Governor signs bill on ‘Idaho Stop’ – Hasso Hering


A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Governor signs bill on ‘Idaho Stop’

Written August 10th, 2019 by Hasso Hering

With no cross traffic, a bike rider won’t have to stop here under a law taking effect on Jan. 1.

It took a while for the legislative database to catch up, but today it showed that the governor signed a law change affecting bicyclists at stop signs in Albany and elsewhere in Oregon. The change takes effect this coming Jan. 1.

Friday — the 30th weekday after the legislature adjourned on June 30 — was the deadline for Gov. Kate Brown to sign or veto bills. According to Saturday’s version of an online list of more than 600 bills passed by the 2019 session, she didn’t do either with Senate Bill 998. But today, Aug. 12, the legislative website showed the bill as having been signed on Friday after all.

The law change adopts a form of the so-called Idaho Stop in Oregon. It says that cyclists may treat stop signs and flashing red lights as yield signs if there is no cross traffic bearing down on the intersection. They must still yield the right of way to vehicles or pedestrians, and the law adds new violations if they don’t.

As I’ve explained before, the new law changes little in how most cyclists behave. They usually slow down for a stop sign, checking for traffic, and then roll through if the coast is clear. But it removes the chance of being cited for doing so, as reportedly happens from time to time in Corvallis, though not in Albany as far as I know.

The change easily passed the state Senate, 21-8, on June 18. But a week later it barely squeaked through the House, 31-28. As long as the governor didn’t veto it, the bill would have become a law with or without her signature. It’s a minor bill, and Governor Brown might have wanted to just ignore it. But now it’s clear that she did not. (hh)

This story was edited on Aug. 12 when the bill was reported as signed. 

19 responses to “Governor signs bill on ‘Idaho Stop’”

  1. Craig says:

    I can’t wait to hear the usual arguments against. “Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together – mass hysteria.”

  2. Just Some Poor Schmuck says:

    Just wait until the first bicyclist is flattened.

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      Why would the law change cause a cyclist to be less concerned about their survival?
      It’s obvious you don’t ride a bike to even make such of an ignorant statement.

      Their are “first bicyclist flattened” occurrences happening daily across our country. What would be different about another?

  3. Jim Engel says:

    And pray tell why not for us motorists??!! Think of the gallons of gas that would be saved if drivers could treat intersections as we now must give a privilege to bicyclists!! Those same bicyclists pay little if any attention to current traffic laws. They are doing this “Idaho” maneuver as it is now!

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      Hopefully, motorists aren’t blowing stop signs, so they wouldn’t be continuing what “they already do” like cyclists.
      Just how are you, as a motorist, “wronged” by this new law. Have you decided to subscribe to “the victim mentality”?

      • Jim Engel says:

        Awww Bill, I think it’s more the bicyclist that play the victim card. Like “we need bike lanes, we need idyllic paths back & forth from Albany to Corvallis. We need wider shoulders on highways…” As I travel to Corvallis once or twice a week I rarely see a rider using that “special” bike path along 34th Hwy!

        • Bill Kapaun says:

          So you don’t have a good answer, but need to change the subject?
          Remember, the story is about bicycles & stop signs.
          Keep throwing away your credibility on something so trivial.

      • Peggy Richner says:

        Automobile drivers aren’t wronged, and it makes sense that cyclists shouldn’t have to stop when it’s safe to proceed, but it also makes sense to apply the same latitude to motorists. It is also referred to as a “California stop,” at least in California.

  4. Robert Chandler says:

    What I see here is waste of our taxpayers money. How much money was spent by our beloved government on this wasteful nonsense? Don’t we have more important matters?

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      How many pieces of legislation passed by our “Salemites” were less expensive?
      You should be thankful they spent time discussing THIS instead of something dreadfully more expensive.

      PS- You might want to actually read the article. it’ll give you a much better clue about the subject.

  5. Brad says:

    A couple years ago I was pulled over on my bike by an Albany cop for not stopping at a stop sign. I didn’t get a citation, but he checked my drivers license and chatted with me for a bit. The whole encounter was very friendly, but just WEIRD. I’m glad I don’t have to worry about that happening again.

    • Lundy says:

      About the same time period, I was pulled over for the same thing by a Corvallis officer; when asked for ID, I asked him what ID was required to ride a bicycle — then, not wanting to be a jerk, I just handed him my driver’s license. But yes, the whole thing was weird. Strangest of all, I kid you not, the officer’s name was Lance Armstrong.

  6. Fernando says:

    “Declares emergency, effective on passage.” Not January 1.

  7. Albany YIMBY says:

    Apart from Washington, Elm, 9th, and 12th traffic is so light downtown that the streets could be shared spaces for cars, bicycles and pedestrians.

  8. Hasso Hering says:

    The writer of this comment just found the story and asked that her comment be added, so:

    As I see it, the reason for bicycles to be allowed this privilege, but not cars, is threefold:

    1. We are already going slowly enough that by the time we get where we can clearly see that there is not traffic close enough to threaten us, it feels superfluous to stop, have to give up our balance and flow for nothing.
    2. We are also, hopefully, enough aware of our vulnerability that we wouldn’t use this privilege frivolously. (Sadly, I can’t bring myself to think the same about cars and trucks – many drivers seem to think they are invincible and can do whatever dangerous thing that appeals to them. I know that isn’t all drivers, but there are enough who act that way that I wouldn’t want to make it legal for them.)
    3. Often there are parked cars blocking our visibility of the oncoming traffic, so even if we stopped, we still would need to pull out further than the official stopping place in order to see, so at that point it again would feel unnecessary to stop unless we see there is indeed traffic coming.

    For those reasons, ever since I heard about the Idaho rule I had occasionally been allowing myself to take advantage of that possibility, especially after I heard it had passed the Oregon Senate, but was bothered by never having actually been notified of its becoming law in Oregon. So thank you, HH, for clarifying!

    Karen Stingle
    Eugene, OR


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