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Bicyclists are nothing but a bunch of law breakers... Would be what by Brother in law and several coworkers would say. I enjoy me some Idaho stops and like to remind motorists how much more they break the law.

Bicyclists can't be bothered to follow the law, what a story. Next up on the news at ten the sky is blue.

"One can posit that when cyclists sense there are no immediate safety risks, their desire to maintain forward momentum and conserve energy almost always exceeds their desire to strictly adhere to traffic laws."

How come they can call Idaho stoppers lazy, but I can't? Better vocabulary.

Words matter, and lazy has a negative connotation to it, no? It's like the difference between "cheap" and "frugal" or "stingy" and "thrifty". There's a judgement there. Frankly, I think calling anyone who bikes to work "lazy" shows a lack of understanding of either biking to work or the word "lazy."

I will find a word with a less negative connotation. Torpid, dilatory and languorous all work.

Great, but does common sense really need to be codified, quantified, and made subject to litigation in this and so many other areas? Yeah, OK, I know the answer.

My concern with "making the law reflect reality" is that we would make it completely legal for drivers to kill cyclists.

Torpid, dilatory and languorous all work.

Not really. Look if you want to be offensive, that's your right. Unproductive, but still your right.

A few thoughts:

1. Really its time to just try it out as a pilot*. Measure collisions before and after and then make a decision. God forbid we figure out a way to make cycling more convenient and safe without having to do anything than rewrite a few sentences in the law.

2. I get that this is a bike forum but it ought to be troubling to CTA and other DOTs that bicycling is competitive with transit (or just plain faster) for trips even the longer ones.

*There's plenty of extant evidence that the Idaho stop is safe but more data won't hurt if only to stop the "it won't work in X" arguments.

Yeah, I don't think "everybody does it" is a sufficient argument for the Idaho Stop. That's how you get to the 85% rule for setting speed limits.

But, there is a wisdom of crowds argument that, when/if coupled with other data showing greater or equivalent safety, could make a strong case more compelling.

What's really new here is a measure of what percentage of cyclists are complying with the idea of the Idaho Stop, which pushes back on the notion that we're all lawbreaking lunatics.

Crickey, I do generally respect your gruff but lovable online persona, but you're all over the map on the Idaho stop, especially if I remember correctly that you reported that you received a ticket for one.

It's not that a cyclist is lazy or torpid or anything else. It's just impractical to expect an entire class of people to do a full, foot-down complete stop at every 4-way stop sign in town if no one is there to yield the right-of-way to. It is never going to happen. I see police on bikes do Idaho stops. Pretty much anyone who gets on a bike will do an Idaho stop at some point. And when a large percentage of motorists do the same thing with rolling stops, it's bordering on hypocritical for motorists to object to it.

The focus really needs to be on yielding the right-of-way, which is something all modes should be much better at. I would fully support tickets for every single cyclist who blows through and takes another user's right-of-way, as I would for motorists and even jaywalkers (not all jaywalkers, but those who actually take someone else's right-of-way.)

Lovable? Now that hurts.

Never tickets, one written warning for jumping a light, one oral for same and one oral for speeding (I'm kind of proud of that one).

If the criteria is it's an Idaho Stop if it's not a full stop at a stop sign, then you're going to get a pretty high, but I would say, misleading number. Notwithstanding what the law says, I think most people have an understanding that substantial compliance is the real target, and that's 5 mph or less. Given my previously stated position that there are no circumstances unique to bicycles that warrant special treatment in the form of dispensation from generally applicable traffic control devices, what you see here is that as long as the number of vehicles so permitted is low, it doesn't have much safety or flow impact (noting that it has at least some flow impact, as I see every single day). If you allowed only yellow 2-door cars, for example, to do Idaho Stops, you'd get similar results.

As to efficiency, I ride on routes with lights for the most part. I'd estimate perhaps a 5% time penalty, which all road users of course share more or less in the same ratio along the same route.

As always, I would love for a survey like this to be done with drivers. What percent of drivers come to a complete stop when there is no one else at the intersection versus slowing down to 5 mph then proceeding?

I stand correctified.

WRT 5 mph or less, that would be an Idaho stop for a bike or a rolling stop for a car, which would both be violations. We have seen enforcement actions for not putting a foot down.

I find Figure 3 and the associated description in the study to be somewhat confusing (or perhaps misleading?).

Note that the columns don't add up to 100%. That's because the columns include the percentage of cyclists who either obeyed the stop sign or traffic light and those who did an Idaho Stop, but not those who did neither. But in the no-cross-traffic situation at a stop sign, that doesn't make sense. The study says that at those intersections, 55% of cyclists went through the intersection without stopping or slowing down to yield if necessary. But if there is no cross traffic, there is no one to yield to and thus no need to slow down. Should that 55% be counted in with the Idaho stoppers?

Notwithstanding what the law says, I think most people have an understanding that substantial compliance is the real target, and that's 5 mph or less.

I would argue that substantial compliance is yielding to everyone who has right-of-way. The point of stopping isn't to stop, it's to signal to anyone else in the intersection that you're going to stop so they can go.

I took those 55% to be cyclists who didn't even slow down or kept peddling right up to the stop sign.

"Notwithstanding what the law says, I think most people have an understanding that substantial compliance is the real target, and that's 5 mph or less."

