Idaho stop law for cyclists

There seems to be some misperceptions about the “Idaho Stop” law for cyclist — namely, many people think that this law allows cyclists to blow through controlled intersections without looking.

Idaho Statutes Title 49 is the motor vehicle code. Chapter 7 deals with pedestrians and bicycles; section 720 regulates stopping and is where Idaho permits cyclists’ ‘rolling stop’ at stop signs. This section also allows cyclists to treat red lights like stop signs.

49-720.  STOPPING -- TURN AND STOP SIGNALS. (1) A person operating a
bicycle or human-powered vehicle approaching a stop sign shall slow down and,
if required for safety, stop before entering the intersection. After slowing
to a reasonable speed or stopping, the person shall yield the right-of-way to
any vehicle in the intersection or approaching on another highway so closely
as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time the person is moving
across or within the intersection or junction of highways, except that a
person after slowing to a reasonable speed and yielding the right-of-way if
required, may cautiously make a turn or proceed through the intersection
without stopping.
(2) A person operating a bicycle or human-powered vehicle approaching a
steady red traffic control light shall stop before entering the intersection
and shall yield to all other traffic. Once the person has yielded, he may
proceed through the steady red light with caution. Provided however, that a
person after slowing to a reasonable speed and yielding the right-of-way if
required, may cautiously make a right-hand turn. A left-hand turn onto a
one-way highway may be made on a red light after stopping and yielding to
other traffic.
(3) A person riding a bicycle shall comply with the provisions of section
49-643, Idaho Code.
(4) A signal of intention to turn right or left shall be given during not
less than the last one hundred (100) feet traveled by the bicycle before
turning, provided that a signal by hand and arm need not be given if the hand
is needed in the control or operation of the bicycle.

4 Comments

  • GeekGuyAndy
    April 15, 2009 - 8:20 pm | Permalink

    I'm a cyclist, but I understand the concern from this type of law. The law itself can say whatever it wants, very few people will read it. What actually happens is that the law gets a short, easy to describe verbal version that goes around the gossip loops. So what states that cyclist still must use caution when slowly rolling through a safe stop then translates to "cyclists don't need to stop."

    It's not just drivers that are doing this, it's the cyclists too. The people who read this blog I imagine know the laws pretty well and might forget that most people on a bike haven't read the laws, or know their rights and responsibilities while on a bike. If the occasional cyclist hears the same gossip "cyclists don't need to stop" then they might take that as "it's okay to roll through any stop."

    That said, I'd love to see the Idaho stop be law in all states. It just makes sense to incentivize for the human-powered modes, and saving your momentum goes a loooong way when riding around town. As long as bikes are a distinct minority, I see no reason not to treat stops as yields.

  • GeekGuyAndy
    April 16, 2009 - 3:20 am | Permalink

    I'm a cyclist, but I understand the concern from this type of law. The law itself can say whatever it wants, very few people will read it. What actually happens is that the law gets a short, easy to describe verbal version that goes around the gossip loops. So what states that cyclist still must use caution when slowly rolling through a safe stop then translates to "cyclists don't need to stop."It's not just drivers that are doing this, it's the cyclists too. The people who read this blog I imagine know the laws pretty well and might forget that most people on a bike haven't read the laws, or know their rights and responsibilities while on a bike. If the occasional cyclist hears the same gossip "cyclists don't need to stop" then they might take that as "it's okay to roll through any stop."That said, I'd love to see the Idaho stop be law in all states. It just makes sense to incentivize for the human-powered modes, and saving your momentum goes a loooong way when riding around town. As long as bikes are a distinct minority, I see no reason not to treat stops as yields.

  • Steve Dennis
    April 16, 2009 - 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Here is an explanation of the same law as posted on UrbanVelo:
    http://urbanvelo.org/bicycle-rolling-stop-animation-idaho-stop-law/

  • Steve Dennis
    April 16, 2009 - 8:42 pm | Permalink

    Here is an explanation of the same law as posted on UrbanVelo:http://urbanvelo.org/bicycle-rolling-stop-animation-idaho-stop-law/

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