versus rolling, if the intersection is clear, and it’s “my go;” secondly, I suspect (perhaps hope?) others — motorists and cyclists, alike — will come to discover one of the things I enjoy about riding around town: engaging and making eye contact with fellow vehicle operators, especially in motor vehicles — it’s a SOCIAL OCCASION. I’m sincerely thankful when vehicle operators take a moment to be non-distracted, attentive, and courteous. I’d politely offer to anyone, this is a far better way to travel or recreate on a public ROW.

  • red123

    This is a really dumb law. It needs to be one way everywhere. For instance, Boulder will pass this ordinance making it legal to yield at stop signs and Broomfield won’t. You could literally be on the same bike ride and have two laws for the exact same situation. That is the height of stupid and will be confusing for everyone involved.

    Also, cyclists (or anybody) can already pass through a red light that doesn’t detect them. That law already exists.

    • red123

      I’m in favor of the Idaho stop, but it needs to apply everywhere or not at all. Speed limits aren’t optional in some places and not others.

      • roberthurst157

        Speed limits are different in every municipality. I think we can handle it.

        • red123

          Epic fail. Speed limits are different but obeying them is not.

          • The compliance required for speed limits differs quite a bit based on a number of variables. Skin color, for example.

  • Michael A. Wallin

    If cyclists don’t respect the stop sign / traffic signal, why should motorists? Completely wrong-headed and dangerous.

    • Steven H

      If you can’t tell the difference between a car and a bike, then you shouldn’t have a drivers license.

    • JimthePE

      Here’s a hint. Motorists are operating dangerous pieces of heavy machinery that kill 40,000 Americans and injure hundreds of thousands more annually. Bicyclists aren’t.

    • james

      The law does not change the requirement to respect a stop sign or stop light, just to respect them in a different way given the completely different mode of usage.

      As someone who mainly rides but also shares a car with my wife and drives on occasion I can definitively state that driving is much more dangerous than cycling when it comes to seeing and respecting other users. Not to mention the much harsher consequences if you get something wrong in a car. There is a reason for the stricter laws with cars, but not with bikes.

  • PabloDali

    No more Free Rides for Bicycles.

    It’s time for MANDATORY licensing, registration and liability insurance for ALL bikes and cyclists that ride on public roadways.

    Same as any other vehicle.

    • mckillio

      But bikes aren’t the same as any other vehicle.

      • PabloDali

        Motorcycles aren’t the “same” as trucks, but both require mandatory licensing, registration and liability insurance.

        Next inane deflection.

        • mckillio

          And bikes aren’t the same as motorcycles.

          Next inane comparison.

          • PabloDali

            More irrelevant nonsense from you.

            Trucks, Cars, Motorcycles and Scooters are not “the same”. Yet ALL are required to have mandatory licensing, registration and insurance to operate on the PUBLIC roadways.

            It’s time to include Bicycles.

          • mckillio

            It’s not irrelevant at all.

            All of those are more similar to each other than to bikes.

            No it’s not. Please provide evidence that registering, licensing, and insuring cyclists has a net positive effect on society.

          • Indeed, in many parts of the nation there are municipalities with registering and licensing of bicyclists and even (local) laws mandating it, yet they have determined that it’s not worth it and have abandoned the practice.

        • Since your original premise of free rides for bicycles is wrong and inane, and your demand is pointless and inane, you do not distinguish yourself as a particularly noteworthy arbiter of inanity.

          • PabloDali

            Says who?

    • deadindenver

      Sure, the day that drivers of cars pay 99% of cost of public roadways as a bike commuter I’ll be glad to help with other 1% that are wear and tear causes. The reality is Drivers Cover Just 51 Percent of U.S. Road Spending https://usa.streetsblog.org/2013/01/23/drivers-cover-just-51-percent-of-u-s-road-spending/

      • PabloDali

        Nonsense.

      • That’s just 51% of highway spending. Surface streets, for the most part, are paid out of general revenue.

    • red123

      How often does a cyclist hit somebody and injure them? Not very. If that happened at the same rates with cars we wouldn’t even need liability insurance.

      • PabloDali

        “How often does a cyclist hit somebody and injure them?”

        A Bicycle Crash Kills Another Pedestrian
        https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/bicycle-crash-kills-another-pedestrian-central-park

        • The question was about a quantity, and this did not answer it.

        • Andrew

          That was close to four years ago. As far as I know, no cyclists have killed any pedestrians in New York City since.

          (For comparison, motorists killed nine pedestrians and one cyclist in New York City in February 2018 alone.)

          • PabloDali

            “That was close to four years ago.”

            And the victim is still dead.

            The number of pedestrians fatally or seriously injured in collisions with cyclists has doubled since 2006
            https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/10/07/number-pedestrians-fatally-seriously-injured-cyclists-has-doubled/

          • Andrew

            And the victim is still dead.

            As are the ten victims of vehicular violence in February 2018. Your point?

            Motorists in New York City kill more pedestrians in a week than cyclists kill in a decade. A 1% reduction in motorist-on-pedestrian fatalities would save far more lives than a complete elimination of cyclist-on-pedestrian fatalities.