City of Alexandria they do not ticket for cyclists going at "walking speed" which I take to mean 3MPH or less. Given that there are joggers who run across the street at 6MPH (or higher?) I think a 6MPH standard might be reasonable. Though in all likelihood a higher speed would add to safety. But then we are arguing the details of the Idaho stop, not whether or not it is a good idea.

"Given my previously stated position that there are no circumstances unique to bicycles that warrant special treatment "

Instead of spending your time scolding cyclists, you should probably help educate the many pedestrians who jaywalk in front of moving bikes, in a way they never would in front of moving cars. They appear to not agree with you. I assume that they think cyclists present a lesser threat, because cyclists are slower, lighter, and more maneuverable. The lighter is a physics thing, something about mass and force I guess, but you probably get the physics better than I do. If those pedestrians are wrong, it would seem urgent to tell them so.

Maybe I missed something, but how do jaywalking pedestrians justify Idaho Stop? Sure, they're a scourge. I have one intersection on my route in that I call the "Cat Chow Corner" because I start ringing my bell a half block away to alert the stream of jaywalkers that I'm coming, only to have them flock across the bike lane in seemingly greater numbers.

I took those 55% to be cyclists who didn't even slow down or kept peddling right up to the stop sign.

I agree, I took it that way too. So my question is, if you're approaching a stop sign with the intent of doing it Idaho style, and you see that there is no cross traffic, why would you slow down? If there is no cross traffic you would just ride through. So I'm wondering if those 55% should be counted in the Idaho group. That would change the percentages to 98% Idaho stoppers and 2% legal stoppers.

"how do jaywalking pedestrians justify Idaho Stop"

They suggest that the people who believe that bicycles are fundamentally different from cars, due to physics and other factors, are not limited to cyclists, cycling advocates, or Idaho Stop advocates. Not all jaywalkers, but spefically that subset who will jaywalk in front of a bike but not a car (I drive as well as ride, and my anecdotal evidence strongly suggests that far more people will jaywalk right in front of a bike than a car)

That of course does not by itself justify the Idaho stop (the benefits of the Idaho stop, in particular disarming the scofflaw meme) do that. This is a response to one particular argument against the Idaho stop, which is the claim that there is nothing different about bikes and cars.

It also does suggest that if it is true (which I do not believe) that there is nothing differnt, then these jaywalkers are incorrect, and it is urgent that they be educated. Not about the dangers of jaywalking in general, but specifically about how bikes are just as dangerous as cars. That is a policy issue, one that you should devote yourself to, if you actually believe that bikes are the same as cars.

However I think you do not do that advocacy, not because you lack concern for pedestrians, but because you know as well as I do that bikes are NOT the same as cars - in addition to claimed better visibility, they are lighter, more maneuverable, stop faster, and are not capable of as high speeds. Ergo those peds who are more likely to jaywalk in front of bikes more than cars, are completely rational. But that would mean acknowledging that the differences MIGHT mean that Idaho stops for bikes, but not cars, would make sense.

So my question is, if you're approaching a stop sign with the intent of doing it Idaho style, and you see that there is no cross traffic, why would you slow down?

Well, an Idaho Stop means treating the stop sign like a yield sign. What does the law in Illinois (or DC) say about how to behave when approaching a yield sign?

I could see the rationale for counting someone who doesn't even slow down not as someone intending to do an Idaho stop but rather someone intending to blow through.

Personally, I would still slow down just to be sure no one was actually coming. Even though visibility is better on a bike than in a car, sightlines can still be compromised, and making a mistake could be bad (more so for two-way stops than four-ways).

ETA, because to yield is to prepare to stop, and part of preparing to stop is to slow down.

DE and Washcycle

Of course that depends on how fast you are riding - unlike drivers, many less fit cyclists, especially on uphills, go at little above a jogging pace. If I am going uphill at 6MPH, I think I could continue at the same pace and call it a proper Idaho, though it would not be possible for a bystander to realize that is what I was doing.

And I think that's the thing for this study. The intent of the rider is likely difficult to discern.

From the Maryland vehicle code (because I can find it more quickly):
(1) Approach the intersection with caution;

(2) Yield the right-of-way to any other vehicle approaching on the other highway; and

(3) If necessary, stop in order to yield this right-of-way.

The word "slow" isn't in there. What the study is saying by counting all the non-slow-down bikes as not having done an Idaho stop, is that all the people who didn't slow down would have gone through just the same if there was cross traffic present. That defies logic (so many people are that reckless?), and it's contrary to the study's own findings (and I should have noticed this before!).

In no cross-traffic situations, 55% of cyclists were said to not have stopped or not to have slowed down (and thus did not do an Idaho stop). But in the cross-traffic-is-present situation, that percentage shrank to 25% of cyclists. Or put the other way, the percentage of cyclists who either stopped legally or did an Idaho stop grew from 45% when there is no cross traffic to 75% when there is cross traffic. That means a large number of cyclists who were counted as not Idaho stopping actually were, because they would have stopped or yielded if there had been cross traffic present.

Well, you've convinced me. You should contact the study's authors.

It's good logic, but still think it's hard to measure what a cyclist might have intended. I suppose the answer would be to adjust it statistically after the fact, although I'm no statistician so don't know how difficult that would be.

Personally, I think an Idaho stop should be fine for CARS too. Its what they already do when there is not a cop around

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