Aspen, Colorado, to Vote on “Idaho Stop”

Almost exactly 30 years ago, the state of Idaho enacted a traffic rule that would come to be known nationally as the “Idaho Stop,” allowing cyclists to treat stop signs like yield signs. In three decades as the law of the land, the Idaho Stop has a fine safety record.

While the same rule has been debated and proposed in countless other places, it has been slow to spread. That could change, though, in Aspen, Colorado, which is preparing for a vote on the issue, reports Hunter Montgomery at Network blog Living in the Bike Lane:

The Aspen Times reports that city officials have determined that it is safer for bicycle riders to reduce speed, look left and right, and roll through an intersection with improved safety outcomes. They cite two main reasons. Firstly, the inertia of a bicycle requires greater effort and control to bring to a complete stop – possibly leading to a loss of control. Secondly, a bicycle approaching a STOP sign creates anxiety in motorists as they are not always certain how the rider will behave.

Idaho implemented this STOP-as-Yield law 30 years ago and at least one (1) study determined that it has resulted in improved safety outcomes for bicycle riders and pedestrians. With motorists and cyclists fully aware of the requirements in Idaho, few can argue that this change has been anything but hugely successful.

The Aspen City outcome is keenly anticipated for many reasons. Not least of which is that motorists observe bicycle riders roll through STOP signs 90% of the time anyway. Plus, the law as it applies to bicycles is simply not enforced by the police; with no tickets issued for these moving violations.

Elsewhere on the Network today: The Fort Wayne Downtown Insider Blog reports that this Indiana city is preparing to double parking rates, and consider a broad range of modest reforms. Human Transit says we should all stop using the term “congestion pricing” because it sounds so punitive. And Stop and Move writes that officials in Fresno, California, are planning to remove a pedestrian mall to make way for drivers.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Bike, Ped Improvements Part of Portland’s Stimulus Plan

|
A couple of hopeful pieces of news from the Pacific Northwest, courtesy of Streetsblog Network member Bike Portland. First off, their fair city has put some exciting bike/ped improvements in its stimulus package request, including the design and construction of a bike-and-pedestrian-only bridge, as well as Portland’s first-ever cycle track. The plans call for starting […]

Refereeing the Raging Debate Over the “Specialness” of Cyclists

|
There’s a tussle going on right now about how cyclists should ride on city streets. Yesterday’s Streetsblog Network post took a snapshot of this debate, excerpting the WashCycle’s response to a Sarah Goodyear piece in Atlantic Cities. Sarah wrote that cycling is no longer a mode for daredevils and mavericks weaving through traffic. Some cities now […]

Savannah Weighs Bike Ban in Beloved City Park

|
Talk about a reductive view of safety. After a couple of unusual incidents where bicyclists collided with pedestrians in Savannah’s 30-acre Forsyth Park, the city is now considering outlawing cycling in the park. Savannah Bicycle Campaign says that will force cyclists onto nearby streets where traffic moves at deadly speeds, and the city has no plan to redesign them: A proposed […]

How You Can Tell Your City Doesn’t Care About Pedestrians

|
If you live in a town that doesn’t consider pedestrian safety a very high priority, the signs are probably pretty obvious if you spend any time walking. James Sinclair feels like he’s being beat over the head with signs — sometimes actual, literal signs — in the Fresno suburb of Clovis, California. He writes on Stop […]