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I applaud you for establishing this. That being said, it is very clear to me that it is written from a "pro" point of view. The pros are very definative statements, while the cons are more indecisive. This pro: "By allowing cyclist to get in front of traffic, they become more visible, and in so doing, more safe." is non-sequitor to me. The Idaho Stop Law as I understand it does not allow filtering to the front of a line to get in front and I would argue that doing so is not safe in general, because it makes a cyclist unpredictable and open to right hooks. I could also argue that being in the rear makes cyclists safer since there are fewer cars to hit them. I am a proponent, but I also have my eyes wide open to the potential consequenses.

"criminalizes normal cycling behavior," - I suggest a better (or more legalistic, anyway) wording would be "reasonable" rather than "normal."

I think that tit seems reasonably (haha) balanced, by the way. For example, you did point out that some cyclists were among those who opposed the original law in Idaho.

I'm don't know if the "get ahead of traffic" aspect was considered by folks in Idaho since this suggests traffic, which mostly is absent in that state, but it certainly is a possible benefit in many locales where cyclists are channeled to the front of the line.

Thanks for doing that!


Posted it on BikeForums so you can get more than just local input.

Brad, thanks for your comments.

I'll look at ways to make the statements better (most of them are quoted). I'll point out that my goal with the pro and con sides was to list every argument I heard/read, not to make a value judgement on how valid that position was. So, for example, both sides argue that their way is safer. Obviously that's not possible, but I've listed them to be complete.

But on the point of whether or not getting in front of traffic is an advantage, I think it is. The Idaho stop does not allow for filtering, but by letting a cyclist proceed when cars are stopped it does let cyclists move into the intersection first and get ahead of traffic. It is similar to what a leading pedestrian interval does. Or a bike box. And while you could argue that being in the rear is safer, that does not seem to be the prevailing opinion now as engineers are moving towards bike boxes, LPI, stop-as-yield etc...Even if being in the rear is safer, how does one do that when cars come to the intersection after you? Do you move back behind them?

Michael n, I think "normal," as in what is most often done, is a matter of fact. Whereas "reasonable" is more a matter of opinion.

Nice job on the page. One thing I keep wondering about is data on accidents. The only reference in the article is one to an assertion that it would reduce accidents.

i'm sure some university or City has compiled data on whether passage of the law is correlated with a decrease or increase in accidents at intersections.

Anyone know of any such data. I've never found it, but I haven't looked that hard.

I didn't see the text of the law anywhere cited in the article. I might try to add it when I have some free time. Until then, anyone wanting to read the actual law's text might want to visit http://itd.idaho.gov/bike_ped/Idaho_Vehicle_Code_for_Bikes.pdf

There was one unpublished study done by a grad student at Berkeley. He compared Boise's accident rate before and after the law to that of Sacramento's [Two similar sized, western state capitols] and found that Boise's improved more than Sacramento's did. For what that's worth.

Brad: if someone wants a more "con" perspective, they CAN edit the page (it being the point of Wikipedia)

I have no problem with the phrase "criminalizing normal behavior" since it is normal behavior in most places other than downtown DC. And I like the analogy to the recent debate on decriminalization of marijuana in DC. The analogy is apt since both activities are presumed by others to be detrimental but to the user is a logical action. Now it is true that the bike law is not disproportionately affecting low income residents, but the bike law does tend to discriminate against a minority of our society.

Take the analogy if it works for you.

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