Tuesday’s Tip – The Idaho Stop

Ahhh the Idaho Stop, perhaps every cyclist’s dream come true, the legal right to treat Stop signs as Yields.  Now while Idaho has successfully had this law on its books since 1982, few other cities or states have instituted this practice, with Oregon’s 2009 failure the most notable among biking enthusiasts.

The premise of the law is this: After evaluating the intersection, if clear, cyclists may proceed into the intersection.

Rolling Stop

Picture courtesy of Spencer Boomhower

Does this sound familiar? On my daily commute I would guess I see this behavior 75% of the time, although it is certainly at crosswalks and red lights rather than the rare stop sign.

The benefits of this law for cyclists is apparent, we will no longer be called law-breakers! But what about for other road users? Will pedestrians or drivers suffer? If followed correctly, the answer would be an astounding no. If a pedestrian, car or other cyclist is also approaching or at the intersection then the cyclist must act as a rational (and let’s say polite) person might do: stop for pedestrians (they do have the right of way in Boston) and follow usual intersection rules for other cyclists and cars.

This video is especially helpful for understanding the Idaho stop.

What are your thoughts on the Idaho stop? Would Boston ever go for it?

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