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BTA: Media fallout has put Idaho Stop effort in jeopardy

Posted by on March 19th, 2009 at 4:03 pm

salmon street stop sign

(Photo © J. Maus)

Karl Rohde, the BTA lobbyist who is working on a bill in Salem that would allow bicycles to treat stop signs as yields (known as the “Idaho Stop law”), tells us that the fate of the bill hangs in the balance. (The bill received its first committee hearing yesterday).

According to Rohde — who called me from Salem with this update — several legislators have informed him that HB 2690 is in jeopardy because their constituents are expressing opposition to the bill after several negative and/or inaccurate news reports have come out since yesterday. Those media stories have stoked a wave of concerned calls and emails to legislator’s offices.

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Rohde says AM radio talk show host Lars Larson mentioned the bill on his show yesterday and it received a largely negative response. Rohde — who is a frequent guest on Larson’s show — said Larson, “didn’t bother to call to let me explain the bill”. Rohde is scheduled to be on the show tomorrow, but Larson’s coverage yesterday apparently triggered a number of calls and emails to Salem in opposition to the idea.

In addition to the Lars Larson Show, The Oregonian published a highly biased news report on the bill in their newspaper yesterday. Adding to the BTA’s trouble was an inaccurate report by KATU-TV that said the bill would allow bikes to roll through both stop signs and stop lights.

The BTA’s bill has never included stop lights and, after Rohde contacted them, KATU corrected their story. However, KATU’s sister station in Eugene, KVAL, ran the uncorrected version throughout the day (both KATU and KVAL have edited their stories to say “flashing red lights” instead of stop lights).

At this point, Rohde said he is weighing various strategies to counter this negative tide. His concern, as relayed to me today, is that the court of public opinion is weighing in based on incorrect information.

Rohde says he’s working hard to meet with legislators individually to get their support of the bill but that it’s “very important that they hear from constituents directly.”

The bill was heard in committee yesterday but was not voted on. To move on, it must first muster 6 votes in the House Transportation Committee, a hurdle that is still very likely. However, getting a bill out of committee is the easy part. At committee, supporters like Rohde can rely on expert testimony and they have the luxury of answering questions from legislators. However, once the bill gets to onto the floor of the 60-member House, it’s a whole different ball game.

This seems like a critical moment for the bill, especially if legislators continue to hear more opposition than support.

— Browse full coverage of this story at the Idaho Stop law tag.

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Stig
Guest
Stig

I ‘effectively stop’ at stop lights- just enough motion to maintain balance and I probably stay in the footprint of a stationary car for about 2 seconds. Technically I roll through (only when clear) but I’ve done this right in front of police cars at least twice and never been pulled over. I don’t want to stop completely and unclip but I am always prepared to.

I support this bill as it makes safe behavior legal, but it’s also reinforcing the perhaps accurate one rule for ‘us’ and another for ‘them’. Maybe just replace the stop signs with yield signs where appropriate. Problem solved- no ‘preferential treatment’ to any mode of transport.

If I had been cited by the police before I’m sure I’d feel differently, but I’d rather the BTA focus on the right-hook problem. Safety should be higher on the BTA’s agenda than convenience.

Stig
Guest
Stig

I ‘effectively stop’ at stop SIGNS, that should have read. Stop lights I’m much more strict about!

TDawg
Guest
TDawg

Every non-biker that I have talked to has been extremely negative about this bill. This was well before any of the recent coverage, and this was with a full understanding of what this bill entailed. I think the bike community needs to understand that people can be smart, intelligent, pro-bike, well read, and still be opposed to this bill.

The fact that SO many people from locals, to drivers, to media outlets, to politicians are confused about this show just how confusing it has the potential to be. Even if every politicians reads the bill line for line, the majority of drivers are not, and the confusion will remain. Instead of blaming the media for the current perception to this bill, look at why people are expressing confusion: 2 sets of rules on 1 road.

Dana
Guest
Dana

I know people that think the law will allow cyclists to “blow” through stop signs with no consequence… as it was seemingly reported in the Oregonian. Under this reasoning, they are against the idea.

