All you Albany drivers who recoiled at the prospect of an Idaho stop law for bicyclists, you can relax. The bill is dead. Or at least it appears that way.
Senate Bill 998, as amended and endorsed on April 8 by four Democrats and two Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee, would allow cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs when there is no traffic to the contrary. It would also create new offenses for failing to yield the right of way. It’s named after Idaho, where a similar law has worked for decades.
But instead of sending the bill to the floor as the committee voted to do, the Senate president derailed it to a dead-end siding. He ordered it sent to the Senate Rules Committee, which has taken no action on it, or scheduled any. (My emailed inquiries to the bill’s sponsor and the chair of Senate Rules got no response.)
There’s seemingly no time left for the bill to see action in the Senate and then go through the normal process in the House. So we can forget about making this law change, which would be a small symbolic step to encourage more fuel-saving transportation by bike in Albany and other Oregon towns.
Does it make any practical difference? Not much, probably. Other than the occasional kamikaze, most people on bikes already do what the bill would allow. We slow down at intersections, check for traffic left and right, and then pedal on if it’s clear, whether there’s a stop sign or not.
On streets with a stop sign every other block, like in parts of Albany, if you had to get off the bike at every other corner you’d never get anywhere and might as well take the car. (hh)