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Live from Salem at the Idaho Stop law hearing

Posted by on March 18th, 2009 at 2:06 pm

[Note: This story was reported live. For results of the hearing, scroll to the end.]

Rep. Jules Bailey minutes before he
introduced the Idaho Stop bill to his
colleagues on the House Transportation
Committee.
(Photos © J. Maus)

I’m sitting in Hearing Room D inside the Capitol at a hearing by the House Transportation Committee for the BTA’s Idaho Stop law.

In the room are the BTA’s chief lobbyist Karl Rohde, lawyers Ray Thomas and Bob Mionske, members of the BTA’s legislative committee Doug Parrow and Bjorn Warloe and even former BTA executive director Evan Manvel has stopped by (he now works on legislative policy for the Oregon League of Conservation Voters).

Representative Bailey (SE Portland) has just introduced the bill. Bailey is the bill’s chief supporter and he opened his testimony with a copy of the recent Oregon Business magazine that touts the state’s “Bicycle Industrial Complex.”

Story continues below

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“The only thing more annoying than getting caught behind a bicyclist on the road is getting caught behind a bicyclist who’s obeying every single law.”
— Rep. Nick Kahl, in support of the bill

“This is about the economy, people’s health, and about the environment.” Bailey is making the case that this bill will make bicycling easier, safer and more attractive because, for one, it would make using residential streets more appealing (versus riding on fast streets/arterials). “We’re not legalizing bad behavior,” said Bailey, we’re decriminalizing good behavior”.

A day in Salem-21

Rep. Nick Kahl

Rep. Nick Kahl (D-Portland) was first speak up from the Committee. He said he wasn’t supportive of this bill until this weekend. Kahl said he came around for two reasons. First, he had a conversation with his brother-in-law who told him: “The only thing more annoying than getting caught behind a bicyclist on the road is getting caught behind a bicyclist who’s obeying every single law.” (Room erupts in laughter). The other thing Kahl said won him over is that he just bought a new bike. While on a test ride near the Bike ‘N Hike on SE Grand in Portland he said, “I realized how many times I didn’t come to a full stop.” “I’m fully in support of this bill,” he said.

Rep. Jim Weidner (R-Yamhill) spoke up next and said, “I have some serious concerns about this bill.”

A day in Salem-19

Rep. Weidner has “serious concerns”.

“I teach my kids that they need to make sure no cars are coming when they approach an intersection,” he began, “and making it legal for them to blow through stop signs isn’t a good precedent for us to be setting.”

Weidner went on to say that when he comes up to a 4-way stop he doesn’t like to, but he stops because “it’s the law”. After making a comment that this bill would allow people to “blow through” stop signs, he also said he’s concerned about the precedent this sets for kids. “I’m a little nervious,” he said, “the last thing I want to do is vote on legislation that could result in a situation where a child could die. This is a very serious bill we’re dealing with here.”

“I think we’re creating a bad situation by having two sets of rules.”
— Rep. Weidner

Rep. Bailey countered Weidner’s concerns by clarifying that the bill won’t let anyone “blow through”. (Actually, the bill includes a provision that would make the citation fee 50% higher than it is now.)

Karl Rohde of the BTA then began his testimony by saying that his organization has taught over 50,000 kids throughout Oregon on how to bike safely. “We firmly believe this law is in the best interest of all road users. The BTA is deeply committed to the safety of bicyclists and we would never support a bill that would jeopardize that safety.”

“The bad behavior will continue to be against the law,” Rohde said, “and we will continue to work with law enforcement officials to make sure that dangerous riding behavior is not tolerated.”

Rohde then continued to make his case for the law proposal. He stressed that bikes have a much greater sense of their vehicle, “no blind spots” and he referenced studies that have shown that the sensory awareness of a biker is akin to that of a pedestrian.

A day in Salem-18

Rohde also introduced the conundrum of how many residential streets are full of stop signs nearly every block, yet those are precisely the streets that the city is encouraging people to ride on (instead of going on busy and big arterials). Having to make that decision is not a good position to put citizens into says Rohde.

Rep. Vicki Berger (R-Salem) shares her feelings that the law will just introduce more confusion into the system. “What about the bike lane here in Salem that has a stop sign in it? Will this apply to that?”, and, “I’m scared to death of the bike boxes”, she said. Berger thinks the bike boxes are confusing and says she’s concerned about “a whole new set of rules”.

