A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Idaho stop: The bill shows signs of life

Written June 16th, 2019 by Hasso Hering

At this west Albany intersection, all is quiet and the bike could proceed (if it had a rider).

In Salem, a bill on bicyclists and stop signs appears to be not quite as dead as it looked. After being stalled in the Senate since April, SB 998 managed to get a hearing in Senate Rules last week, and the committee voted 4-1 to recommend its passage on the floor.

Whether and when the floor vote takes place is unknown. As of Sunday night the legislative website showed no scheduled action. And even if the Senate passes the bill, the legislation still faces the gauntlet of procedure in the House, which has been running behind the schedule of bills awaiting a vote.

As you may remember, SB 998 would authorize bicyclists to treat stop signs and flashing red lights as yield signs. In other words, if traffic permits, they could roll through without having to stop. But they would still have to yield the right of way to vehicles and pedestrians.

Sen. Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene, the chief sponsor of the amended bill, told the Rules Committee why it’s a good idea. If cyclists stop, the time it takes to regain momentum can lead to more close calls. By the time a cyclist gets going again after seeing that the road is clear, one or more vehicles could be bearing down on the intersection.

What the bill allows is generally known as the Idaho stop, because Idaho has allowed it since the 1980s. But Idaho also allows cyclists to roll through red lights when the intersection is clear. Prozanski said he didn’t want Oregon to go that far, and his bill does not.

Arkansas has just passed a law like Idaho’s. Prozanski said his bill is modeled after a law in effect in Delaware.

The only no vote on the Rules Committee came from Sen. Brian Boquist, R-Dallas. He didn’t explain why he opposed the bill. (hh)

Postscript: On Tuesday, June 18, the Senate approved the bill, 21-8, and sent it to the House.

Posted in: Commentary, News

12 responses to “Idaho stop: The bill shows signs of life”

  1. J Jacobson says:

    Hope springs eternally.

  2. Don says:

    If passed, means the motorist now has to watch for cyclist coming along beside them before they start to turn right.

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      If you’re slowing down WITH your TURN SIGNAL ON, no cyclist in their right mind is going to attempt to pass you after you’ve just passed them.
      If you’re both stopped at the light, you have to yield for the one going straight, unless you are making a Right turn on Red AFTER you have stopped. Even then, you may not proceed unless SAFE to do so. That applies to both.
      Now if you’re one of those jerks that think the BIKE LANE is your personal right turn lane…..It ISN’T!

  3. Craig says:

    Idaho has allowed this since 1980 and cyclist survived? Are cyclist filling all the emergency rooms? Is the cost of insurance higher in Idaho? What a rich data set we could learn from.

    • J. Jacobson says:

      Given Idaho’s well-deserved reputation for illicitness, it comes as no surprise the Potato Heads would formally recognize this dangerous activity. That any Oregonian would adopt and promote this scandalous idea is dismaying, indeed.

      • Bill Kapaun says:

        Just EXACTLY what “illicitness” are you talking about.
        Real FACTS! Not some crap you hallucinate.

      • Biker says:

        Says the guy sitting on the couch. I have a 400km (250 miles) bike ride this Saturday, we meet at the Safeway in Lebanon. Feel free to join me. We can count the number of times the coal burners smoke our path. Oh and extra points for getting yelled at. Eugene is particularly notorious for this. I will make sure you and I both stop at every stop sign, even in Walterville at 2am.

  4. HowlingCicada says:

    “””The only no vote on the Rules Committee came from Sen. Brian Boquist, R-Dallas.”””

    It’ll be interesting to see if most No votes are from the Party of Less Intrusive Government. My bet is that’s what will happen. Ironic, considering the state which initiated this. Maybe not so ironic, considering the current polarization.

  5. John Allen says:

    In reply to Prozanki’s ridiculous argument, his logic would dictate that bicyclists should allow a greater separation from the approaching cross-traffic before starting from a dead stop. Also, pedestrians start even slower from a dead stop and they would be in even more danger than bicyclists. Why not allow them to keep going as well?

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      It’s pretty obvious you don’t ride a bike nor have a clue about speed/momentum.
      It takes time to get remounted from a dead stop that can be better spent accelerating and thus clearing the intersection sooner.

  6. J.Jacobson says:

    When mandated liability insurance for bicyclists is the law of the land, then and only then can they be considered part of the traffic pattern, subject to ALL the liabilities and costs. Right now, adults on bikes are pretending to be part of the traffic pattern, but until they’re willing to shoulder the burden their actions may cause, they are unworthy of any laws loosening control.

    • HowlingCicada says:

      Good that your obvious nonsense about political opponents (as in your reply to Craig, above) discredits your more-reasonably-argued comments. It would take me all day to refute the latter.

      P.S. I’m neither Republican nor conservative, and probably would feel out of place in most of Idaho.


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