02

Blog

Support of the Colorado Safety Stop Bill

Bike Law fully supports the Colorado Safety Stop Bill, Senate Bill 93, that was introduced by Senator Andy Kerr to rethink the “Operation Of Bicycles Approaching Intersections.”

Ridership in the United States is up across the board. Over the past 10 years choosing a bike for transportation has become less an alternative and a more regular choice for many. Yet across the United States, our infrastructure and culture of moving people from point A to B is still car dominate.

Recently, the Federal Highway Administration changed how they measure traffic from counting vehicles to counting individuals. Finally, we are focusing on moving people; options besides single occupancy vehicles are taking the main stage. Public transportation, biking, and walking effectively now matter more than ever before.

With this timely news from the FHWA, a Safety Stop bill was introduced earlier this month to the Colorado Senate. The Colorado Senate Bill 93 was introduced by Senator Andy Kerr to rethink the “Operation Of Bicycles Approaching Intersections.” This bill would change how cyclists handle intersections with stop signs or stop lights.

It is often referred to as the “Idaho Stop,” named after the state that first passed a similar law in 1982. To all the naysayers, the law works, and it has been shown in a University of California at Berkeley School of Public Health study that the year after the Idaho law passed there was a 14.5% reduction in cycling-related injuries in Idaho.

At Bike Law, we strongly believe in the Idaho Stop

This isn’t the first time we have brought it up. We bring up the Idaho Stop often because we believe in it.

The argument of infrastructure

The majority of intersections require a large metal object to trigger an inductive loop imbedded in the asphalt. Bicycles are not large metal objects. Riders with Team Evergreen and I have endured long waits at red lights until a car rolled up to trigger the light to change. A group can more easily stay together and would cause less delays to motor vehicle traffic if Senator Kerr’s bill becomes the law of Colorado.

Most lights are programmed in light cycles through monitored traffic counts, and various times of day. The length of time an average cyclist takes to cross an intersection is not typically part of these traffic counts. The grade, length of intersection, and number of cyclists trying to cross per light cycle are not often part of the light cycle formula.

In some forward thinking cities, there are green boxes placed at the head of an intersection to allow bikes to be in front of the traffic to get a head start across the intersection, and a custom light trigger in the asphalt within the green box sensitive enough for a bike to activate. These are rare, and typically in the more progressive cycling friendly cities.

The argument of different vehicles

Bikes are not cars, yet the laws to keep cyclists and motorists safe view them as the same thing. It takes a bicycle significantly more time to get started from a foot down stop to get started and cross an intersection. Leaving them hidden besides moving vehicles and blinded from the left turning vehicles looking for an opening in traffic.

As the Colorado Bike Law attorney, and the past President of Team Evergreen Cycling, I believe that cyclists should be able to keep their momentum and get out of the way of motor vehicles. For example, the proposed bill will allow cyclists to more quickly clear the intersection for cars who want to turn.

The argument of respecting laws and stopping when necessary

Once instituted, the next step would be in educating riders how to follow the law.  In an earlier article on Bike Law, Kurt Holzer outlined the following behavior under the law.

When a cyclist approaches a stop sign, he or she should:

  1. Slow down and stop if required for safety;
  2. Yield the right-of-way to any motor vehicle in the intersection or any approaching vehicles that will create a hazard if the cyclist crosses the intersection; and
  3. Continue after appropriately slowing and yielding without stopping.

Allowing cyclists to do this is really about conservation of energy and recognizing the differences between bikes and cars.

When a bicyclist approaches a red light, he or she should:

  1. Stop;
  2. Yield to all other traffic; and
  3. Proceed through the red light with the appropriate caution.

Argument of Safety Over Tickets

In Colorado there are several smaller towns that are popular with cyclists that have taken to ticketing those rolling stop signs as a source of income. These towns have more to gain from being inclusive to cycling tourism, and encouraging riders from spending more time (and money) than giving tickets to yielding cyclists when there are no vehicles to be seen.

The Safety Stop law would allow our law enforcement to focus on safety and other top issues by eliminating the gray area of yielding cyclists.

Join Bike Law in support of the Safety Stop Bill in Colorado

The passing of the Colorado Bill 93 would be a strong push forward to creating the momentum to making the Idaho Stop a nationally accepted law.

