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Traffic Optimization: Cyclists Should Roll Past Stop Signs, Pause At Red Lights

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the if-they-could-just-stop-texting-i'd-be-happy dept.

Transportation 490

Lasrick writes: "Joseph Stromberg at Vox makes a good case for changing traffic rules for bicyclists so that the 'Idaho stop' is legal. The Idaho stop allows cyclists to treat stop signs as yields and red lights as stop signs, and has created a safer ride for both cyclists and pedestrians. 'Public health researcher Jason Meggs found that after Idaho started allowing bikers to do this in 1982, injuries resulting from bicycle accidents dropped. When he compared recent census data from Boise to Bakersfield and Sacramento, California — relatively similar-sized cities with comparable percentages of bikers, topographies, precipitation patterns, and street layouts — he found that Boise had 30.5 percent fewer accidents per bike commuter than Sacramento and 150 percent fewer than Bakersfield.' Oregon was considering a similar law in 2009, and they made a nice video illustrating the Idaho Stop that is embedded in this article."

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490 comments

Negative accidents (4, Insightful)

Muros (1167213) | about 3 months ago | (#46971141)

"Boise... 150 percent fewer than Bakersfield." How'd they manage that?

Re:Negative accidents (1, Funny)

bobthesungeek76036 (2697689) | about 3 months ago | (#46971145)

"Boise... 150 percent fewer than Bakersfield." How'd they manage that?

"New Math" silly... ;)

Blue Math, 150% pure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46971475)

Newborns and immigrants count towards negative biking accidents.

Re:Negative accidents (5, Informative)

Sqr(twg) (2126054) | about 3 months ago | (#46971201)

Clicking through to the actual study, I found this quote: "Boise was 150%-252% safer (2.05-2.52 times safer)." Looks 150% correct to me.

damn units (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46971235)

Clicking through to the actual study, I found this quote: "Boise was 150%-252% safer (2.05-2.52 times safer)." Looks 150% correct to me.

safer != fewer. 150% safer would be 1.5x safer which I buy. 150% fewer would be 1.5x fewer which is impossible.

Re:Negative accidents (2)

pslytely psycho (1699190) | about 3 months ago | (#46971301)

Boise should be safer. You don't ride in 20 degree F weather. The riding season is much shorter.

Re: Negative accidents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46971329)

Yes I do. I ride every work day no matter what the weather is. Even if there is 20 cm snow on the road.

Re:Negative accidents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46971439)

You obviousy are not Canadian.

Re:Negative accidents (1)

pslytely psycho (1699190) | about 3 months ago | (#46971495)

You're correct, I should of stated "most people don't ride when it's 20 degrees F."

I made an incorrect blanket statement, as most such blanket statements tend to be.

But I do live right below you, In Washington State. So while we don't get as much, we do get our share of winter. (and about every 10 years, much more than our share....)

Re:Negative accidents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46971595)

I should of stated

Do you of any idea how annoying that is?

Re:Negative accidents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46971555)

Actually 150% is indeed correct as it is not ambiguous in this particular use and this ambiguity was what GP tried to address. If somebody says 'A is X% bigger than B' then it usually is ambiguous and thus a problem because X% is a relative value to something and in the statement it is not clear what this 'something' is: A or B. It does not disturb us this much when % value is 10% because it just tells us that A is smaller than B by some significant but not very big value. That is wrong however as statements:

  1. A = 90%B
  2. 110%A = B

are not the same although "A is 10% smaller than B" in both cases. If we were to present first example above with % values relative to A not B, we would end up with A=90%B -> 10/9*A=B -> 111,1%A = B Now as an exercise for the reader - how big the absolute difference between both values of A above is in %% relative to each of: A, B, difference between A and B in first example, difference between A and B in second example, difference between differences from first and second example. Are these percentages the same? Now switch your calculator from 'programmer' mode into anything else that has enough decimal places and answer the question again.