There needs to be a front page article in the Oregonian that explains exactly what the law says, what it will allow cyclists to do (in an easy to understand way), and why this law would be beneficial.

TDawg
Guest
TDawg

I think it’s erroneous to assume that non-bikers would be for the legislation if the ready every last detail. Many of my friends consider ‘not stopping’ as ‘blowing through’. It seems that only the local bike community considers a difference between the two.

Bjorn
Guest
Bjorn

A big part of the problem is that these inaccurate stories have caused a bunch of fear that people will be injured because cyclists will suddenly be flying through stoplights at 25 mph. Obviously this is neither what the bill permits nor what will happen if the law is changed.

Many of the stop signs that will be most effected by this law (you know the ones on streets where there is little traffic and therefore usually nothing the cyclist would need to yield too) were put up to prevent motorists from using them as shortcuts when traffic backs up on main arteries. By making low traffic slower side streets more attractive to cyclists we move some of the bicycle travel off these busier and faster moving roads. Overall this creates a situation that is safer for everyone, which I believe is why when the law passed Idaho didn’t see more injuries. Also when an accident does occur at slower speed it is more likely that those involved will not be seriously injured or killed. Death rates for cyclists/pedestrians spike when they are hit by cars traveling faster than 20mph so if we can do something to encourage cyclists to use roads where cars will likely be going slower than that shouldn’t we?

Idaho has been doing this for nearly 3 decades, it works, and it is not dangerous. I was at the hearing yesterday and while 1 of the 10 committee members seemed concerned about safety (mostly of children not of adults) the others all seemed most concerned about the flood of emails with obscene language that they were receiving in response to the inaccurate and inflammatory Oregonian and KATU reports. The Chair actually said at one point that having heard more about the bill she felt like it might be a good idea, in contrast to what she thought after reading the newspaper article, but that she was very concerned about these emails…

Bjorn Warloe

Chris
Guest
Chris

I don’t think its hard to justify the difference between not stopping, and blowing through a stop sign. A 200 pound person + bike combination can stop in about a foot from 5 mph. At 3-5 mph I have several seconds to survey most intersections with a clear view. A longer time than most people (motorized or otherwise) remain stopped.

We should just tell people that it will mean a non motorized vehicle (or bike) can treat a “stop” as a “yield.” It will be about 2 minutes until we understand that 95% of the entire state has no clue what yield means. (ie stopping or significant slowing if there is oncoming traffic- it does not mean slow, pray, and gun it).

Yield and “stop at red light, then make right, if clear” are the two things that drive me crazy with drivers.

TDawg
Guest
TDawg

I can tell you that my driving friends don’t think bikers should get to yield at stop signs. Define it however you want, but the majority of people who drive (which still account for the overwhelming majority of people on the road) are not going to be for this law. People already think we get special privileges, and this is not helping that perception at all. That seems to be the single item that upsets the opponents of this bill the most.

the future
Guest
the future

all the energy put forth towards this bill should really be diverted to securing more of the stimulus money that’s slipping through our hands for better bike lanes and better bike infrastructure.

the effort is appreciated but how does this help us other than save a couple people some tickets? seems that it is just fanning the car vs bike flames.

apologies for the negativity as ideas here usually have my full support.

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

After seeing KGW’s segment “live” from their Studio on the Square, I attempted to get there to support the idea…

I didn’t arrive in time.

Perhaps more supporters can get there to share the facts, and straighten out the confusion?

bikeknight
Guest
bikeknight

I’m a cyclist. Can someone explain to me why “idaho stops” are important? At the moment, I don’t totally get it.

Surlyben
Guest
Surlyben

I’m not really sure why people worry about having a separate set of rules for bikes and cars. There are already separate rules for bikes and cars. And buses and trucks, for that matter. In general, the rules are the same, but specific exceptions do (and should) exist that reflect the differences in capabilities of each type of transportation. Semi-trucks can’t drive down certain streets in towns, cars aren’t generally allowed to park on the sidewalk downtown, buses and bikes are often allowed ignore do not enter signs.

a.O
Guest
a.O

bikeknight (#11), I personally don’t think the Idaho stop sign law is important.

