I don’t want to jinx it, but we’re 44 days into being an “Idaho Stop” state and the sky hasn’t fallen. I haven’t heard of any crashes caused by confusion over Oregon’s new law, and there have been (remarkably) zero biased news stories or crazy op-eds about it.
The Oregon House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 998 today by a vote of 31 to 28. From here the bill will go to Governor Kate Brown’s desk for signing.
This is a huge victory for bike advocates who have worked for years to get this legislation through. Once it becomes law, every bicycle rider in Oregon will be able to legally treat every stop sign and flashing red signal as a yield sign. That is, you will no longer have to come to a complete stop at every frickin’ stop sign!
Here’s the official summary of the bill (PDF below):
Permits person operating bicycle to enter intersection controlled by specified traffic control devices without stopping. Permits person operating bicycle to turn without stopping at intersection with specified traffic control devices. Creates offense of improper entry into intersection where traffic is controlled by stop sign. Punishes by maximum fine of $250. Creates offense of improper entry into intersection where traffic is controlled by flashing red signal. Punishes by maximum fine of $250.
Oregon’s attempt to decriminalize rolling stops for bicycle riders took a giant leap forward today when it was voted out of the House Rules Committee 5 to 2.
At Senate Bill 998‘s first House hearing on Thursday, committee members voiced several concerns with the idea of allow bicycle riders to treat stop signs and flashing red signals as yields. One member noticed there were only three pieces of testimony in the official record. So on Friday we put out a call to get more people to email the committee.
By today’s meeting there were 183 emails filed on the State legislative website — the vast majority of which were in strong support of the bill.
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.
Senate Bill 998 — Oregon’s version of the “Idaho Stop” law that would allow bicycle riders to treat stop signs and flashing red signals like yields — has finally made it to the House.
Since our report on this bill last week, the bill passed the full Oregon Senate yesterday by a vote of 21 to 8. It was then referred to the House Rules Committee where it will receive a public hearing and possible vote tomorrow (6/20).
It’s not the Idaho Stop, but a law that would allow bicycle users to treat stop signs and flashing red signals as yields (when safe, of course) would be a major step forward for bicycle users in Oregon. And it just moved one major step closer to passage as the 2019 session rolls into its final few weeks.
Lane County Senator Floyd Prozanski — who introduced a bill inspired by Idaho’s law in 2003 — was the sole person to testify at the committee hearing yesterday. “What Idaho has is much broader than what’s been introduced here, he explained to the committee. “It [Idaho’s law] also allows bicycle riders to do the same [yield] at red lights. I believe that’s too far to go at this stage and that’s why we should follow what would be more the Delaware model.”
Delaware passed their law, which they call the “Delaware yield”, in 2017.
According to Prozanski, the main benefit of this law is that it would allow people on bicycles to maintain momentum at intersections and therefore be less likely to suffer from a collision or close-call. When bicycle riders come to a complete stop, the act of starting up again can make them vulnerable to being hit by other road users who can increase speed more quickly and easily.
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.”
Bicycles and cars are vastly different types of vehicles and our laws should do more to reflect that.
That’s just one of many reasons I strongly support Senate Bill 998 currently working its way through the Oregon Legislature. The bill would allow bicycle users to treat stop signs and flashing red signals as yield signs (also known as “Idaho Stop” for a similar law on the books in Idaho for over 30 years). In other words, you’d only have to come to a complete when it was necessary due to oncoming traffic or some other safety-related condition. The law does not allow dangerous behavior and specifically requires bicycle users to slow to a “safe speed.”
As per usual, this reasonable concept causes many people to freak out. I went on local TV to try and calm some nerves and explain why I support the bill.
10 years after it was last debated in the Oregon Legislature, a concept known as “Idaho Stop” has once again found its way into a bill. And it passed its first committee vote yesterday, just hours before a key legislative deadline.
Senate Bill 998 wasn’t on anyone’s radar before last week. Up until then it was just a vague placeholder bill without any detailed language and with no amendments. That changed when Senator Floyd Prozanski (D-Eugene) drafted an amendment and brought it to the Senate Judiciary Committee during a public hearing for the bill on Monday.
The bill would allow a bicycle user to treat intersections with stop signs or red flashing signals as yields. In other words, as a bicycle user, you’d be able to roll through these intersections without stopping — but only when/if it was safe to do so.