Monday, January 2, 2012

"Idaho stop law" - not just Idaho

Idaho's bicycle stop law is the envy of cyclists pretty much everywhere else.

In essence, the Idaho law requires cyclists to treat a stop sign like a yield sign, and to treat a stop light like a stop sign. From the saddle of a bicycle, the law seems common-sense. Gaining velocity requires a lot more energy than maintaining velocity. (The same is true for a 4000-pound vehicle... but not on the part of the operator, who just has to stomp on the gas.) And who hasn't been victimized by a non-responsive traffic signal?!

(NOTE! The law doesn't require a cyclist to roll cautiously through a stop sign, or to proceed while the light is red. And I'd never suggest to casual/novice riders that they take advantage of the relaxed restrictions. But an experienced, responsible cyclist can do so safely, and also without alienating motorists.)

Well... Idaho is no longer alone. As of 2012, cyclists and motorcyclists in Illinois can proceed through a red light, after waiting a "reasonable" amount of time for it to change.

What's reasonable?

That has yet to be determined, or written into the law. As of now, two minutes is what they're using. If you roll up to a red light, and it hasn't changed for you in two minutes, you can start watching for an opening.

(In real life, I'd start watching for an opening after 15 or 20 seconds, in which I could make a quick right-turn, then a quick U-turn, then another quick right-turn, all legal. But again, I'd not recommend that procedure to an inexperienced cyclist... ya gotta be on your toes. The stakes are high!)

Story HERE.

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