I think that the biggest impediment to more people bicycling is roadway safety, and this bill isn’t primarily about enhancing bicyclists’ safety. There are other changes that BTA could be lobbying for that would enhance safety much more, such as applying the vulnerable roadway users law to motorists who are driving less than 35mph, for example. As such, I think this should be a much lower priority for BTA than it is.

As far as I can tell, and perhaps Karl or others can correct me, this bill is primarily motivated by the fact that the PPB’s traffic division has, in the past, repeatedly singled out bicyclists in Portland for ~$200 tickets after they rolled through stop signs in residential intersections.

Robert Dobbs
Guest
Robert Dobbs

Way to screw the pooch there, Rhodes. Why you didn’t go on a media offensive before floating this bill, is beyond me.

Your BTA dues would be better spent saving for the next ticket you get for rolling a stop.

Robert Dobbs
Guest
Robert Dobbs

Also: time for another super-legal ride.

John Lascurettes
Guest

Sorry to be slightly off topic here, but every time I hear the “separate set of rules” or “they want us to share the road, but want special treatment” argument it makes me think this:

Share the road does not equate to Equal on the road.

By implied meaning, it means bikes are not equal and do need some special consideration due to their: speed, vulnerability, footprint, etc.

Bikes will never have claim to the Interstate system (except where no other routes are available), we have to ride to the right, we have to ride in a bike lane, etc. etc. Why is a separate stop/yield law so jarring?

Here’s what I think needs to be done as PR for this bill:

First: Make a POV video of user doing a rolling stop on a bike, showing full field of view and ability to hear environmental noise (such as approaching vehicles – use boom box on the corner as a control subject). Do the same with a car, show the blind spots and the inability to hear environmental noise (the boombox).

Second: Make three videos of a bike at an intersection: 1) Demonstrating a full stop then go; 2) Demonstrating a legal rolling stop; 3) Demonstrating “blowing the stop” and label it as illegal.

That second video will go a long way to educating bikers themselves as to what constitutes a legal rolling stop/yield.

driveslow
Guest
driveslow

sure the media coverage could be better

but, how does the bike community expect to pass this kind of legislation without the active support of cities like Portland and Eugene

Quit blaming the legislature and the media, I would raise my donation to the bta if they started working toward a proposal endorsed by the League of Oregon Cities for next session — once the League endorse this proposal, passage in Salem will be a formality

TDawg
Guest
TDawg

Also: time for another super-legal ride.

That sounds like a sure fire way to get the public on your side 🙂

Paul Cone
Guest
Paul Cone

I wonder if the reason that most of the state doesn’t know what yield signs are is because we don’t that have that many. Portland has almost 15,000 stop signs, and only 135 or so yield signs (I know this because I do GIS at PBOT). Contrast that with Seattle, who seems to have a lot more (this is anecdotal).

Mark C
Guest
Mark C

If there are no cars or other pedestrians around at a stop sign, my guess is that 75 percent of cyclists will show down and proceed through without completely stopping. Another 20 percent will blow through the intersection at full speed, and MAYBE 5 percent will actually come to a complete (no forward motion) stop.

Cyclists here who are arguing against the proposed law (at least most of them) aren’t being completely honest about how they ride. I’m in that 75 percent, and it would be nice if the way I ride was not technically illegal.

encephalopath
Guest
encephalopath

I think one of the things that needs to be battled is the perception that the rules should be the same for everyone. That simply isn’t the way the vehicle code works, and isn’t the way it should work. The vehicle code is necessarily pragmatic in the way it addresses the needs and requirements of different users.

The rules are not uniform for all road users. We must disabuse people of the notion that this is a special bicycle exception to the immutable laws of nature and shouldn’t be allowed. As noted in the testimony yesterday, there are already lots of laws that apply only to bicycles: passing on the right, keep right if possible, must use bike lane, turn signal requirements, lighting at night. People don’t look at those and say “Oh my god, the rules are different. I don’t know what to do. Stop it now!”

There are special rules that apply only to motorcycles (two abreast), trucks (no driving the left most lane, lower speed limits, weight limits), pedestrians (crosswalks), blind pedestrians (must stay stoped while the blind person is in the street), emergency vehicles, vehicles with trailers.