For example in TFA where 150% was used that was not ambiguous at least if one assumes that authors of study and TFA were not complete morons as the number of accidents clearly cannot go below zero so ambiguity is gone in this particular case and I guess by induction in all others too.That is of course an accident. Common use of %% is wrong and if I recall my school times correctly that is not a wonder. Our brains were meant to use simple arithmetic not %% as these were not useful on savannahs the primitive humans were searching for food. Now some idiot developed %% and all use them without much thinking. What is really bad is that judging on responses here /.ers have no f. clue either.

Re:Negative accidents (1)

polar red (215081) | about 3 months ago | (#46971359)

weird things with hearses ?

Re:Negative accidents (2)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 3 months ago | (#46971493)

Why do they call it the "Idaho stop". Is it because nobody really ever cares to stop in a place like Idaho?

Re:Negative accidents (3, Informative)

pslytely psycho (1699190) | about 3 months ago | (#46971525)

Growing up in Washington, we always called a rolling stop a California stop. On the premise that California drivers treated stop signs and speed limits as 'suggestions.' (Washington drivers have always been just as guilty, perhaps we called it that to deflect blame?)
  I never heard of an Idaho stop before this article. And I live 30 miles from the Idaho border.

Re:Negative accidents (2)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about 3 months ago | (#46971501)

"Boise... 150 percent fewer than Bakersfield." How'd they manage that?

Uh, isn't it obvious? This policy change was SO freakin' good that it caused victims of previous accidents to be spontaneously healed and to rise from the dead!

So a bicyclist is safer..... (1, Insightful)

pslytely psycho (1699190) | about 3 months ago | (#46971143)

.....rolling through a stop sign in front of my car than if he stopped.....
Sure, that makes perfect sense.
No more drugs for you.

Re:So a bicyclist is safer..... (1)

sjames (1099) | about 3 months ago | (#46971163)

Somebody didn't RTFA>

Re:So a bicyclist is safer..... (2)

pslytely psycho (1699190) | about 3 months ago | (#46971199)

Oh, I read the article. I just don't see treating a stop as a yield is a safe idea. I am a professional driver trainer, so perhaps my opinion is clouded as to their reasoning. And I think it will open a big can of legal worms as an aside.
Also the cities are not comparable, which in my opinion, invalidates the data.
Idaho is cold in the winter, (I live in Washington State, right next door.) Bakersfield and Sacramento are not.
This of course, is just my opinion.

stopping vs yielding (5, Interesting)

Firethorn (177587) | about 3 months ago | (#46971337)

So, have you ridden a bicycle in a commuting type situation? I've read before that converting many stop signs to yield signs, even for cars, would save all sorts of energy without significant increases in accidents.

With a bicycle it's all about energy conservation. When I'm biking it takes me significantly longer to get up to speed, and my top speed is still well below that of the vast, vast majority of cars.

As such, I typically have much longer to assess an intersection before I reach it, my stopping distance is extremely short, but if you make me stop it extends the time I'll be in the intersection when I DO cross significantly. If I'm allowed to use a stop sign as a yield, I'll attempt to time my passage such that I'll cross near my maximum speed, clearing the intersection expediently. Being through quicker reduces the chances I'll be involved in an accident there.

As a bonus, this way I'm less in driver's way, making me less likely to piss them off.

Stopping and thinking (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46971409)

"When I'm biking it takes me significantly longer to get up to speed, and my top speed is still well below that of the vast, vast majority of cars."

Not if I drive you over because you deliberatly cut in front of me. I see that happening frequently.

"I'll attempt to time my passage such that I'll cross near my maximum speed"

And likely fail.

Also its not about energy conservation -its about you not being bothered to follow the traffic law.

Re:stopping vs yielding (5, Interesting)

pslytely psycho (1699190) | about 3 months ago | (#46971447)

Yes, when I lived in Santa Clara, I did.

