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Stop the madness


First of all, let me say this: When I’m on my bike, I stop at stoplights and stop signs.

I can see the eyes rolling now.

By far the biggest complaint I hear about cyclists is that they flout traffic laws. Every. Single. One.

Cyclists blow through stop signs and blast through red lights.

I know.

We’re evil.

But I really do stop.

Sometimes, though, I’ll admit that I might stop more in spirit than actuality. I’m not the only one to roll a stop sign.

Truth be told, a vast minority of vehicles — two-wheeled or four- or six- or 18- — actually come to a full and complete stop at controlled intersections.

Of course, it’s situational. Roll up to a red octagon in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the night, with no one for miles around, and the stop becomes more of a hesitation. Roll up to a busy four-way at rush hour with a police car within view, and it’s letter-of-the-law time.

Which is why I’m intrigued by the Idaho Stop Law, a traffic provision enacted in 1982 that, in essence, allows cyclists to roll through stop signs at a slow speed if there are no other vehicles at the intersection. In other words, if there are no other vehicles, cyclists can treat stop signs as yield signs.

You’ll notice I said I’m intrigued, not necessarily that I’m in favor of the law, versions of which are being considered in other states, including Montana and California.

On one hand, I appreciate the concept. There’s no morality involved when it comes to stop signs. They exist simply to make travel safe for all road users. If there’s no one else to keep safe, what’s the harm in rolling a stop?

On the other hand, I abhor making exceptions for cyclists. There’s enough animosity between drivers and cyclists already. Creating a special privilege for cyclists, as the Idaho Stop Law does, is bound to create even more division.

I guess my thinking is this: If traffic volume is low enough at a given intersection to warrant a yield sign, then it should be a yield intersection for all vehicles.

Then again, I’m fiercely protective of my person and rather stubborn about it. If it’s in my best interest to come to a complete stop — regardless of the shape of the sign or status of the statute — I’ll do it.

And you can’t stop me.


Steve Miller 8 years, 1 month ago

They are all yield signs untill someone gets ran over and hurt bad.. How about that. There should be no debate. It's kind of like this, you pull up to a stop light, it is green, there is a semi truck coming from the other direction and runs the red light, however you do see this , you go ahead and take your green light, guess what, you're dead right. To late now, ..

Todd Hiatt 8 years, 1 month ago

I love the Idaho law. But until we pass something like it, I too stop at every sign when I am riding in the street.

Shane Garrett 8 years, 1 month ago

I don't like it when cyclists use crosswalks, then they ride their bike through them. Most times without stoping. Walk the bike in a crossWALK.

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 8 years, 1 month ago

Stop means stop, period. There is a good reason for the stop sign being there. It infuriates me when people on bicycles do not obey the same rules of the road that I must follow. Thank you, Lynn

Centerville 8 years, 1 month ago

So if we enact an Idaho law, we need to also enact legal protection for motorists.

Mariposa 8 years, 1 month ago

No one likes stopping at stop signs. First you do it to please your old Dad. Then you do it to flirt with the cute guys in the car next to you. Then you realize your Dad would rather have you blow though the sign than be flirting.But, no one likes stopping at the sign. No body. Hints for flirting technique. Pull helmet off, fluff hair, lean back with a sigh of exhaustion and then causally look at the car. You want to be certain of who is in the car least you find yourself flirting with a Grandmum. Rumors get started that way. If you are a guy reading this, substitute Gramps for Grandmum. Gives you the shivers, doesn't it?

Randall Uhrich 8 years, 1 month ago

I hate bicyclists on public roads for three reasons: First, they almost never stop at stop signs or signal their turns. Evidently, they think they're exempt. Second, they're a traffic hazard. Going two abreast over the top of a hill, or turning to look behind at you in a car and veer out in your path, or riding in bunches taking up a whole lane. I don't want to go to jail for running over some stupid bicyclist. Third, when they're riding a bicycle they're not paying any highway taxes! Every time we buy gas we're paying for road construction. Two solutions: 1. Operator's licenses (and fees!) for bicyclists, and 2. Road-use taxes for bicycles. It's no wonder that some drivers like to remind bicyclists how dangerous road riding is every time they pass one.

a_flock_of_jayhawks 8 years, 1 month ago

As far as the suggestion of taxes or road use fees for bicycles, I don't think that they create the same deterioration effects on roads that motor vehicles do. The only real infrastructure burden that they create might be the few bike lanes out there, but that's very minor and a good idea from a public safety view.

I have witnessed a few bike on car collisions in downtown Lawrence. Every one was a situation in which the bike was traveling rapidly along a sidewalk (I think that's prohibited downtown) and emerged at the crossing from around a building or other obstruction to the motorist's view to make contact with the front or side of the auto.

I've also noticed what I perceive as a bit of an attitude with the cyclists in their gestures and body language. I am always courteous and careful when encountering them on the road, but have been flipped off a couple of times for no apparent reason. Maybe the cyclist was just having bad day.

ltljim64 8 years, 1 month ago

...and on the 'madness' theme..

how about the new walking/bike path roundabout on east 15th?

Shane Garrett 8 years, 1 month ago

madness? How about the 4th annual squirrel scramble this sat. in Tongie?

space_nut_2006 8 years, 1 month ago

I find it degrading that cyclists don't follow simple road rules, or seem to have an "attitude." I was cycling in a southern CA, failed to come to a complete stop, and I got pulled over by a bicyclist cop. As a cyclist myself, I expect every other cyclist should obey the law. If not, they should get pulled over and ticketed. They should be free to use the road and rduhish you and REQUIRED to give any cyclist a full lane if necessary. It is a give and take relationship, and if you want cyclists to obey the law, quit complaining until you do the same.

Shardwurm 8 years, 1 month ago

"It is a give and take relationship, and if you want cyclists to obey the law, quit complaining until you do the same."

This is a very flawed statement. If you've ever driven on the county roads in the area in the spring the only relationship the cyclists offer is 'take'. As far as not complaining until we all obey the law, that has to be one of the most ignorant comments I've ever heard.

The fact is the attitude of cyclists has caused the animosity between them and motorists. No operator wants to run over and kill someone but when the cyclists themselves don't follow common sense, courtesy, or the law it creates this problem.

How about this: If you want the motorists to respect you, start obeying the law somtimes, EVEN WHEN IT INCONVENIENCES YOU.

lindseydoyle 8 years, 1 month ago

I could care less if a bicyclist comes to a complete stop. What I do care about are the bikies who take pleasure cruises on our country roads and even highways, obstructing traffic for dozens of motorists. Talk about narcissistic. In the past year in Shawnee county one was killed on a county road and one killed on Highway 24. Guess there is some justice but I bet it ruined the whole day for the motorists.

space_nut_2006 8 years, 1 month ago

First of all, cars don't own the road. And I grew up on county roads where most of the time I was the car getting stuck behind the cyclists, not the other way around. However, I'm sorry the cyclists the posters here have seen or had to deal with are not law-abiding, but I wonder if you have driven on any roads without the safety and comfort of your cage? On two wheels, you do what it takes to survive (rolling through stopsigns and disobeying other traffic laws is where Darwin takes over) knowing that every person is out to get you. I wouldn't have the hands to type this with if it weren't for my own quick reactions keeping my wife and I from becoming a stain on the side of somebody's car, several times over.

Animosity? My friend, the river (and stupidity) runs both ways.

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