A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

The ‘Idaho stop’ stalls in state Senate

Written May 31st, 2019 by Hasso Hering

SB 998 as amended would change the law on bicyclists at stop signs. But it’s stuck in Senate Rules.

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)

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21 responses to “The ‘Idaho stop’ stalls in state Senate”

  1. J. Jacobson says:

    That a well-respected, renowned veteran of the area media landscape would openly admit to law-breaking is a reflection of how far along the road to Gomorrah this nation has come. It is shocking enough that some Oregonians considered borrowing the idea from Idaho, a true pariah State.

    • HowlingCicada says:

      Would you suggest we read “Slouching Towards Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline” by Robert Bork?

      • J. Jacobson says:

        The Conservatives own the White House, the Senate and control of the Supreme Court. I’m afraid the political right owns this Push to Gomorrah!

  2. Country Boy says:

    So says the true “Progressive” role model (and no doubt “Greenie”) – who always obeys every traffic law (even the speed limit on the freeway in the middle of the night or taking a bleeding child to the ER in the wee hours). No common sense and no awareness of reality. And many folks see Idaho as a model state, unlike Oregon – commonly viewed as the home of kooks and potheads.

    • J. Jacobson says:

      Hey….wait a moment. I’m not the Joe Arpaio acolyte the article’s author has demonstrated himself to be over all the decades I followed his Editorials in the Democrat Herald. That Editor was a gung-ho Law ‘n Order supporter. He is the one who admitted to wrongdoing in print and yet you accuse me of perfidy!

      As to Idaho, so long as I don’t have to go anywhere near Spudville, that will suffice. Most of Northern Idaho is populated by retired Los Angeles police/detectives, many of whom were involved in the OJ Simpson debacle. Let’s just say that driving through Sandpoint is made a great deal easier or more difficult depending on which racial group you fall into.

      • Bill Kapaun says:

        And just who do you think kicked Richard Butler (who was from California) & his Aryan nations out of Idaho?
        It wasn’t the libs or tourists.

        Just HOW MANY “cops from California”?
        There are far more Californians that have moved there that aren’t retired law enforcement.
        Your ignorance knows no bounds.

  3. hj.anony1 says:

    In reality it got stopped because of limited time in the work session. The GOPee’rs cheap get out of town tactics combined with juvenile stall actions in the face of a super majority caused a slow down in governance.


    • J. Jacobson says:

      The Oregon GOP learned that trick from Stitch McConnell… when one is a losing loser, one takes one’s ball and runs away to prevent play from happening.

      • Rich Kellum says:

        You should get your facts straight, the run out of town happened by Democrats in 2000 or there about, when Republicans had the house and were charged with gerrymandering, dems left the “state” to run out the clock so the Democrat (Bill Bradbury) could draw the lines so Dems could have an advantage… I do not know who the first folks to use the tactic, ;but it happened a long time ago by Democrats in Texas….

        • J. Jacobson says:

          With the exception of Austin, Democrats in Texas make GOP in Oregon look like tree-hugging boneheads.

  4. Craig says:

    Has anyone even bothered to ask how the law works in Idaho? How many more bicyclist were hit since the new law has taken affect? Is there more? Less? Have less tickets been issued to bicyclist?

    Seems simple enough, unless you just don’t like bicycles.

    To all the car drivers I delayed by 20 seconds, because I was in your lane. Screw you. Those little bikes with arrows, means I am supposed to be there. And to the idiot that can only do 20 through little downtown Albany, please move over your wreaking my PR.

    I to my friend who was hit head on May 4th by a distracted driver. He was stopped at the intersection of Crawfordsville and OR228. A driver at a high rate of speed (50 foot skid marks gave him away) tried to cut the corner like Mario Andretti. Get well soon friend.

    The driver was charged with Reckless Driving and Assault II and RELEASED. The biker was SITTING like a target at a stop sign. My friend had emergency knee surgery was in the hospital for a week and will be visiting a dentist for a long time. He is 68. It just doesn’t seem fair.

  5. thomas cordier says:

    much to do about nothing

    • J. Jacobson says:

      If a simple matter, such as Hasso Hering openly admitting to violating the sacredness that are our traffic laws, can be shined-on as “boys will be boys,” then this once great nation is definitely on the skids.

      • Hasso Hering says:

        Ok, I think this string of comments has played itself out. Unless there’s a new idea concerning bikes in traffic — and I mean new — this comment window is closed.

  6. Jennifer Stuart says:

    Clearly most of these comments are written by non-cyclists (except for Craig and possibly Thomas Cordier)!

  7. Cheryl P says:

    “a small symbolic step to encourage more fuel-saving transportation by bike in Albany and other Oregon towns”

    How exactly does not stopping at a STOP sign encourage more people to ride their bikes?

    • Hasso Hering says:

      How? Please reread the last sentence?

      • Cheryl P says:

        Who says you have to get OFF your bike at a Stop sign? All you need to do is apply the brakes, set one foot on the ground when you come to a stop, look both ways, then pick your foot back up and go. It’s that simple.

  8. J. Jacobson says:

    Perhaps a Self-imposed User Fee, paid by bicyclists, administered by bicyclists in order to lobby Oregon House/Senate members in advance of the rapidly-approaching 2021 Legislative Session. Bicyclists must, like all other constituencies, learn how to grease the wheels in Salem.


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