As a driving instructor, I have a hard time with 'treating a stop sign as yield," and yes, I know that colors my opinion.

Also, I think a lot of my opinion springs from the gal I hit last summer who slowed for a stop sign and decided (in her words to the cop) "I thought I could make it."
Fortunately I slammed my brakes and the impact was at a relatively slow speed, so no injuries.

I realize the 'idea' is to proceed 'only when clear.' Of course you only notice the stupid ones, not the ones who do it safely.

Most likely, I've simply entered the 'old fogey set in his ways period of life......'

Re:So a bicyclist is safer..... (5, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | about 3 months ago | (#46971371)

" perhaps my opinion is clouded as to their reasoning"

Their reasoning is that cyclists don't obey the rules anyway, so why not legalize the behavior so they have one more way to bitch about cars not yielding to them.

Seriously, I live near a university town, and cyclists are terrible about obeying traffic laws, they'll glide through stop signs, ride the sidewalks when convenient, etc. Then they'll turn around and complain that cars don't treat them as equals on the roadway. Well, you can't have it both ways, if you want to use the right-of-way, you need to follow the same rules as everyone else. I have no sympathy for the self-righteous assholes. (not all, but a very large and visible number behave that way)

If it's safe for a bike to glide through stopsigns or treat all stoplights as signs, then it's safe for motor vehicles to do the same. In fact, it's recognized that this is sometimes the case - that's why there are blinking red lights. There's no reason to give bikes any special treatment.

Re:So a bicyclist is safer..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46971523)

blinking red lights = stop
You mean blinking yellow lights = slow/yield

Re:So a bicyclist is safer..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46971539)

I'll not disclose which metro area I live in, but I drive an old pick up and have gleefully hit 3 cyclists in the last year. Arrogant kids think they can ride recklessly, well if you swerve in front of me, you're going to get hit just like a car would.

Re:So a bicyclist is safer..... (-1, Troll)

Nehmo (757404) | about 3 months ago | (#46971545)

To those cagers who blame cyclists for ignoring laws, I point out in Kansas, a motor vehicle is supposed to give a bike 3 feet of clearance. They don't, and the law is never enforced.

Now, to address your post: The reason bikes should have more latitude than cars or trucks is that bikes, considering their smaller mass and lower power, are much less likely to cause injury to another road user. Bikes can safely ignore many traffic laws meant for cars and trucks.

This is an already worn subject, you know.

Re:So a bicyclist is safer..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46971579)

You're one of the assholes the GP was talking about.

Re:So a bicyclist is safer..... (0)

quantaman (517394) | about 3 months ago | (#46971587)

" perhaps my opinion is clouded as to their reasoning"

Their reasoning is that cyclists don't obey the rules anyway, so why not legalize the behavior so they have one more way to bitch about cars not yielding to them.

Seriously, I live near a university town, and cyclists are terrible about obeying traffic laws, they'll glide through stop signs, ride the sidewalks when convenient, etc. Then they'll turn around and complain that cars don't treat them as equals on the roadway. Well, you can't have it both ways, if you want to use the right-of-way, you need to follow the same rules as everyone else. I have no sympathy for the self-righteous assholes. (not all, but a very large and visible number behave that way)

If it's safe for a bike to glide through stopsigns or treat all stoplights as signs, then it's safe for motor vehicles to do the same. In fact, it's recognized that this is sometimes the case - that's why there are blinking red lights. There's no reason to give bikes any special treatment.

Of course bikes have trouble following the rules of the road, the rules of the road were written for cars.

If you want bikes to follow the rules then make rules that take bikes into account.

Re:So a bicyclist is safer..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46971601)

If it's safe for a bike to glide through stopsigns or treat all stoplights as signs, then it's safe for motor vehicles to do the same.

False, try again.

Re:So a bicyclist is safer..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46971421)

Oh, I read the article. I just don't see treating a stop as a yield is a safe idea. I am a professional driver trainer, so perhaps my opinion is clouded as to their reasoning.