Continuing in the vein, Rep. David Edwards (D-Hillsboro) also shared that he feels the bill “presents a level of uncertainty”. He then asked Rohde, “Would you also be in favor of allowing pedestrians to just come up to a street and go across without stopping?” Rohde replied that pedestrians are actually currently allowed to do that.

Karl Rohde (middle) with Bob
Mionske (L) and Ray Thomas (R) in
background.

Now Rep. Weidner chimes in. “It’s like we’re making two sets of rules,” he says, “I think we’re creating a bad situation by having two sets of rules.”

Rohde counters by pointing out that there are already several instances where there are two sets of rules — bikes can ride on the sidewalks and cars can’t and bikes can pass on the right at intersections and cars can’t.

“Can you define for me the difference between a bicyclist and an electric car?”
— Rep. Cliff Bentz, wondering why the bill doesn’t also include electric cars

Weidner then shares his concern over the bill’s “slow down” language. “How slow is slow enough?” he wonders. Rohde says that that definition can be worked on later. Rohde also adds the point that bikes present far less danger than cars. “Over 40,000 people die in cars each year, that’s why we regulate them more highly than bikes.”

Again, Weidner: “My concern isn’t small, rural towns, my concern is big cities like Salem and Portland.”

Then Rep. Cliff Bentz (R-Ontario) spoke up. He said that since it seems the reason for this bill is to encourage more people to ride bicycles, than why doesn’t Oregon enact a similar law for electric cars (which the state also promotes the use of).

Bentz asked Rohde: “Can you define for me the difference between a bicyclist and an electric car?”

Rep. Bailey than chimed in that this bill isn’t solely about promoting bike use, but that it’s also about improving conditions (safety and convenience) on the road. Also, he added, “Electric cars are part of a transportation system that was created to handle cars. They are not fundamentally different than gas-powered cars. A bike, to me, is a fundamentally different kind of transportation.”

Next up to testify was lawyer Ray Thomas. Thomas is on the BTA’s legislative committee who is an ardent supporter of the Idaho stop law. He has put countless hours into bringing it to Oregon.

“We’re all here for the same reason,” he began, “Laws are important and they should guide our citizens in a safe way. When we see a law that is being universally disregarded, we don’t like it.” People are violating the existing stop law, Thomas said, because “they seem to think it’s o.k. to violate it.”

Thomas’ testimony was lengthy. He touched on legal arguments, safety data (the cause of collisions is not running stop signs, it’s because someone makes the wrong decision on when to proceed through an intersection).

Thomas also pointed out that this law would free up police officers to focus “only on the most dangerous behavior”. He also pointed out that the new bill would make tickets to bikers that blow through stop signs unsafely go up 50%.

As for the concern for teaching children, I think Thomas had an interesting point. He said that,

“The reason we apply different rules for kids and teach them to stop regardless of if they have the right-of-way or not is because they don’t have the biological maturity and awareness or the judgment to cross safely yet… so we wait until they are old enough before we let them make those choices on their own.”

After Thomas, lawyer and author Bob Mionske testified. He basically concurred with what had already been said. After his testimony, Rep. Weidner wondered to him whether or not it would just make more sense to require bicycle operators to get a special license so the state can make sure they know all the rules of the road. Mionske did his best to avoid that discussion overtaking the hearing.

The first citizen who testified was Kris Warloe (coincidentally, the father of Bjorn Warloe, member of the BTA legislative committee and the guy who tried for Idaho stops last session). Mr. Warloe lost a leg in 1956 and is gave his support to the bill saying, “I’m going to continue to break the law, but I’m going to do so because it is far safer for me to do so. I encourage you to support this bill.”

“It’s time the laws of Oregon acknowledge the laws of physics.”
— Evan Manvel

Next up was former BTA executive director Evan Manvel. His argument in favor of the bill was that if biking is made easier and the state removes impediments to doing it (like stop signs), than more people will bike. As more people bike, the roads become safer. Therefore, the Idaho Stop Law would make Oregon a safer place to bike.

Manvel had a great one-liner to conclude his testimony: “It’s time the laws of Oregon acknowledge the laws of physics.”

After that, the good news on the bill seemed to run out.