  1. Learn more about the proposed Safety Stop Bill from Bicycle Colorado
  2. Sign the Bicycle Colorado petition
  3. Join Bike Law Colorado in Denver on February 7 at 1:30 pm in the Senate Conference Room 352 (Third Floor of the Capitol) to show your support and to start the momentum to roll across the country

Illustration Credit: Andy Singer

Comments

Fairhope Bike Shop
Peter Wilborn Sep 16, 2019

Katie Bolton and her husband Joseph are the proud owners of Fairhope Cycle and Tri in Fairhope, Alabama – the eastern shore.  Their shop has been open for 8 years now and in addition to selling and servicing bicycles, the shop often is a “hub” for cycling events in the Fairhope area.   Katie grew up in […]

Read More
Rick Bernardi Sep 13, 2019

Stop as Yield. It was the legislative Holy Grail for Oregon cyclists. Idaho had pioneered the Stop As Yield concept—allowing cyclists to treat a stop sign as if it’s a yield sign—in 1982, and for decades, Idaho remained the only state where Stop as Yield was legal for cyclists, despite the actual practice being widespread, […]

Read More
Peter Wilborn Aug 20, 2019

A camera is necessary kit for every ride. But finding the right camera has been a challenge, until now. My rebuttable presumption: the Ricoh GR III is the best cycling camera of all time. Read on, and if you can prove there’s a better one, let me know. The Ideal Cycling Camera To find the […]

Read More
Human Shield Bike Lane
Bruce Hagen Jul 29, 2019

If you ride bikes around Atlanta, chances are that you know Niklas Vollmer and Andreas Wolfe.  They’re some of the many people in town who seem to live on their bikes and can be seen riding everywhere.  While they both have their “day jobs,” folks in the cycling world know them for their place in […]

Read More
Bruce Hagen Jul 19, 2019

This is a time when advocacy efforts are crucial to making our streets safer for everyone. Within 24 hours from the Two Wheel Tuesday gathering we suffered two more casualties.  On Wednesday morning, Marten Bijvank was on his way to work on his bicycle when he was struck and killed by an unlicensed DUI driver […]

Read More
AJ's Bicycle Shop in Iowa
Jim Freeman Jul 15, 2019

Bicycling Magazine recently published an article titled, “Hey, Bike Shops; Stop Treating Customers Like Garbage.”  The story follows a heavy-set 59 year old’s sad tale of how he was treated poorly from a number of local bike shops.   First and foremost, I would be clear that bikes are for almost everyone.  If you are big, […]

Read More
Bike accident scene
Rick Bernardi Jul 12, 2019

The big bike news out of the Oregon legislature this year was the passage of a Stop as Yield law. This was an enormous legislative victory for Oregon cyclists, the culmination of over a decade of advocacy. But it wasn’t the only legislative victory for Oregon cyclists this legislative session. A less glamorous but equally […]

Read More
Uber Biking Escort
Charlie Thomas Jul 11, 2019

I often find myself wanting to ride on a roadway corridor that doesn’t want me there. At best, I could make it across alive with some close calls and a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. At worst, I wouldn’t be around to write this blog post.  Of course, a safer, alternate route […]

Read More
Cycling Without Age Bike Law
Brian Weiss Jul 11, 2019

The founder of the Lakewood Bicycle Advisory Team loves his life on two wheels. Gary Harty was born in Bellows Falls, Vermont, and raised in Colorado – Denver Metro area, and now makes bicycling in Lakewood, Colorado safe and fun.  Gary is part of the baby boomer generation. He attended Colorado State University (CSU) and […]

Read More
Rachael Maney Bike Law
Rachael Maney Jul 10, 2019

Outrage.  It is what drives action and engagement on the interwebs these days. If it’s not outrageous, it’s boring. The Election of 2018 proved that outrage increases TOS (“time on site”) more than friendship, sympathy, desire, or anything else.  Judgment. By definition it is necessary to reach any conclusion about anything. But passing it on […]

Read More
Stop as Yield for Cyclists
Rick Bernardi Jul 09, 2019

The Oregon Legislature made national news this past week, for all the wrong reasons. The State Senate, with a super-majority of Democrats in control, had been working on climate legislation which would have Oregon join a cap-and-trade market with California and Quebec. Unable to stop the legislation, Republican Senators fled the state en masse, preventing […]

Read More
Bike Law Alps
Charlie Thomas Jul 07, 2019

It’s Tour de France time. I follow the racing daily through the footage on TV feed and still photos. But I hadn’t ever considered what’s happening on the other side of the camera lens. Like, what actually goes into snapping these pictures that we see documenting the Tour’s happenings? I started to care more about […]

Read More
Load More