            The number of pedestrians fatally or seriously injured in collisions with cyclists has doubled since 2006

            …and is still tiny in comparison to the number of pedestrians fatally or seriously injured in collisions with motorists. Get a grip.

          • PabloDali

            “As are the ten victims of vehicular violence in February 2018. Your point?”

            That ANY vehicle capable of causing extreme injuries or death that uses the Public roadways should be required to have mandatory liability insurance to cover the victims of those accidents.

            You ain’t the sharpest tack in the box, are you Andrew?

  • Michael

    Yes perfectly safe for a bicycle to just roll through a red or stop… just like this guy in Chicago https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GpzImFp5U8g

    • mckillio

      When they’re obeying the law, yes it is completely safe. This guy wasn’t obeying what would be the Idaho Stop law. Your post is irrelevant.

      • PabloDali

        Idaho isn’t the same as Colorado.

        dee dee dee.

        • mckillio

          Like how bikes aren’t the same as motor vehicles you mean? But I wasn’t talking about Idaho, just the Idaho Stop law which has been adopted many places around the world and works just fine, not just Idaho.

          dee dee dee

          • PabloDali

            ALL vehicles — “same or not” — must obey all laws when they use the PUBLIC roadways.

            ALL vehicles that use the public roadways should be required to have mandatory registration, licensing and liability insurance.

            No more Free Rides for Bicycles.

          • mckillio

            But the laws are different for bikes, as they should be, because they’re very different from motor vehicles.

            And you’re in the wrong discussion, your registering complaint is below.

          • PabloDali

            ALL vehicles that use PUBLIC roadways should be required to have mandatory licensing, registration and liability insurance.

            Without exception.

          • mckillio

            No.

          • PabloDali

            Yes.

          • mckillio

            Good luck making that happen on a message board. They don’t have to have any of those things today, so clearly the answer is currently No.

            But good luck on your baseless, impossible task.

          • PabloDali

            “They don’t have to have any of those things today”

            They didn’t have any of those things for 50cc scooters a few years ago. They do now.

            Cities across America require mandatory bicycle registration.

            It’s time Colorado required the same.

          • mckillio

            And as I’ve pointed out bikes are very different from motor scooters.

            A handful of cities in the US require registration with no real positive benefit to it.

            For reasons you can’t explain.

          • PabloDali

            “And as I’ve pointed out bikes are very different from motor scooters.”

            You made a ridiculously specious assertion, with exactly zero proof.

            Only a fool, or a liar, would claim that 50cc mopeds are more like trucks than bicycles.

          • mckillio

            I did provide multiple pieces of proof, you chose to ignore them.

            Anyone that believes in binary absolutes in regards to opinions is not worth wasting time on. Speaking of which, I completely forgot about the block feature!

          • PabloDali

            “I did provide multiple pieces of proof,”

            You misspelled poop.

            “Anyone that believes in binary absolutes ”

            LOL! … cries the troll whose favorite retort is “they’re not the same”

            LOL!

      • Michael

        Thanks for your reply and your opinion, but I strongly disagree. When you take the meaning of clear and solid laws – like stop signs and stop lights – and create a vague definition of when it applies and when it does not, this is the inevitable result. Creating an “Idaho Stop” loophole that destroys the integrity of the traffic system for motor vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians, will inevitably lead to more injuries and more deaths. There is just now way you can reasonable argue that an “Idaho Stop” makes ANYONE safer. If you are saying it DOES make us safer, please do explain.

        • mckillio

          There’s nothing vague about it though and you can’t use this as an example to back you up because the law wasn’t in effect. We can argue that it makes us safer because it’s been proven to or at a minimum it doesn’t make things more dangerous. This type of mentality and laws are in place across the country and around the world, there’s plenty of research on it.

          I get it, it’s counter-intuitive and I completely understand people’s initial negative reaction to it but you can’t base your opinion off of your feelings.

          I’ve been car free for five or six year and ride a lot, I’ve never felt unsafe or come close to a crash when riding like this. All of my close calls happen at green lights.

    • red123

      This guy was an idiot and would have been in violation of the safety stop law. Maybe you should learn what the law actually says.

    • Frank Kotter

      I don’t throw bricks at my head despite the fact that there are no laws against it. Your post is irrelevant.

  • deadindenver

    An amazing amount of hate directed at bicyclist on the comments on this thread. It seems irrational, really why do drivers in the comfort of there 4000 pound automobile with a sound system, air conditioning, heaters, air bags for safety etc. hate cyclist so much? They get a good deal too, car registration/licensing fees, gas taxes etc., only cover about 51% of the needed road maintenance, infrastructure improvements etc. I mean gee whiz, in Europe auto drivers have to pay 100% of all that with really expensive gas taxes etc. Were Merican’s we get A god damm discount to drive a car, praise the lord. So once again why do they have to pick on cyclist?

    • American motorists are some of the most advantaged people on the planet, propped up by vast amounts of inequity, and any tiny little smidge of correction to this arrangement is a threat to their unearned privilege.

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