Bob Russell from the Oregon Truckers Association — an organization that has been a productive partner with the BTA and who has supported many bike bills (including sharing costs for the Share the Road license plate) — said he has major concerns about this bill. Russell’s concerns were two-fold. He thinks it will confuse expectations of vehicle operators on the road if not everyone is obeying the same rules, and he says that the bill requires too much judgment on the part of the bicycle operator.

“The way this bill is written, it requires people to make significant judgment as to whether they can go through a stop sign or come to a stop. Some will make that judgment just fine, others will not. I worry a lot about children being required to make these kinds of complex judgments.”

Based on that, Russell said, “This bill is of significant concern to my industry in terms of safety.”

Since Russell introduced himself as the only one in the room who was opposed to the bill, Rep. Weidner shared that he received a letter from the City of Eugene saying they are also not supportive of this bill.

Next up was Matt Jaffe from the City of Portland’s Office of Government Relations. Jaffe stated that Portland is taking a neutral position on the bill. I spoke with Jaffe after the hearing and asked him what exactly is giving them pause. Saying the law would represent a major paradigm shift in how the city approaches traffic law, he added that their neutral position is a mix of balancing safety and enforcement concerns with a strong desire to promote cycling.

Back to the hearing. Brock Howell from the 30,000 member strong non-profit Environment Oregon put their support behind the bill saying it is a “key component to ensuring we create better communities for our future.”

Then came what I think the BTA will see as the biggest surprise of the day. A representative with the League of Oregon Cities (didn’t catch his name) expressed his opposition to the bill. The man — who introduced himself as a biker who “appreciates the frustration of coming to a stop,” but also as one who “recognizes that stop signs are placed for a reason” — said their chief interest is in “protecting the safety of the public”.

He also referenced Newton’s Law to point out the potential for dangerous situation if this bill passes. “Objects in motion tend to stay in motion,” he said, and then went on to describe a situation where someone on a bike might enter an intersection without stopping only to realize they made a bad choice, but then it would be too late to stop.

In her closing remarks on the hearing, Rep. Terry Beyer said she is most concerned with the confusing messages this bill sends to the public and how, if not handled properly, that messaging could become a PR nightmare. “The public is going to see this as, ‘there the bicyclists go again, asking for special treatment’,” said Beyer. She then added that “I understand the arguments in favor of it, but I also have to think about the messaging.”

Chair Beyer did not ask the committee for a vote today, nor did she schedule a work session. At this point, Karl Rohde from the BTA must work to get Beyer to schedule a work session and an eventual vote, or the bill will not go any further.

After today I feel like the fate of this bill is unknown, but it definitely took some lumps. Thinking back at the hearing, Karl Rohde from the BTA was very impressive. He had all the best answers and stay composed even in the line of fire. If you support this bill, you want him doing all the talking.

As for the bill’s chances. If there continues to be confusion and misconceptions about it in the media and in the public (the two are directly related), and if the result of that confusion is continued divisiveness between road user groups, and if legislators fail to hear a unified and/or clear message from constituents, then I think it’s in trouble.

That being said, it all comes down to votes. There are 10 members of the committee and the BTA only needs 6 of them to support the bill for it to move on. Right now the BTA has two “yes” votes in the bag (Bailey and Kahl) while only one committee member seems outright opposed to idea (Weidner). Bentz, Edwards, Berger and Boone have expressed concerns and have questions but they still seem on the fence.

Rep. Gilman (R-Medford), didn’t speak at all at the hearing and sources say he might not be supportive. That leaves Chair Beyer and Rep. Michael Schaufler (D-Happy Valley). Schaufler — a co-sponsor of the bike registration bill, but someone who Rohde says is a bike supporter — did not express concerns about the bill today (nor did he express support). Chair Beyer seems to have learned a lot today and now understands the idea more clearly. If Rohde can sit down with her and turn her into a proponent, it seems very likely he’ll be able to must the majority he needs.

But there’s still work to do for supporters of this bill… and you never know what kind of reaction the local media’s coverage will stir up. We’ll see. I’ll keep you posted.

— Browse our Idaho Stop Law tag for more coverage of this issue.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Tall Mike
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Tall Mike

Jonathan, you are the man! You always keep us up to date on the important bicycle issues and try to do it from an unbiased point of view (maybe slightly biased to bicyclists, but in a good way). This web site is so important to the vitality of the bicycle community in Portland, the state, and the country.

