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Oregon’s Idaho Stop bill needs your help – this weekend! – to get over the finish line

Posted by on June 21st, 2019 at 3:32 pm

Sen. Floyd Prozanski testifying at the House Rules Committee yesterday.

As we’ve been reporting, Oregon is tantalizingly close to passing a version of the Idaho Stop law. Now its chief sponsor says the bill needs your help to get over the final hurdle.

Senate Bill 998 would allow bicycle riders to treat stop signs and flashing red signals as yields. Because it makes so much sense and would make our roads safer and more efficient for all Oregonians, it breezed through the Senate earlier this week with bipartisan support by a vote of 21 to 8.

With just days left in the legislative session, the bill now sits in the House Rules Committee — its final stop before a vote on the House floor. The committee gave the bill a public hearing yesterday, but there was no vote taken. A majority of the representatives seemed open to supporting the bill, but they were tentative and expressed a need to learn more and see more public support for it.

Committee member Rep. Sherrie Sprenger said, “I’m looking for data in the testimony and I only see three letters from cyclists; but i’d like some further information.” Committee Chair Rep. Paul Holvey wondered whether or not ODOT and the police were supportive.

The bill’s sponsor Senator Floyd Prozanski, was in attendance responded well to all the concerns. But since no vote was taken the clock continues to tick on this bill and we could run out of time if it doesn’t get voted on as soon as possible.

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“I’d like to have a little momentum, especially going uphill. Just sayin’!”
— Rep. Paul Holvey, Chair, House Rules Committee

Thankfully there’s a possible work session for the bill scheduled for Monday (6/24) at 1:00 pm.

According to sources in Salem, the committee needs to hear more support to feel comfortable voting in favor of the bill and passing it through to the House floor.

That means if you want this bill to become law, you need to email the House Rules Committee this weekend and let them know why you support it. The email is hrules.exhibits@oregonlegislature.gov.

If you are still undecided or unaware of why this law is needed, check out this 2010 study that analyzed the impacts of the law after it was implemented in Idaho. According to researcher Jason Meggs from the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, “There is no evidence of any long-term increase in injury or fatality rates as a result of the adoption of the original Idaho Law in 1982.” You might also want to share this excellent animated video from Spencer Boomhower that explains why stops-as-yields is so important to bicycle users.

We have a great chance with this committee, they just need a bit more confidence to do the right thing.

At the end of yesterday’s meeting, Chair Holvey said he’s a new bicycle rider and that, “I’d like to have a little momentum, especially going uphill. Just sayin’!”

Let’s give SB 998 a bit more momentum to make Chair Holvey — and all of our — rides a bit more easy and efficient. Here’s that email again – hrules.exhibits@oregonlegislature.gov.

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

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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

16 Comments
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    Jason June 21, 2019 at 3:38 pm

    I’ll write my letter of support tomorrow. Thanks for the heads-up!

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    Bjorn June 21, 2019 at 3:57 pm

    Please if you choose to write in, and I hope you will, do so with a focus on the positive aspects of the bill and the study from the Berkeley school of public health showing that there were no negative impacts in terms of deaths or injuries from the law change in Idaho. Negative and especially mean spirited comments can have negative impacts not just on the bill you are commenting on but on other pro cycling bills as well.

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    Marshall J Habermann-Guthrie June 21, 2019 at 4:07 pm

    For folks looking for a place to start, here’s what I wrote. I’m not saying it’s perfect, but a place to start. You should also copy you House Rep so they know you’ll be paying attention to their vote come election time:

    Subject: Yes on SB998

    My name is Marshall Habermann-Guthrie, and I live in Monmouth. I am contacting you to voice my support for SB 998, allowing cyclists to enter intersections controlled by specific traffic control devices, essentially allowing stop signs to be treated as yield signs where safe to do so.

    I am both an automobile operator and a near-daily cyclist. Cycling allows me to save money (or, more accurately, redirect my spending towards small, local businesses), stay healthy, and get where I need to go efficiently with minimal environmental impact. I am a conscientious cyclist who sees the benefits of allowing cyclists to treat stop signs as yield sign. The onus of safe operation remains on the cyclist, but the option to avoid dangerous low-speed transitions will be safer for all road users, especially when there is a car directly behind a bike.

    This proposed bill would also make cycling more attractive to more people by reducing the high-effort inertia-building that is required in low-traffic residential areas with many 4-way stops, like my neighborhood. More cyclists in the community means more dollars in pockets, healthier hearts in bodies, and less cars on the road meaning everyone gets where they are going more efficiently and more safely.

    In short, there are many upsides and no real proven downsides to this bill. This is a clear and easy victory for all road users. Please work to progress this bill to adoption and vote “yes.”

    Thank you,
    Marshall Habermann-Guthrie
    Monmouth, OR

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      Dan A June 21, 2019 at 9:21 pm

      Comment of the week.

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    9watts June 21, 2019 at 4:34 pm

    Stop-lite?

    I thought this was chiefly about stop signs, and I’m not sure what a stop-lite is.

    Confused.

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      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 21, 2019 at 5:22 pm

      Sorry…. I was trying to be cute. Our bill is a lighter version of the Idaho Stop bill. In Idaho, the law is that bicycle users can treat red signals as yields. Sen. Prozanski felt that was going too far, so me made our bill only apply to stop signs and flashing reds. At the committee yesterday, he referred to the bill as “Idaho-lite”. I should probably change the headline. Sorry for the confusion.

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        Bjorn June 21, 2019 at 5:33 pm

        I think the senator misspoke on this point, the Idaho law does not allow cyclists to treat a red light as a yield. It allows a cyclist to proceed once they come to a complete stop if there is no other user who has the right of way. This is similar to the law that already exists in Oregon except that in Oregon you have to wait for a full light cycle before doing so. The red light portion of both laws is intended to help with signals whose sensors are not good enough to be activated by a bicycle and basically allows a cyclist to treat a red light like a car treats a stop sign. SB 998 doesn’t make any changes to Oregon stop light law.

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          Dan A June 21, 2019 at 9:19 pm

          Unfortunately. My commute would be safer if I could proceed through empty intersections with a red light rather than waiting for a column of cars to back up behind me.

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        Jason Start June 22, 2019 at 10:31 am

        If anything we should be referring to Oregon’s version as a New Hampshire Stop bill as that is the version it more closely represents.

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    Jim Lee June 22, 2019 at 8:48 am

    Senate Republicans helped to pass this, then decamped to Idaho to ride their bikes, heavily armed.

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    Frank Selker June 23, 2019 at 12:30 am

    My letter reinforced that the key to safety is predictability, and this law will increase that for both drivers and bikes at stop signs.

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    Travis June 23, 2019 at 10:16 am

    This video does a nice job of explaining the basic if the bill.
    https://vimeo.com/4140910

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    AndyK June 23, 2019 at 8:52 pm

    LETTER SENT. Thanks Jonathan.

    Good quotes in the article – gives me hope!
    Are there any BP readers who follow this stuff very closely care to give odds on it passing?

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    David June 24, 2019 at 10:03 am

    Looks like testimony submitted over the weekend has been posted and over 50 people took some time out of their day to support SB 998. Thank you to everyone who sent in an email!

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      David June 24, 2019 at 12:23 pm

      Looks like some more are posted and it’s over 170! Looks like this bill got some help, now to see if it makes a difference…

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    Evan Manvel June 24, 2019 at 1:35 pm

    Just passed out of committee with bipartisan support. Think just one (possibly two) no votes.

    Next stop: House floor vote.

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