Oregon’s ‘Idaho Stop’ bill faces headwinds in Senate

(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

We knew it wouldn’t be easy.

Senate Bill 998 — affectionately known as the Idaho Stop bill because it would allow bicycle riders to treat stop signs (and flashing red signals) as yields — is floundering.

Even though it sailed through the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 9th, the bill has stalled out and is currently in the Senate Rules Committee. Asked for a status update on the bill, its chief sponsor, Senator Floyd Prozanski (D-Eugene) said, “A preliminary assessment shows that I do not have the necessary votes with in the caucus to move it to the floor.”

It’s not surprising that a healthy number of Oregon’s 30 Senators don’t initially support the bill. We know how existing biases influence how people perceive cycling-related legislation and it’s often mis-framed as a law that would unleash chaos and anarchy from “those bicyclists”.

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The good news is the Sen. Prozanski hasn’t had the chance to present the bill to the entire caucus yet. When he presented the bill in Judiciary Committee (which he chairs), the discussion was very calm and reasonable and it passed 6-1. Prozanski says he’ll present the bill to the full Senate this week with the hope of finding enough support to get it to the floor.

The Senator has help from The Street Trust. While it wasn’t on their agenda (because it emerged so late), Executive Director Jillian Detweiler says her organization fully supports Idaho Stop.

Detweiler and Street Trust Advocacy Director Richa Poudyal did the rounds of House and Senate offices last week to lobby on behalf of House Bill 2682 (which would clarify the definition of bike lanes in intersections), but found the conversations often turned to SB 998. “As we worked our bill, we told people that while HB 2682 is not the Idaho stop, we support the Idaho stop,” Detweiler told us via email yesterday. She also said she met with Sen. Prozanski’s staff and offered to help.

Let’s hope that Oregon gets this right. Hopefully, the third time’s a charm.

As for HB 2682, it continues to progress. It already passed the House and is slated for a vote in the Senate on Monday (5/6).

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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CaptainKarma
4 years ago

It needs to come back annually if it doesn’t pass this time.

Eric Leifsdad
Eric Leifsdad
4 years ago

Here are some of the senators in the Portland Metro area. You should call the one who represents you, tell them that you’re a constituent and that you support the bill 998 (lookup and other contact info if you put your address in at the link.)

Michael Dembrow 503-986-1723
Lew Frederick 503-986-1722
Elizabeth Steiner Hayward 503-986-1717
Mark Hass 503-986-1714
Rob Wagner 503-986-1719
Shemia Fagan 503-986-1724
Kathleen Taylor 503-986-1721

https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/FindYourLegislator/leg-districts.html

I would like to see more discussion in the news on which senators support this or don’t, and make them state their bias publicly. We have so much more to do, this bill should be no more controversial than the one about bike lanes crossing an intersection.

oliver
oliver
4 years ago

Meanwhile, I continue to be constantly passed by cars while pedaling 20 mph on clearly posted residential streets in Portland.

And yesterday, while driving home from picking up the groceries, a young woman driver passed me on the left in the process of running the stop sign where I was stopped.

IDK, it must be time for another bicycle stop sign enforcement in Ladds.

B. Carfree
B. Carfree
4 years ago
Reply to  oliver

You know motorists “must pass bicycle” and if you have the audacity to be riding at the speed limit you “force” them to speed in order to fulfill their quasi-religious need to pass any and all people on bikes.

B-Rad
4 years ago
Reply to  oliver

I got hunted down by women with a giant diamond ring and brand new Tesla (no plates) She nearly hit me going like 50 mph on 18th and Flanders then at the stop light i kicked her tire and then she got out her car with mace and tried to rip me off my bike as i was fleeing she got in her car and drove 1000 mph RIGHT AT ME! Lucky another driver saw me kick the tire and she was yelling at the Tesla lady YAH AND YOU DESERVED IT. That lady saved my life cuz eventually the blonde lady in the Tesla started chasing her or vice versa. MAN my nerves have been wrecked ever since….I bike to get to work everyday it is so scary out there….PORTLAND OREGON 2019…SIGH..

9watts
4 years ago
Reply to  B-Rad

Those Teslas, man, they sure can accelerate.

9watts
4 years ago
Reply to  B-Rad

I liked your transportation metaphors, Jonathan:

Headwinds (bike, walk)
Stalled out (car, truck)

Toby Keith
Toby Keith
4 years ago
Reply to  B-Rad

Nice piece of fiction.

Gregg
4 years ago

The Dems have a supermajority. If this doesn’t pass, it’s because they don’t want it to.

BikeSlobPDX
BikeSlobPDX
4 years ago
Reply to  Gregg

If this is a Democrat vs. Republican thing, then how did it get passed in Idaho?

Bjorn
Bjorn
4 years ago
Reply to  BikeSlobPDX

Two things helped in Idaho, first in 1982 when Idaho first passed this change we were a lot closer to the Iran oil crisis and cycling was not seen as a partisan issue the way that it is now thanks to the Koch brothers and climate change denialism. The second and possibly more important thing was that the change was tucked into a larger bill and so people didn’t really focus that much about it. There was some discussion but it wasn’t news before it passed and so it snuck through and now we have decades of data showing that it is a good idea. Even with all that data though it continues to be a hard sell here in Oregon, hopefully as more and more states pass similar laws the tide will eventually turn here too.