Not reasoning, practical studies.
Once practical studies are done they take precedence over theoretical ideas.

It might still be that having bikers treating stop signs as absolute could be safer, but clearly not in its current form. Perhaps if you make it illegal for cars to pass bikes close to the intersection or something, but I think that would hinder the traffic too much to be practical.

Re:So a bicyclist is safer..... (2)

pslytely psycho (1699190) | about 3 months ago | (#46971469)

Comparing ID with a short biking season to CA with a year long biking season invalidates their studies in my eyes. I have lived in both places. ID should have a lower rate. They are not comparable.

Also, Stop means Stop. Otherwise change the signs. Double meanings do not add to clarity.

Re:So a bicyclist is safer..... (2)

Jack Griffin (3459907) | about 3 months ago | (#46971521)

Traffic is not homogenous, it travels in waves. I ride a motorcycle (amonsgt others), and by lane splitting through stopped traffic, then gunning it at the green it allows me to sit in an empty space of road inbetween the waves of ignorant drivers drinking their coffees, putting on makeup, and texting on their phones while driving. By riding in the gaps and not amongst the hordes it is safer for me, so I imagine the "Idaho Stop" allows cyclist something similar.

Re: So a bicyclist is safer..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46971581)

Idaho is cold in the winter, Boise, not so much. It's at a lower elevation than much of the state, there isn't even snow on the ground for most of the winter. Then again, when I lived in northern Idaho near the Washington border, it was never cold enough to deter me from walking (I didn't have a car) so you and I may have different standards. In any case, many people still ride in the winter in Boise.

Treat it as a 'YIELD' (1)

Bruce66423 (1678196) | about 3 months ago | (#46971165)

is what the article say, which does make perfect sense.

Re:So a bicyclist is safer..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46971181)

If you pay as much attention to traffic as you do to articles you comment on, everybody on the road near you is doomed either way.

Dangerous (5, Insightful)

KingOfBLASH (620432) | about 3 months ago | (#46971149)

IAAC (I Am A Cyclist). However I think that people who treat riding a bike as if they own the road are asking for trouble.

It doesn't matter if you SHOULD have right of way. It matters if someone will see you and stop (and not run you over). When you come up to any dangerous intersection (or any intersection) you should slow down, look to make sure you're not going to get plowed into, and THEN go.

As a cyclist, you might be going 30 KPH easily, but you're much easier to miss for a motorist because you are so small, and you might come at an odd direction (most people aren't used to making sure there's no cyclists on the shoulder).

Re:Dangerous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46971187)

The strange thing is that this is all about how great things are in Idaho, but in Boise the cyclists are big news because of how dangerous it has gotten in the last years with bike accidents (mostly from cyclists + opening doors of parked cars).

Re:Dangerous (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about 3 months ago | (#46971253)

yes some people are stupid and might get hurt or die. That will happen no matter how stupid people travel. That doesn't mean the rest of us should suffer because of the stupid.

Re:Dangerous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46971343)

yes some people are stupid and might get hurt or die. That will happen no matter how stupid people travel. That doesn't mean the rest of us should suffer because of the stupid.

I see.

As fatalities continue to rise across the board for deaths related to distracted driving, let me know how you feel when a loved one is killed from some dumbass texting and driving. After all, I wouldn't want to suffer because of the stupid, but you can.

Re:Dangerous (3, Insightful)

KingOfBLASH (620432) | about 3 months ago | (#46971387)

yes some people are stupid and might get hurt or die. That will happen no matter how stupid people travel. That doesn't mean the rest of us should suffer because of the stupid.

Which is why if I see someone about to cause an accident that might be fatal to me and not them, I should be allowed to launch missles at them, and blast through safely in a ball of fire, james bond style

Re:Dangerous (5, Insightful)

pipedwho (1174327) | about 3 months ago | (#46971335)

There is nothing in the regulations that say treating a stop as a yield or a red light as a stop sign somehow gives you any additional right of way. All it means is that you don't have to wait as long to determine if the intersection is safe to cross.