While I don’t think the bill will pass, after attending PDOT’s Bicycle brown bag last month when they brought in someone from Idaho who explained how it works there, and has worked for decades, I felt it is a very well put together idea. If only our State legislature would listen to the people who understand the bill and to the people who ride daily, it might have a chance of passing. So, how do we get them to listen objectively?

Scott Mizée
Guest

Love the live posts! Thanks for covering this!

patrickz
Guest
patrickz

Jonathan, you’re one of those who are doing “something about (and FOR) those bicyclists” Thank you.
P

Anonyous
Guest
Anonyous

Any major news outlets show up: The New York Times, USA TODAY, Los Angeles Times, CommuterJoe?

Matt Haughey
Guest

Ah, my crazy right wing local lawmaker… somehow he makes everything he opposes into something that will kill children.

Yield signs for bikes? Kills kids!
More water fountains at the park? Kills kids by drowning!
Lower speed limits? Kills kids on the way to the ER!

BURR
Guest
BURR

(Actually, the bill includes a provision that would make the citation fee 50% higher than it is now.)

what’s up with this? cyclists already pay too much when they are fined the same as motorists, now a provision to double fines for cyclists?!?!?! Doesn’t make sense at all.

MikeOnBike
Guest
MikeOnBike

I live/work/commute in Boise, ID and the frustrating thing about all the opposition to the bill is that in practice it just works so well.

I commute 13mi. round trip each day by bike and perform non-stop yields at stop signs and stop and go’s at red lights when appropriate. Traffic, including myself moves smoothly and efficiently. I have never been waved or yelled at by drivers for my behavior. Perhaps this is because it has been Idaho law since before cyclists became so prominent on the road.

We have a few cyclists deaths but they are usually from being hit from behind while stopped at a light or being right hooked. In most of those cases the driver is impaired.

It is unfortunate that the mainstream media has editorialized the issue rather than reported objectively.

I look forward to coming to Portland to visit friends and family and not getting a ticket for my ‘Idaho Style’.

Kimberlee
Guest
Kimberlee

I grew up riding my bike in Boise and I lived to tell about it – you just slow down, look both ways and cross the street. It wasn’t that difficult a message to understand as a child. Who knew Idahoans could be so enlightened?

Jonathan L
Guest
Jonathan L

For everyone reading live updates before you head home, seems the moto police may be out targeting bikes downtown, west side near the Burnside Bridge at the moment….. 3:30pm

Marion
Guest
Marion

Love you MikeOnBike!!

a.O
Guest
a.O

Mike (#6), you have no idea of the hysteria this bill has caused among certain people in Oregon, some of whom actually claim to ride a bike occasionally. To hear them tell it, there is no such place as this mythical “Idaho” and such a concept could never actually work in the real world.

When you explain to them that Idaho is in fact a neighboring state and they’ve done this for years without problems, they make up stories about how the different width of the streets here means it would never work* or just generally stare at you like a dog that’s just been shown a card trick.

That level of stupidity ought to be more painful.

[*No kidding. Someone actually attempted to make that argument.]

Mark C
Guest
Mark C

Too bad we can’t all just use a little common sense. I guess that’s too much to ask for. Also, it’s no surprise at all to see someone with an (R) after their name make a completely idiotic statement demonstrating no understanding of the issue whatsoever.

Paul
Guest
Paul

“scared to death of bike boxes”
Really? Scared to death? What about rabid kittens?

NB
Guest
NB

What is this “uncertainty” that Reps. Berger and Edwards refer to? This law would basically make stop signs into yield signs for bikes. Do they find yield signs confusing?

Burk
Guest
Burk

Great work Jonathan! Way to rock the new media – maybe the Oregonian could hire you as a consultant 🙂

Alex H
Guest
Alex H

Some very scary stuff going on in the discussions….

http://www.katu.com/news/local/41417182.html

Jebus
Guest
Jebus

Don’t joke Paul… my wife’s old roommate in college was deathly afraid of kittens… the way they prance across the floor looking for attention was the most frightening thing for her!

MikeOnBike
Guest
MikeOnBike

Thanks Marion! Are you Marion Rice? If so, love your articles. My kids are young adults but I have grandkids on the way to introduce to cycling.

a.O, when I first heard about the bill I thought this is cool, bike progressive Oregon will legalize a very natural way to ride. When I saw the ‘hysteria’ as you so well put it I thought ‘what is the problem’. I was very surprised at the knee-jerk reactions. I mean what is the Oregon Truckers Association worried about. The trucks aren’t going to lose their right of way. Fear of the unknown, OMG. From the look of things via Jonathan’s twitter coverage it doesn’t look good. The city of Eugene opposes this?