There are rules that only apply to changing environmental conditions: lights at night, chains for snow. Drivers don’t thow up their hands in confusion when it gets dark and different traffic laws are in effect.

A bicycle is one of many different classes of road users, and like every other class of road user, there are rules that apply only to bicycles. The Idaho Stop Law would only be one of many rules that apply only to bicycles, and one that would do very little to change current visible cyclist behavior. There isn’t much to be confused about.

TDawg
Guest
TDawg

Mark C- Most drivers drive over the speed limit (especially on the highway). Should speed limits be abolished?

encephalopath
Guest
encephalopath

@TDawg

“Should speed limits be abolished?”

If you can establish that the abolishing the speed limit had no appreciable difference in accident injury and fatality rates, yes.

It pretty well established, however, that things don’t work out that way.

TS
Guest
TS

If you are in support of this bill, go find your legislator and write/call them. No really, do it… now.

Tell your legislator why you support the bill: it makes bicycling a more attractive and convenient mode of transport; it makes the roadways more usable for both bikes and cars; and it decriminalizes prevalent behavior that is already safe while sending a clear message that unsafe behaviors won’t be tolerated. It might not hurt to point out that bikes are different from cars — in the way they are used, the risk the represent, the way they are treated both physically and legally — and this change only makes the law accomodate those differences more sensibly.

Say what you want, but please contact your legislator and say something. They need to hear from you.

Bjorn
Guest
Bjorn

TDawg, the main argument for doing this is not that people don’t obey stop signs. It is that a neighboring state has tried this with great success, finding that it improves riding without degrading safety.

Our transportation system regularly sacrifices safety for speed, I mean if cars were all mechanically limited to 20mph things would be much safer than they are now, but we don’t do that. Here we have a change that makes a similar gain in terms of time savings for cyclists as in city speed limits in excess of 20mph does for cars, except as shown in Idaho without the safety issues. The real question should be why on earth wouldn’t we do this.

Bjorn

Kronda
Guest

@encephalopath Very eloquent argument, to which I can only add an enthusiastic DITTO.

Joe
Guest
Joe

speeding cars! oh man we cant get a simple
law passed, car infested world. sorry i got hacked in the bike lane again in lovely wilsonville! then he jumped in the lane to show me that he was making a point of what?
all kinds of dirt in my eyes.

sometimes the US is sooo backwards in thinking about mode of transport!

John
Guest
John

I’m only surprised that this story leaked out before the law passed! Maybe someone in the media thought it wouldn’t pass and decided to cash in on a constructed controversy before it was too late? Otherwise, they could have milked this thing for months.

Lars would have waved this law like a burning flag. He was probably looking forwards to the opportunity, too.

mark
Guest
mark

I’m not at all surprised, I fully expected this law to be dead in the water from day one. For one thing, the city relies a lot on the revenue generated from tickets given to bikes who go through stop signs and lights. They don’t want to give that up. For another, people who already have a chip on their shoulder about bikers will bitch and moan about how “unfair” it is that we want to be treated equally with cars, yet we want a separate set of rules concerning who has to stop or not stop. Funny thing is, when’s the last time you saw a car come to a complete stop at a stop sign? The Oregonian should have mentioned that too, instead of the snide comment regarding “when’s the last time you actually saw (a bike) stop at a stop sign?”

Shamus Lynsky
Guest
Shamus Lynsky

Going on the Lars Larson show is a fools errand. You will most likely never get his constituency (which is not a majority, anyway) to agree with most sane progressive ideas (let alone this idea), and he does not present a balanced forum. There is generally no point in ever going on his show.

sabernar
Guest
sabernar

I’m part of the bike community, I understand the bill, and I’m against it. I don’t like the fact that this bill creates two different rules for the road for two different types of vehicles. Cyclists want to be treated as a true vehicle, but they want separate rules. If you want stop signs where cyclists can yield through, then put up a sign underneath the stop sign – “bike yield” or something like that – that specifically allows cyclists to yield through a specific stop sign. I think that allowing cyclists to roll through every single stop sign that exists is a mistake. Lots of cyclists already don’t obey the law, so they will continue to “blow” through stop signs because they think they have the law on their side, making things even more dangerous.