The Idaho Stop / California Roll is all about going slow enough that you can gauge the traffic heading towards the intersection for the other directions to determine if it is safe to move. A stop sign simply 'forces' cars to stop even if it would be otherwise safe to only slow down to a few miles an hour. And a red light forces cars to stop even when you can see for miles in both directions that there is nothing coming.

A car moving slowly can easily kill or do heavy damage to a pedestrian (or another road user). Whereas a bicycle has a much smaller cross section, lower kinetic energy, and a rider that is far more likely to come off badly no matter how small the object/person is that they collide with.

You can't be serious saying it is more dangerous to give way at slow speed versus coming to a complete stop and then having to huff and puff back up to speed, while simultaneously being overtaken with inches to spare by a bunch of impatient motorists because you can't outpace them.

In fact the article gives clear statistics showing the exact opposite. Just about every cyclist I know treat 'right of way' as synonymous to 'enter at your own risk'.

Re:Dangerous (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 3 months ago | (#46971369)

IAAC as well, and I think this law is good as long as cyclists use some common sense. If you can't see around the corner when approaching a stop sign slow down to around walking speed so you can stop if a car runs right through the intersection, which I've seen some do, even at a 4-way stop. Traffic lights you have to use you're judgment. I wouldn't go making any left hand turns across multilane roads against the light, unless the road was completely deserted.

This is pretty much the way most cyclists ride anyway, so making it legal should be fine.

Re:Dangerous (1)

KingOfBLASH (620432) | about 3 months ago | (#46971381)

You can't be serious saying it is more dangerous to give way at slow speed versus coming to a complete stop and then having to huff and puff back up to speed, while simultaneously being overtaken with inches to spare by a bunch of impatient motorists because you can't outpace them.

The "Idaho Stop" allows you to go when other traffic has to stop. Anybody coming behind you has to stop where you can go.

Additionally, I am not saying that you cannot roll through a red light, ever. The problem is each situation (and danger) is different and you need to be able to judge it yourself, and not just say "Oh I have right of way, let's go!"

Just about every cyclist I know treat 'right of way' as synonymous to 'enter at your own risk'.

That is mostly locale specific. In America, cyclists tend to be more cautious because of the fact cycling is unusual. In Holland, asia, and other places where biking is common, they'll cut in front of an eighteen wheeler with a couch and child on the back of the bike, and make him slam on his brakes.

Re:Dangerous (1)

msauve (701917) | about 3 months ago | (#46971553)

"having to huff and puff back up to speed, while simultaneously being overtaken with inches to spare by a bunch of impatient motorists because you can't outpace them."

If the impatient cyclist hadn't just illegally passed them curbside while they were all waiting for their turn to proceed through the intersection, they wouldn't have a need to pass.

Re:Dangerous (1)

stjobe (78285) | about 3 months ago | (#46971485)

IAAC (I Am A Cyclist). However I think that people who treat riding a bike as if they own the road are asking for trouble.

It doesn't matter if you SHOULD have right of way. It matters if someone will see you and stop (and not run you over).

Yep, that's how I treat many of my country's traffic laws, e.g. yielding for pedestrians on crosswalks: Fat lot of god it'll do me knowing I had the right of way when I've just run over and killed or badly injured someone. Let them cross, yapping obliviously away on their cellphones.

Or, conversely, if I'm the pedestrian - fat lot of good it'll do me knowing I had the right of way when I'm in a hospital bed with two broken legs. Let them pass, yapping obliviously away on their cellphone.

Cellphones and traffic don't mix, whether you're in a vehicle or biking, walking, or running. 99% of the bad driving I see is someone holding his or her hand to their ear...