This would all be such a non-issue if more people rode and understood the mechanics of being one with traffic.

For a little history on how the Idaho Way came into being:
http://www.bicyclelaw.com/blog/index.cfm/2009/3/7/Origins-of-Idahos-Stop-as-Yield-Law

Good luck to Oregon cyclists!

Dave
Guest

I think the absolute best quote so far is:

Bentz asked Rohde: “Can you define for me the difference between a bicyclist and an electric car?”

Aren’t they the same thing? 🙂

MikeOnBike
Guest
MikeOnBike

Alex H., I think that KATU article has been update since it was first posted. As bad as it currently is it was less clear and more alarmist when first released.

As far as the comments, I only scanned them but I don’t think I saw a single positive one.

Antload
Guest
Antload

Wow, my concerns about BTA’s seemingly incomplete approach are unfounded. Good arguments for getting non-cyclists on board -way beyond the BTA Idaho Stop Law FAQ. Bravo!

Thanks Jonathan, for the riviting up-to-the-minute blow-by-blow!

MikeOnBike
Guest
MikeOnBike

Dave, only if you have a mouth full of AA’s and sparks flying out your a__!

Really, really, clueless. Perhaps the law should be written to specify ‘human powered vehicles’ so the Rep. Bentz won’t be confused. Wait he’s from Ontario, that is local for me. Maybe I need to go have a talk with him and explain the difference between the physics of electricity and the physics of mitochondrial energy production.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

Paul (#10)… Please continue to joke about kittens…

What else do we have at this point?

Burk
Guest
Burk

Checked out the link from Alex H …

GAAAAAAA!

Here is the gist of the posts:

“So in a bicyclists world, they don’t want to follow basic traffic rules, they want the motorists to “Share” the road and give THEM right of way at intersections, AND they don’t want to pay any sort of fees such as registristation and/or insurance. Wow……must be nice to feel like you’re 12 again and have ZERO accountability.”

I get a real “grow up and get a car” vibe from those opposing this bill. How did the idea that cyclists don’t own cars/drive ever come to be so pervasive? It also seems that nobody actually understands the bill. People seem to be taking it to mean that cyclists have the right of way at any intersection and can “blow” through intersections at speed.

Unfortunately, reading many of the responses, I think we will be reduced to hand puppets to try and explain how the bill will actually work.

bikieboy
Guest
bikieboy

Matt (#4) – LOL! hilarious… my condolences on being stuck with an idiot rep., though.

Kt
Guest
Kt

I gave up commeting on the news sites except as a way to vent my sarcasm.

Not to offend anyone, but this site’s comments are similar in nature to those sites’ comments: both sets of comments are “preaching to the choir” and only serve to pat themselves on the back and make themselves feel good.

However, I find the level of intelligence much higher on this site, and so choose to spend my time and energy here. I learn something new every day, which is refreshing. I hardly ever have to bring out the sarcasm here. 🙂

Also, this site’s comments have also generated change, and got people out there doing something, so I guess this site’s comments are really not the same as the news sites’. Except that there’s a lot of “preaching to the choir”, since we all share a habit.

Oh, and by the way: so-called “common sense” is a misnomer: it isn’t common at all!

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

Any chance of getting an Idaho transportation or law official or state representative to give testimony on their experience with this law.

[Any BTA members from Idaho?]

There are still living bicyclists and drivers in Idaho, no?

murphstahoe
Guest

@Kt – great minds…

http://holierthanyou.blogspot.com/2009/03/cyclists-and-road-taxes.html

“Why is it that “common sense” seems to be “nonsense” so frequently these days.”

a.O
Guest
a.O

There are still living bicyclists and drivers in Idaho, no?

No, sadly this place known as “Idaho” is not real. Some insist it was just a legend, and others think it is a conspiracy created by bicyclists who want to eliminate all rights for drivers*

Regardless, no records related to drivers or bicyclists in Idaho can be found and so it is impossible to verify whether the carnage and chaos predicted by the wise Republican sages from places where nobody rides a bike anyway will come true if we dare to take the libertine step of approving this bill. Thus, it’s best to not take the risk.