I still don’t understand – what is this bill trying to solve? I think it’s a fallacy that people avoid riding bicycles because of stop signs. That’s totally ludicrous. People don’t ride bicycles because they don’t feel safe riding on busy streets with cars. This doesn’t solve that problem at all.

Shamus Lynsky
Guest
Shamus Lynsky

Also, in my opinion, the way to combat a vocal group of constituents contacting their legislators with inaccurate information to vote against this would be to mobilize better informed constituents to encourage their legislators to vote for it. That is, if you can find enough constituents that agree with this bill and are willing to take action.

But really, the first hurdle is just getting the bill out of committee, and it’s a tough committee on this bill. You’ll likely never get Gillman, Weidner, or Schaufler and Berntz and Berger will be extremely tough sells. I don’t envy Karl.

Spencer Boomhower
Guest
Spencer Boomhower

The maddening thing is that this law is only meant to legalize what is currently a safe and responsible common practice among safe and responsible cyclists. These cyclists approach a stop sign cautiously, are able to look left, then right, then left again, making sure that the way is clear, and they have the right of way before proceeding, but without entirely destroying their forward momentum, the momentum they rely upon for efficiency.

Probably the opponents see cyclists approach stop signs this way every single day, and think nothing of it. It’s certainly not unsafe or startling behavior. It just happens to not involve a complete cessation of forward movement. If you showed that behavior to the bill’s opponents, most would probably say, “oh, that? Well that’s not so bad, that could be legalized.”

Instead what they picture is cyclists zooming through stops with impunity.

Is there a time-line for when this bill would go to a vote if/when it makes it out of a committee? I’m wondering how much of a window of opportunity there is for an educational effort.

encephalopath
Guest
encephalopath

Adding to the list of different rules for different types of vehicles:

Electric wheelchairs (allowed in bike lanes), skateboards (allowed on the street in downtown Portland with the same rights and responsibilities as bikes), farm vehicles (no lights or signals, just a reflective triangle), horses and horse drawn vehicles.

KWW
Guest
KWW

This will fail due to semantics.

For v2.0, if there is one, please call it:
The bicycle stop-yield law

Also, some of those comments at Oregonian were on the money, bikes should come to a full stop at a 4 way stop sign.

frank
Guest
frank

My problem with this legislation………

– If you start pointing out the differences between auto’s and bikes you are setting yourself up to have your rights to use the roadway removed. We constantly talk about bicycles being vehicles when referring to why we can operate on busy streets or streets where we will no doubt slow a few people down. If a bicycle is pointed out as different or unable to be operated within the normal traffic systems than what defense do we have to be operated on the roads at all?

– It would make it nearly impossible for police officers to enforce traffic laws. Its already tough enough for them to do this and now they will have to differentiate between “rolling through” and not? Give me a break. If I was an officer I would not want to have to go to court and explain why the offender went through faster than the law allows. Some bicycle “advocates” do no want law enforcement interfering with bicyclists rights to act like dumbasses…….I do.

-Even if the law did pass 99% of motorists are never going to hear about it and assume that bicyclists have a total disregard for traffic laws……which admittedly most do.

-We would be creating two different sets of laws which is already causing confusion and sometimes fatalities on our roadway…… See bicycle lanes

– Bicycle advocates are essentially trying to eliminate any chances of them having to be slowed down while admittedly slowing down other road users on a daily basis. We cant even be bothered to stop at a stop sign but expect others to yield to us while we do 14 mph in a 45 mph arterial street?

What are your thoughts? I am PRO enforcement and anti Idaho stop.

t.a. barnhart
Guest

anyone heard of a California stop? the hypocrisy of car drivers is appalling. but so what’s new?

perhaps the key point to getting this to the floor is that bicyclists already ride by a different set of rules, and most cars acknowledge that. our only “privileges” are for safety’s sake: to keep us away from cars and keep both moving efficiently. letting bicyclists slow at stop signs and not come to a full stop is not a privilege; it’s not a vast change from current law. but we’ve got non-bicyclists going OH NOES THE STOP SIGNS as if a bike approaching the stop sign will close his or her eyes and just pedal like hell.

overcoming ignorance is usually the #1 battle. so far, those leading the fight are not doing so hot. this is a great law, it promotes both bicycling and safety, and yet this one committee appears to have been caught off-guard. that’s not the committee’s fault.

frank
Guest
frank

I guess I should also note that I really want bicycling to become something that EVERYONE wants to do…..not something that hipsters like to do or find trendy.

