Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Proposal would change rules for bicyclists at stop signs

The local newspaper reports:
SAN FRANCISCO (Map, News) - Bicyclists, who often raise the ire of drivers and pedestrians for their loose interpretation of traffic laws, could be allowed to roll through stop signs and travel through red lights after halting.

The “stop and roll” proposal is patterned after a state law in Idaho in which bicyclists are legally able to treat stop signs as yield signs, and interpret red stoplights as stop signs. Currently, California bicyclists must stop and put one foot on the ground at stop signs, and follow the same stoplight rules as drivers. ...

Bicyclists said they were in favor of the idea, especially because it is difficult to start pedaling from a dead stop and stoplights occasionally do not recognize bikers because of their size.

“Bicyclists are already perceived as outlaws who never stop at stop signs,” said Andy Thornley, program director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, who added that bicyclists see drivers as aggressive and pushy.
About a month ago, I was riding my bicycle and had to make a left turn at a stop light. There was a local cop who stopped on the shoulder and watching the intersection. A left turn requires a left turn arrow, and I happened to know that the intersection has a car detector in the left turn lane. It was not going to turn green for me. It was a lightly-travelled intersection, and I could have waited as long as 20 minutes for a car to enter the left turn lane and trigger the green left arrow.

So I just did a stop and roll, and the cop did not say anything. It would be nice if the bicycle stop and roll were actually recognized in the Vehicle Code, because it is a practical necessity.

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