Utah Moving Forward on ‘Idaho Stop’ for Cyclists

Photo:  LAbreform
Photo: LAbreform

Utah cyclists will be able to treat stop signs and stop lights like yield signs if a bill making its way through the Statehouse is successful.

The House Transportation Committee recently passed House Bill 161, which would legalize the so-called “Idaho Stop” in the state, by a 10-1 margin.

The sponsor, Democrat Rep. Carol Moss, told the Salt Lake Tribune that the state should trust cyclists’ judgment.

“They know they will be the losers if they take risks with cars,” she said.

Research has shown bicycle injuries dropped 14 percent after Idaho passed its famous stop law in 1982. It allows cyclists proceed through stop signs and red lights if the intersection is clear, and yield to vehicles if it is not. Despite the success of Idaho’s law, no other states have fully followed suit. South Carolina, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin allow cyclists to move through a red light, but only after waiting a specific amount of time (two minutes in South Carolina’s case!).

And Delaware did pass a law in 2017 that allows cyclists to yield, rather than come to a complete stop, at stop signs.

Supporters of Utah’s HB 161 hope the Idaho Stop will encourage more people to bike, which would also improve the state’s poor air quality. Utah is an idiosyncratic state and has been a leader in sustainable transportation in some respects.

If you need a primer on the benefits of the Idaho Stop, this video is hard to beat.

Correction: The article originally misidentified Rep. Carol Moss’ party affiliation.

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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 […]