If you look at our streets right now most bicyclists are 20 somethings who run red lights and stop signs. How appealing do you think that looks to a 50 year old woman? Do you have to be a rebel to ride a bicycle? Do you have to appear that you enjoy a good joint on a daily basis? Why dont normal and law abiding people ride bicycles?

Its the same thing with lights. If you are a motorist and you see 15 bicycles on one trip across town without lights that you only see about 1/2 second before you nearly hit them that only makes bicycling seem dangerous and idiotic.

Again, IMO – I hope this bill fails

encephalopath
Guest
encephalopath

“If you start pointing out the differences between auto’s and bikes you are setting yourself up to have your rights to use the roadway removed.”

So people are saying that we can’t have the bill because the rules should be the same for everyone.

-They’re not-

And you’re saying we can’t have the bill because then people would KNOW that the rules aren’t the same for everyone.

I think you do have a good point about enforcement. In what quantifiable way is “too fast” determined to be too fast?

What say you Idaho folk to that question?

encephalopath
Guest
encephalopath

Or is the only infraction violating another road user’s right-of-way?

frank
Guest
frank

What rules are different?

Only rules that you should be trying to get rid of since they kill people.

Like the mandatory sidepath law for example or the ability to pass standing vehicles on the right.

Both “laws” that have killed people in Portland.

encephalopath
Guest
encephalopath

I think there are some things about bicycle rules that are confusing to motorists.

Sometimes bikes function as pedestrians. They travel on sidewalks. They go through crosswalks and have the rights of pedestrians (only if traveling at a walking speed).

I’m a vehicle, I’m a pedestrian, then I’m a vehicle. How do motorists know which role I’m playing? Where is the transition point when I change from one to the other?

Those things are confusing. The Idaho Stop law doesn’t introduce that sort of ambiguity to the system. In fact there shouldn’t be any noticeable difference in bicycle behavior at all.

The only thing that will change is the legal liability for allowing the wheels to turn little. If the law changed tomorrow, my ride will be exactly the same as it was today.

frank
Guest
frank

t.a. barnhart –

If there is one thing that angers me about this discussion it is the outrageous statement that an automobile who slows to 2 mph and then goes is anything like a bicyclist who literally goes through the stop sign at 10-15 mph the way many do.

I do not own a car…..in fact I *hate* cars but I cannot honestly compare the way an average motorist handles a stop sign compared to the way the average bicyclists does.

I doubt that you can as well if you were truly honest about.

I suppose that you will also say that as many motorists drive around at night without lights as bicyclists too, right?

buglas
Guest
buglas

I have no problem with stop signs. Except for one specific sign between my employer’s parking lot and the non-public access road I obey them faithfully.

Still, I remember my glee at finding a two mile route across a section of town on residential streets with no stops. All in all I’m in favor of this bill and I won’t be required to take advantage of it if I’m not in the mood.

A point I haven’t seen anybody make is that if you roll through a stop in a manner that causes a motorist or even another bicycle on the through street to have to react, then you have failed to yield. It’s not a “blow through stops” bill, it’s a stop as yield law. If you’re doing it right then nobody will much notice.

frank
Guest
frank

buglas,

And I’ve certainly seen that. I’ve seen many bicyclist go through an intersection with people already sitting there waiting to go.

I’ve seen people get to the stop sign, turn right to avoid getting hit by a auto approaching from the left. After that car passes they do a freaking u turn and then make a right to go on about their day after terrorizing 2 or 3 motorists.

THAT is exactly the type of thing that we have all seen bicyclists do and do routinely. Like it or not that is what many motorists will remember about bicyclists and because there are so few of us we are often referred to as “those bicyclists” etc.