[*Yes, I have been accused of this.]

matchu
Guest
matchu

This is excellent coverage of the issue.

I’m glad the lawmakers are stressing how this legislation would encourage cyclists to fully utilize lower-traffic routes. As it is now, I cycle on Hawthorne, Sandy, MLK Jr. Blvd, and other busy routes. Why? There are fewer stops and with amble lanes, I never have to feel guilty about upholding traffic which can easily utilize adjacent lanes to safely pass cyclists. I will continue this behavior as it is the most expedient and relatively safe given the wide visibility that is possible on such roads. Should this law pass, it would not make side streets as fast as the streamlined, busy routes, but it would make them much more appealing as a cyclist.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

There’s no need for a law that would legally allow people riding bikes to roll through stop signs at their discretion. A law like this proposal suggests might make them feel more comfortable rolling through in case they aren’t alert enough to spot a cop on patrol for roll throughs under the present ‘stop means stop’ law.

Another good reason for ‘stop means stop’ that people at committee didn’t mention, is how livability is potentially affected when people aren’t required to stop at stop signs. I’d have to see some proof before being ready to accept that neighborhood residents would be comfortable with the idea of people on bikes being able to zip through their neighborhoods without so much as even having to stop at the stop signs.

I’m really kind of surprised legislators would even waste their time on an idea like this. It’s a little more reasonable than Rep. Krieger’s idea, but not much.

Krampus
Guest
Krampus

Seriously, if you want to state the case for this, get some Idaho reps over to Salem so they can report first hand how the law has been working for them. That way you get the info straight from the horse’s mouth.

joe
Guest
joe

wsbob – here in the NE alameda ridge area, the vast majority of intersections are uncontrolled. in addition to the absense of dangerous cyclists zipping through the neighborhood running over pets and children, the cars are also well behaved.

not sure if this was the case from day one, but since people have gotten used to it, everyone procedes safely. just like in Idaho(from what I understand).

old&slow
Guest
old&slow

If you want to get a feel for some of our less enlightened citizens reactions to this bill go to the oregonians website and read some the the comments to this bill! They mostly read that “you cyclists just stay out of the gorge and stop running the lights in my neighborhood”. Wow, Kentucky can’t be much different that Corbett!

bahueh
Guest
bahueh

lots of complaining here today about something that will not come to pass….the energy is probably better spent on building up the leg muscles as it would seem most folks here don’t have much if the only argument they can muster for favor of such a proposal is “momentum”….

there is no evidence that streets are safer or more livable if two sets of standards are enacted for two types of road users…sorry, sayin it repeatedly doesn’t make it truth…

the only thing the public is seeing is a special interest group asking for special rights….who can’t seem to comprehend basic traffic laws, so they attempt to change them…

Junior Bailey should stick to his 16oz. beer law…I find that much more pertinent to public interest by enlarge.

frank
Guest
frank

Way to go. Testifying that bikes are fundamentally different than auto’s sounds like the testimony of people trying to ban bicycles from arterials, divided highways etc.

Be careful what you wish for.

I stopped at probably 10 stop signs today. I was *so* difficult. OMG the humanity.

e
Guest
e

I already stop Idaho style and so do most of the cyclists I see everyday on my commute. This means the only thing that will change if this passes (crossing my fingers that it does) is we will no longer be criminals. Yay!
Oh, and, apparently Bentz is a total moron. Wow.

old&slow
Guest
old&slow

I agree with frank. Do be careful what you wish for. I sort of like being like everyone else on the road. I ride like a car, take the lane when I need to and stop at lights and signs. I find cars treat you much better when you do this (they give me the right of way most of the time) and it just makes it easier. The law change does make sense for cyclists but the general public ( and that is most people) feel this is special treatment. Since I have to ride with the general public, I want them to not resent me!

frank
Guest
frank

e,

By your way of thinking we should legalize speeding for motorists. Actually due to the 85th percentile rule we already set speed limits based upon how fast motorists will wish to drive and not based upon any real safety data.

I have read of several crashes on this website where a stop sign running bicyclist has met mr. car in an unfriendly way. Isnt there a family raising money for their brain dead/injured family member?

My opinion is that if you legalize rolling through stop signs the only thing that is going to change is that bicyclists will only go through them even faster than they do now since most road users have a tendency to do things just slightly above whatever the legal limit is.

