02

Blog

Alabama Bike Law Reforms

Dead Red and Stop As Yield Laws Considered

Alabama is considering 2 new laws which, if passed, will have a positive effect not only on bicyclists, but the public at large.

The first of these is the “dead red” law.  Under this proposed legislation, a cyclist or motorcyclist, neither of whom have enough steel and/or weight to trip a sensor thereby changing a light from red to green, will be able to go through a red light – of course – after stopping and making sure that going through the red light can be done safely.  Similar laws already exist in most states. Passage of this law will eliminate cyclists and motorcyclists from having to wait at red lights until a car comes up from behind triggering the light. And, even when a car gets to the light, it has to come close enough to the cyclist in order to trigger the light.  When the light is finally triggered by the car, the car and the cyclist are in close proximity. The dead red law will allow the cyclist to go through the red light with less delay and without having to wait on a car to get in very close proximity.

The other law that is working its way through the Alabama legislature is known as the “Idaho stop law” since Idaho passed this legislation 35 years ago.  Basically, it allows cyclists to treat red lights as stop signs and stop signs as yield signs. The proposed Alabama law is a modified version of the Idaho law as it only applies to treating stop signs as yield signs – see https://legiscan.com/Al/bill/SB273/2019.  Recently (this past April) Arkansas became the second state to pass the Idaho stop law, although in 2017, Delaware passed a modified version similar to what is being proposed in Alabama. Studies consistently have shown that the Idaho stop law has resulted in significant safety benefits to cyclists (bicycle injuries dropped 14% the year after the law was first passed and a 2010 study showed that Idaho cities are about 30% safer in terms of injuries than comparable non-Idaho cities).  The law will result in cyclists spending less times to dangers present at intersections. Plus, the law also is likely to result in cyclists being able to ride through low trafficked neighborhoods, replete with numerous stop signs since cyclists will be able to ride without constantly having to start and stop again. See this short video which explains the law and why it results in greater safety https://vimeo.com/4140910.

The passage of both of these laws will result in greater safety for cyclists, motorcycle riders and the public.  And, the fact of the matter is, this is the way many people already ride. It’s really not that different from how a motorist would act if stopped at a red light at 3 am on a deserted road – the driver stops, looks both ways and if there is no traffic, typically goes through the red light.  To the extent there is a difference, the cyclist would: 1.be spending less time exposed to dangers at intersections; 2. have less close interactions with motor vehicles; and 3. be encouraged to ride in more low speed neighborhoods with lots of traffic signs. The Montgomery Alabama Bicycle Club has created a way to easily contact your State Senator by going here – https://p2a.co/DRQ7f1b.  

Comments

Minnesota Cycling Advocate
Daniel Brazil Jul 01, 2020

I recently had the great opportunity to interview fellow cycling advocate, Dave Sanderson, the chair of Pedal Fergus Falls, a Minnesota bike advocacy group. What began as a simple conversation about advocacy turned into an inspiring deep dive into the work Pedal Fergus Falls has done and continues to do for our cycling community. Pedal […]

Read More
Bike Safety
Daniel Brazil Jun 05, 2020

As a cyclist (and bike crash attorney), I often worry that I’m placing my life in the hands of motorists each time I hop on my bike. And stories like this one about bike safety recently shared on Outside Online heighten my fears, as cyclist deaths continue to rise across the U.S. even in a […]

Read More
Biking After COVID 5
Ann Groninger May 28, 2020

What will biking after COVID be like? Before COVID, it seemed like there was a handful of people in my city who rode bikes to get places, and we all knew each other. We’ve always had a robust recreational road riding community of people who gather after work and on weekends to head out to […]

Read More
Bike Advocate
Bruce Hagen May 26, 2020

If you’ve ridden a bike anywhere in Atlanta, chances are you’ve met Atlanta bike advocate Angel Poventud.  If you’ve stopped for a post-ride beer, been to an important advocacy event, or to any major Atlanta gathering, chances are you have met Angel Poventud.   It may only seem that Angel is everywhere, but when you […]

Read More
Bicycle accident lawyer group riding in COVID
Kurt Holzer May 15, 2020

Idaho’s Governor Little has issued the State’s planned staged transition away from his Stay-at-Home health order.  Road cyclists continue to wonder how we should engage in group riding under COVID. As a bicycle accident lawyer who deals with the negative aspects of cycling, I have been thinking a lot about when and how to ride safely […]

Read More
Felix Mayer Cyclist killed by car. NO VRU law
Bruce Hagen Apr 30, 2020

On May 1, 2020, the City of Dunwoody’s new Vulnerable Road User (“VRU”) ordinance will take effect, the first such law to be enacted anywhere in the State of Georgia.  Hopefully neighboring municipalities like Sandy Springs, Roswell and Chamblee will follow suit, and more importantly, the State of Georgia.   VRU laws recognize and prioritize […]

Read More
Load More