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I really don't pay close enough attention to know if this was normal or not, but at the hearing Dormsjo gave his introduction as "speaking for the Mayor's Office".

I know, I'm probably reading too much into it, but: why was it necessary to communicate to the committee who he reports to? Certainly they're aware of the shape of the org chart. I can't quite shake the idea that this introduction was meant to clarify that, despite his role as director of DDOT, he was not speaking for the rank-and-file of his agency as much as for his boss.

As to why, other possible reasons might be that a moving cyclist can get out of harm's way, whereas someone straddling a bike is practically helpless. For those who clip in, like me, there's also the fumbling/looking down at the pedals/missing the lock-in that can potentially happen, which can leave one prone or unstable.

It'll die quietly, or I'll eat my words spelled out in French fries.

My guess is passing this provision won't make much difference in safety one way or another given the widespread ad-hoc adoption of Idaho stops by most cyclists already.

However if it does pass then the first time a cyclist, injured in an intersection collision, tries to use this as a defense I bet a huge stink will erupt.

I would trade Idaho stop for eliminating right-on-red any day of the week.

@ Crickey7

That sounds like an inducement to offer all kinds of propositions that prove untrue.

jeffB, one of the things DDOT will be able to/likely to do in the planned bike/ped priority safety zones is eliminate right on red.

Basically stop-as-yield is how pedestrians already treat stop signs, since they aren't required to stop unless someone else has the right-of-way. I don't see where the problem is.

Not to be pedantic, but at an intersection controlled by a stop sign, pedestrians always have right of way. A stop sign is not a traffic control which applies to pedestrians. Stop signs only apply to vehicles operating upon a roadway (which means they don't apply to cyclists operating on the sidewalk, under the duties and rights of pedestrians, either).

This is a hobby-horse of mine because of the rampant mis-application of stop signs where trails cross roads. A stop sign for trail traffic has no meaning: it's a traffic control for vehicles upon a roadway. Plus it contradicts the crosswalk, which is a traffic control that gives right of way to pedestrians. If the intention is to give right of way to vehicles then the correct traffic control is to remove the crosswalk and put warning signs on the trail that cross traffic does not stop.

While I'm ranting, another bee in my bonnet is the "safety patrol" at my kids' elementary school. These are kids who are trained -- in a course sponsored by AAA! -- to help younger kids across the crosswalk. Their training is to hold back all pedestrians until all cars have gone through the stop sign. As you can imagine, this just results in deadlock, as the car traffic is mostly parents, and nobody wants to be that person who blows through the crosswalk in front of the school.

"We teach them to look both ways before they cross the street. We teach them to cross at the crosswalk. Now we are beginning to say follow those rules except if there's no one around, you can run across the street anyway."

Between two intersections that are controlled by traffic signals, it is illegal to cross the street. Everywhere else, it is legal provided that you yield to oncoming traffic. His example is not even based on fact.

@jeffb: you can't use "I only yielded and didn't stop" as a defense from hitting someone, pretty much by definition. In the event of a collision this law is completely immaterial. Essentially all it does is keep police from issuing tickets for behavior that already happens.

@contrarian: that's actually not true at random points in virginia, where the assembly made trail stop signs legal in certain cases. Now it's like biking in DC on the sidewalk, except instead of one invisible law there's potentially one in every jurisdiction you pass through while on a trail.

@Atlas Cesar: "think of the children" is also why it's illegal to enter the crosswalk on the countdown, because kids might be confused. Apparently there are parents who are unable to set rules for their own children, and can only follow what they see other people doing.

@Mike, are you referring DCMR 18-2302.3? Could be wrong here, but DC's special pedestrian signals no longer exhibit the words "WALK", "DON'T WALK", or "WAIT", which is required via 18-2302.1. Unless there is a clarification elsewhere I've missed.

@contrarian: The legal significance of stop signs on trails varies by state. In Maryland, bikes are vehicles, so the stop sign governs bikes, while the painted crosswalk gives the right of way to pedestrians, including people who decide to walk their bike across the road to obtain the right of way.

In Virginia, absent any special-case laws, the stop sign simply means that the cyclist has to stop, after which it has the right of way. While one might quibble with a traffic engineer's preference that bikes stop before proceeding, using stop signs to calm traffic is not unprecedented.

@DE your clipping/unclipping is ptimary reason why injuries went down Idaho. There was a study a few years ago.

It is funny that MPD is opposed to this bill because their actions actually endorse it. Many of the Bicycle patrol officers I have seen or rode with already do the Idaho stop. Unfortunately, many of their patrol car counterparts do the same but that is a different issue...

Yeah, in the working group, MPD said they would only ticket cases where a cyclists was "really bad." When pressed they said that would be failing to yield the right-of-way. So, the de facto Idaho stop.

On the last point, why didn't MPD testify that they are only enforcing an Idaho stop? And why didn't Cheh ask? Seems like a no brainer to change the law to what actually is being enforced.

Perhaps there is a way to get that testimony into the record, which would help immensely in getting that provision through.

@Fong Fong: because they want to leave open the possibility of harassing enforcement?

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