Hello, Kitty
4 years ago
Reply to  Gregg

Democrats are not one monolithic block.

9watts
4 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

And they certainly don’t have a majority when it comes to principle, critical thinking, standing up for the right thing. But we (Oregon) do lead in corporate cash contributed to legislators. I wonder if that plays any role? 😉

soren
soren
4 years ago
Reply to  Gregg

The Oregon democratic party passed a mandatory sidepath law (one of only 7 states in the nation with this blatantly anti-cycling law) and recently passed a bike sales tax (the only state with a “sin tax” that targets cycling).

I don’t understand why many assume that the democratic party is particularly supportive of cycling for transportation.

Fred
Fred
4 years ago
Reply to  soren

I’m not aware of the sidepath law. Is it this?
https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/814.420
Is it basically saying that if a cycling path or lane is provided, a cyclist must use it? – for example, a cyclist *must* use the Tryon Creek path instead of SW Terwilliger Blvd, which I much prefer? Thanks.

El Biciclero
El Biciclero
4 years ago
Reply to  Fred

There’s a little bit of ambiguity in this law, which could work for or against a bicyclist, depending on law enforcement’s degree of concern, and which direction their “discretion” leans.

In the case of Tryon creek, it would seem to come down to how “near” (as in, “adjacent to or near the roadway”) is defined. If the path was deemed to be “near” the roadway you were using, then it would come down to whether that path was “suitable for safe bicycle use at reasonable rates of speed” (after a public hearing, of course), which would in turn come down to one’s definitions of both “safe” and “reasonable”.

My definition of “safe” (paved, at least 6′ wide, closed to pedestrians) and “reasonable” (speeds up to the posted or statutory speed limit of the adjacent or nearby roadway), will almost certainly differ from those of law enforcement.

mark smith
mark smith
4 years ago

It’s pretty amazing, the dems are firmly in power and are yielded to the almighty car. Just like the republicans.

Todd Boulanger
4 years ago

The biggest “problem” that the Idaho Stop has now in Oregon … is not the “safety” argument but that its called “Idaho”! Oregonians have been bred and successfully indoctrinated that they are special people from a special place…so if this is to pass thru Salem it needs a new name for the 2020 session. Like the “Timo Turn” or “Blue Bypass” or “Oregon Option”…

Bjorn
Bjorn
4 years ago
Reply to  Todd Boulanger

Having lobbied on this issue for many years I don’t believe the branding is the issue. While we have heard that something working one place doesn’t mean it will work here in oregon from some folks I think they can be convinced by seeing that it is also working in several other states going forward. Many worried legislators don’t want to be seen as leading on something they worry could be a safety issue, but I think that once it is clear that Oregon isn’t leading the way but following a pack of other states it will finally pass.

rainbike
rainbike
4 years ago
Reply to  Todd Boulanger

Maybe call it the “California Roll”. Would that make it more familiar? Cause, well, you know…

Jillian Detweiler
4 years ago
Reply to  rainbike

Hilarious!

Pete
Pete
4 years ago
Reply to  rainbike
bendite
bendite
4 years ago

Since 90% of the drivers do an Idaho stop in their cars this should be no prob.

mark
mark
4 years ago
Reply to  bendite

98%

paikiala
paikiala
4 years ago
Reply to  bendite

Actual measurements are 80%.

SD
SD
4 years ago

I wish I had the time and video equipment to make an instructional video that showed the difference in perspective between approaching a stop sign on a bike and a car.

!
!
4 years ago
Reply to  SD

That would make for a fantastic Youtube video

Dan A
Dan A
4 years ago
Reply to  SD

It wouldn’t convince MOTRG.

mark smith
mark smith
4 years ago

SD
I wish I had the time and video equipment to make an instructional video that showed the difference in perspective between approaching a stop sign on a bike and a car.Recommended 1

Wish I had the time to video how well cars demonstrate the idaho stop at every stop sign.

Every.

single.

Stop sign.

Fred
Fred
4 years ago
Reply to  mark smith

True! Apparently this is one reason self-driving cars have such difficulty with four-way stops: they tend to sit there as each human-driven car nudges into the intersection, while the self-driving car waits for the other cars to stop so it can clearly proceed.

9watts
4 years ago
Reply to  Fred

“…self-driving cars have such difficulty with four-way stops”

Can you point us to evidence of this? I’m curious if this is a thing.

9watts
4 years ago
Reply to  Fred

Thanks for that. Not so different from what some of us skeptics have been speculating, predicting for years.

setha
setha
4 years ago
Reply to  mark smith
setha
setha
4 years ago
Reply to  setha
X
X
4 years ago

Thanks for the videos to demonstrate what we’ve all seen. No predictable safe behavior.

Some things scored as “stops” actually didn’t occur until the vehicle was well into the marked crosswalk. That’s at least a warning if we’re going strictly by the book. Some “rolls” reached their slowest point well behind the crosswalk, giving an alert driver time to at least look both ways. Those people probably feel they stopped.

Almost all the drivers transgressed the crosswalk somehow but who walks in Baverton?