At Grist Ben Adler argues against the Idaho Stop.
Even if the Idaho stop is good for bike riders, it’s not good for cities.
Advocates never put it in these terms, but Idaho stops essentially allow bikers to impose on pedestrians’ green lights and rights-of-way. Bikers would be prohibited from going if a pedestrian is in the intersection, but if a biker gets there first, a pedestrian would have to wait at the corner until the bike passes, possibly running out of time to cross. Do we really want to create a mad dash to be first at an intersection and claim right-of-way? As our population ages, and empty nesters return to cities, this would have a particularly negative effect on the elderly.
That's a novel idea, and one I'd never thought of. Mostly because when I ride I make sure to pass well behind any pedestrian. People may lurch forward quickly, but it's harder to turn around quickly. And I have yet to see a pedestrian backpedal like a linebacker.
Is it a valid point? No. Pedestrians would always have the right-of-way. And even when cyclists screw this up, pedestrian will usually be able to walk out into the intersection even if they saw a cyclist coming. They would not be trapped on the corner, they would just have to not jump in front of the cyclist. It may cause the occasional pedestrian to pause while walking, but when it does, it means the cyclist is doing it wrong.
Idaho stops favor bikes instead human beings on two feet. But pedestrians are the lifeblood of a vibrant city.
Actually it doesn't favor bikes, or even people on bikes over pedestrians because they would still always have the right-of-way, and more so when they explicitly have it such as in this case. And, cyclists, I'm sorry but you're not part of the lifeblood of the city. Perhaps you're bile or gastric juices.
If we were going to exempt one group from these rules, the logical one would be pedestrians, who are the least dangerous group to other users, not people going much faster on metal contraptions.
Perhaps, but that's an argument for allowing jaywalking, not for disallowing the Idaho Stop. This isn't The Taming of the Shrew (wherein pedestrians would be Katherina and cyclists Bianca).
No pedestrian has ever killed a bicyclist by running into him
And his solution is odd
Idaho stops, like jaywalking, should not be legalized; they should be winked at, with the law going unenforced except in truly egregious cases.
But wouldn't a truly egregious case also violate an Idaho Stop law? He asking for the exact same thing here, he just wants people who do what he advocates to be breaking the law. Which is a source of great conflict between cyclists and cyclists and drivers. It's the status quo and it really isn't working.
Insofar as Idaho-stop advocates are complaining that police ticket cyclists for running lights when no one is coming, their complaint is valid.
If only there was a solution. Oh wait, there is.
But officially allowing bikes to steal a pedestrian’s right-of-way would go too far.
It doesn't. In the Idaho Stop, cyclists can not steal anyone's right of way. This seems to be his fundamental confusion.
It might encourage even worse behavior: If most people, using any mode of transportation, will tend to go a little further than the law allows, looser laws would make cyclists more inclined than they are already to blow through reds without stopping and through stop signs without slowing down.
It might, but we don't have to speculate. We can look at Idaho, and reports are that Idaho is no less safe (and possible more safe) than comparable areas. And making this behavior legal, would lesson the claim that cyclists are scofflaws, since they'd be breaking the law much less often.
And enforcement of the Idaho-stop rule would be difficult. Imagine the arguments over whether a pedestrian, car, or other bike was or wasn’t already crossing the street before the biker started doing so.
Again, we don't have to imagine. We can look at Idaho. And it has not been an issue there.
Much of the rest of the article is about how we shouldn't favor peds over cyclists, which again is a misunderstanding of what the law does, and so isn't relevant. Nor is the population density of Idaho as a whole. Boise has some dense areas.