bicyclists to yield at stop signs
passed the Oregon House in 2003.
“Permits person operating bicycle to enter intersection with specified traffic control device without stopping providing person operating bicycle slows to safe speed and yields right of way to traffic or pedestrians. Permits person operating bicycle to turn without stopping at intersection with specified traffic control device providing person operating bicycle slows to safe speed and yields right of way to traffic or pedestrians.”
The bill passed the House but never made it out of a Senate Rules Committee.
The BTA supported the bill. Heres a blurb from their website:
“The BTA supported this bill for various reasons, including current cycling practices. We did, however, convince the sponsor to remove stoplights from the bill. Many cyclists supported this bill and others opposed it.”
Karen Frost (photo) is the Executive Director of the Westside Transportation Alliance and was the BTA’s Program Director in 2003. She testified in support of the bill but said the BTA was not spearheading its passage. Frost said they were merely providing support to Sen. Prozanski:
“We decided it would be a good bill to support and we offered testimony at hearings on its behalf…but it wasn’t our main priority. We had other irons in the fire.”
Scott Bricker also testified in support of the bill on behalf of the BTA (I’ll have more from Bricker later).
Minutes from a March 2003 hearing for the bill in the House Transportation Committee show that legislators had safety concerns about the idea. One representative was concerned about kids in particular.
Representative Mitch Greenlick (D-Portland) was concerned about,
“the relationship between bicycles and motorists and how this bill could complicate this relationship further.”
During a Senate hearing in May of 2003, opposition to the bill came from ODOT’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Coordinator Rick Waring. He thought the bill would:
- Send mixed messages to young children
- Introduce uncertainty for drivers as to a bicyclists intention at an intersection
- Hurt the perception of bicyclists
Also adding a voice in opposition to the bill was McMinnville Police Chief Wayne McFarland. He said the bill was not practical for motorists because,
“drivers need to be aware of the intent of the bicyclist at intersections.”
While it’s clear the idea of bicyclists treating stop-signs-as-yields was not universally accepted (or understood), it did have support from some legislators and from the advocacy community. Would they support it again in 2009? Can fears and questions about the law change be adequately addressed? We’ll have to wait and see.
As for the bike community, while their is some opposition, it seems the majority would be in favor of a law change.
I would not be surprised to see a bill like this surface again. When it does, it will be interesting to see how the conversation goes.