Some disagree but if we simply obeyed the laws even when its unnecessary or boring or slows you down we would all be better off IMO.

If you think there are too many stop signs than try working the system to get them removed. Many traffic engineers would agree with you. Pointing out the differences between your vehicle and a motor vehicle and explaining why yours does not fit within the current system is only going to help those who want to ban bicycles from public roads

Kt
Guest
Kt

I’m educating my friends, co-workers, and family one person at a time– but it’s not enough.

The O needs to print a correction to this story. The news stations need to include the correct information both on their newscasts and their online news stories.

They need to report the CORRECT INFORMATION, the full story, with all the FACTS and none of the biased BS they’ve been throwing around.

And we need to call, email, write letters to our represntatives in Salem. We need to make sure they understand that we back this bill, if we do, and they need to hear positive things about it to leaven all the negativity they’ve heard.

frank
Guest
frank

kt,

I agree that they need to report the facts but I still hope it fails.

I also hope that someday bicyclists will take themselves seriously enough as vehicles to stop for 1/2 second.

I would spend my time getting rid of the mandatory sidepath law which only a handful of cities have anymore.

In fact Portland and Schaumburg Illinois is the only two I know of .

Spencer Boomhower
Guest
Spencer Boomhower

#39:

“I think you do have a good point about enforcement. In what quantifiable way is “too fast” determined to be too fast?”

My understanding: it’s treated like a yield sign. So the question becomes: how fast is “too fast” for a yield sign? I would say it’s too fast if you blow through it without making sure you have the right-of-way. And you should probably be slowing before going through a yield regardless of whether the way seems clear.

#41

“What rules are different?

Only rules that you should be trying to get rid of since they kill people.”

Don’t the vulnerable road user laws treat different categories of road users differently? (And I would hope they’re not killing people!)

And the categories should be treated differently, since there’s a fundamental difference in hazard to life and limb between a 30-pound human-powered vehicle, and a 3000-pound many-horse-powered vehicle.

The problem is bikes are being regulated according to the laws meant for the latter.

This hasn’t been too much of a problem until recently, because people riding bikes have flown under the radar by virtue of our small numbers. But lately in Portland we’ve been seeing something new (in the U.S. at least). Enough people are using bikes as transport that we’re being noticed on the road. Some of this notice is taking the form of police stings at stop signs that, again, were only ever designed with cars in mind.

It’s perfectly fair for cyclists to ask that the laws be fair, and appropriate to our means of transport. Retooling these car-centric laws to take human-powered transport into account will not forfeit our right to the road. These are, after all, public thoroughfares, a definition that to me implies: a space designated for we the people to use to get ourselves around. Nothing in “public” or “thoroughfare” implies: for the sole use of motor vehicles.

encephalopath
Guest
encephalopath

The valid concern people have over the Idaho Stop law is mostly this: Will a rolling stop law alter cyclist behavior in such a way that an increase in accidents and injury occurs to cyclists and other road users?

To answer that question we go to the Idaho data. And the Idaho data says… no.

Attempting to discount the lengthy experience Idaho has with the rolling stop law and claiming things would be different here ends up drifting off into magical thinking.

Such as:

Maybe the cars in Idaho all have big pillows on the front so that when bicycles avail themselves of the rolling stop law and get hit, they don’t get hurt. And that’s why there was no increase in the accident and injury rate with the law in place.

Or maybe the residents of Idaho aren’t actually human. They’re all aliens whose decision making processes are so dramatically different than ours that we can’t use the Idaho data to determine how such a law would work here.

Do Idaho children have trouble learning the rolling stop rules and get hit by cars more often than other places? Well… no. So Oregon’s children not as smart Idaho’s children or something?

buglas
Guest
buglas

Frank (#45),
I think our views aren’t too far apart. That’s good because I don’t really feel like going head to head with anybody here.

Many cyclists who currently roll through stops are failing to yield as I described and as you and all the rest of us have observed. That’s currently illegal. If this bill passes, it will still be illegal and the fine will increase by 50% to what… $363? Behavior that is objectively safe will be decriminalized and people who don’t understand how to achieve that will have an economically Darwinian opportunity to learn.