Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Idaho stop

For the record, I like Phyllis Kahn.  Not due to any legislative acumen or anything like that, but purely based on entertainment value.  She drives most of the local columnists and other folks who are in the know, politically, utterly batty.  Mainly because she seems to be utterly batty.  But watching people who care about such things get so worked into a tizzy over Phyllis' every goofy action is high entertainment indeed.
Imagine my surprise when I found that Phyllis has done something I agree with, and wholeheartedly support!  Phyllis, working with Jim Carlson, wants to make it legal for bikes to treat stop signs like yield signs, and stop lights like stop signs.  A similar law is currently in place in Idaho and from all accounts works just fine.  When I visited Boise last summer I saw tons of bikes.  I wasn't in Boise long enough to form a truly informed opinion, but there didn't seem to be a lot of traffic conflicts between bikes and cars.  Had I ridden there I might have felt different. 
I've long felt that the rules of the road are currently written exclusively with cars in mind, and then as an afterthought somebody tacked on a clause that says "Oh yeah, this applies to bikes too."  The reality is that bikes and cars are different types of vehicles and while most of the driving statutes work for both, not all do.  And through pure and simple oversight, the playing field is tilted in the favor of cars.  So this simple change would be a big win for the Minnesota cycling community.  Throw in a nice Vulnerable Road Users ruling and this might be a dang nice place to ride.  Not that it's not pretty good already.
Oh, the Strib has an online poll asking whether you think this is a good idea or not:
I'll give you a hint:  It's a good idea.  At the time of this writing, people not in favor of the change were leading 61% to 38%.  Vote early, vote often.

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Anonymous said...

Actually, at the time of your post, the majority in poll don't like the idea: 38% for, 61% against.

Hey, at least we agree that Kahn is utterly batty

KM said...

That's my approach now. My only concern is that this will further polarize cyclists from drivers.

Icon O. Classt said...

"Is it a good idea to OK bikers running stop signs in certain circumstances?"

Gotta love the totally unbiased choice of words--straight out of the Fox News rule book. "Running stop signs", of course, conjures up visions of cyclisst flying blindly through red lights without slowing or looking.

Either way, I'm doing's one of the advantages everyone can have if they get out of their cars and onto bikes. Call it an incentive.

shishi said...

Icon you are so right. I thought the law means you treat stop signs as yield signs and stop lights as stop signs. That is clearly much different than "running" a stop sign.

rigtenzin said...

It would be a wonderful new law, because it would reflect reality. I notice most cars run stop signs also. The drivers would disagree, but a rolling stop is not a stop at all.

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