Daniel
Guest

perhaps the committee needs to go for a bike ride around salem.

gabriel amadeus
Guest

Go Karl!

Scott Mizée
Guest

ditto mr. amadeus. Go Karl!

Zaphod
Guest

MikeOnBike + 1, Thank you!

Nobody stops at stop signs on quiet streets when there’s no opposing traffic. Go hang out in one if you don’t believe me.

Since this topic has been brought up, I’ve incorporated the Idaho model for my biking unless I spot a police cruiser or am at a known sting area such as Ladds and Flint. I am not blowing stop signs, I’ve just decided that I’ll take the legal risk to facilitate a faster and safer commute.

Joe Rowe
Guest
Joe Rowe

Great play by play reporting.

The classic quote came from the simple minded lawmaker who forgot that Oregon has different laws for cars and pedestrians. Why? They are different. No panic in the streets.

He seems to think a pedestrian must stop walking to zero MPH. pause, then cross the street.

The dude must have never been a pedestrian other than walking to his car.

That is the whole point of this. Pedestrians and bikes know the laws of physics, that they lose in the game of them v. cars.

Bikes must yield to any nearby car. That is what this law states. A bike can easily go 1 mph and still yield.

If no cars are nearby no need to stop to Zero MPH.

The only confusion on this is from the malpractice of the news media who can’t bother to do some basic research.

Withheld
Guest
Withheld

FYI the City of Portland is neutral because this is such a difficult issue for non-bicyclists to understand. Among those who actually ride this proposal is common sense, as has been stated here numerous times in numerous ways.

Among non-cyclists, however, it’s easy to interpret as “special treatment” for “outlaw” bicyclists… yadda yadda. The committee’s commentary speaks for itself.

Said another way, the City actually supports this proposed change but cannot support it openly for fairly obvious political reasons. Kudos to the BTA for trying to marry the laws of the state with the laws of physics. Mr. Manvel’s comment may sound snarky… unless you actually ride. There is value in experience.

SkidMark
Guest
SkidMark

This is the only thing I am going to say about Idaho stop thing. If you are looking both ways before you roll a stop sign, then you can see the cop waiting to ticket you. To me it’s “situation normal” either way. See a car and it has the right of way: Stop. See a cop and it’s against the law: Stop. Same way either way.

SkidMark
Guest
SkidMark

The only difference is with the law you won’t have to look over your shoulder first.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Joe #39, well apparently a lot of the rest of Oregon is somewhat different than you say it is over in the NE alameda ridge area, because a need for intersections regulated by stop signs obeyed by all road users seems to be recognized in those parts of the state.

I’m curious whether the sponsors of this proposal might be thinking about related legislation that might, for example, exempt people riding bikes on public roads from being obliged to indicate intent(hand signals)to turn or stop at intersection. Wouldn’t this be another traffic law that bike riders should be able to comply with or not according to their own discretion?

Some of the same arguments that proponents of the ‘Idaho Stop’ law have used to support passage of this proposal for Oregon could probably apply to bike riders obligation to signal turns too. Maybe the reason they haven’t is that for whatever reason, people that have received citations for this kind of violation aren’t objecting to them as they have in instances such as the Ladd’s enforcement detail and the shake-down that went on out in the small town of North Plains.

People riding bikes probably do have better or easier visibility than people in some cars do. This greater visibility would probably apply to people with convertibles too, when the top is down. Should a law be crafted to allow them to decide to stop at stop signs according to their discretion?

How about motorcycles and scooters? Their vehicles seem to allow visibility that’s easily as good as the kind riders of bikes benefit from. Should they also be allowed to roll through stop signs at their discretion as long as they don’t exceed the speed, for example, that a bike would travel when rolling through a stop sign?

jerry h
Guest
jerry h

Just keep in mind that they start out with something extreme to negotiate a more reasonable settlement in the end.

I’m sure something that I’ll still be very unhappy with..

Joe
Guest
Joe

In regards to kids, I teach mine correct ways, but letting them know that cars have limits, stopping distance and just plain safeness doesnt happen most of the time. ohh when i lived in N.calie police
would want to see a foot clip out and touch the ground, They would wait at stops and just ticket people or yell at them. huge packs to riders. got nuts!
? growing pains back then ? yep

we have road bullys in many cities! first name Ton

Thanks have a great day,
Joe