You misunderstand Idaho Stop (2)

Morgaine (4316) | about 3 months ago | (#46971589)

It doesn't matter if you SHOULD have right of way.

You misunderstand Idaho Stop, as it never gives right of way to cyclists. The most they get is right of movement when there is no conflicting traffic, in other words when there is no right of way issue. If conflicting traffic is present then that traffic always has right of way over the cyclist at a stop sign or red light.

It certainly doesn't make cyclists "own the road", as you put it, since that's synonymous with having right of way.

you americans are insane (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46971159)

as in subject.

That may work... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46971169)

...in Buttfuck, Idaho, but not in New York or L.A.

Re:That may work... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46971457)

There is always a transition period, no matter what you do.

Regardless of that you are exaggerating. If you consider what the change actually means you see that red light is completely unaffected.
The only difference is whether cyclists need to come to a full stop or not at a stop sign. It is essentially the difference between having to set a foot down or not.
Typically a cyclist can stop much easier than they can come up to speed and they have worse control at start. The full stop is a hazard.
There is no reason whatsoever to why this shouldn't work just as well in New York or L.A. The physics are the same.

And another thing... (1)

pslytely psycho (1699190) | about 3 months ago | (#46971171)

"When he compared recent census data from Boise to Bakersfield and Sacramento, California â€" relatively similar-sized cities with comparable percentages of bikers, topographies, precipitation patterns, and street layouts."

Precipitation patterns? Really? Comparing a city that you can bike in all year to a city that has real winter? You don't ride a bike in Boise in fucking December. They have a lower accident rate in a city that for at least a third of the year is not suitable to ride a bike in, to a city with year round riding weather, and call that a comparison?

Goddamit, I want a million dollar grant to come up with stupidly.

Re:And another thing... (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 3 months ago | (#46971237)

How many people ride a bike in the snow anyway? I'm in the NY area, and at my job (1000+ people) we have some bicycle commuters, but none when there's snow on the ground.

Re:And another thing... (1)

SharpFang (651121) | about 3 months ago | (#46971285)

Snow is iresome, making the ride uncomfortable, slower, and more risky.
Even small amounts of ice make the ride practically impossible.
During a turn on a bike there's a significant lateral stress against the tire. On slipery surface you just fall, period. With snow or mud the tire squeezes a track, keeping some traction. On ice it just slips.

Re: And another thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46971333)

Studded tires and chains are a thing, and I can say they work with firsthand experience.

Re:And another thing... (3, Insightful)

mikael_j (106439) | about 3 months ago | (#46971367)

I use a bicycle as my primary means of transport year-round, in Sweden.

The main issue I have is that I often have to slow down not just to compensate for road conditions as such but also for motorists who don't realize that even with studded tires a cyclist might not want to ride as aggressively in winter as they do in summer (by "aggressively" I mean more "trusting others not to run you down after they've clearly seen you" than "break the law", in summer my brakes work flawlessly and if Mrs Soccer Mom or Mr Middle Management in their late-model Volvo decide to suddenly try to bully me out of the way I can hit the brakes or accelerate quickly, in winter such aggressive moves will cause me to fall and get run over by the idiot in question so I ride much more defensively which seems to annoy a lot of motorists).

FYI, I tend to stick to bicycle paths when possible but some have been taken over by pedestrians (who have the right of way on bike paths here in Sweden, "yay") to the point where it's faster and mostly safer to ride on a parallel street than zigzag between pedestrians who are walking four abreast and paying no attention to cyclists and other times the bike paths were clearly laid out by someone who doesn't cycle him-/herself and doesn't realize that looping a bike path around an entire city block is likely to be an unpopular move.

Re:And another thing... (1)

Nehmo (757404) | about 3 months ago | (#46971567)

How many people ride a bike in the snow anyway? I'm in the NY area, and at my job (1000+ people) we have some bicycle commuters, but none when there's snow on the ground.

You certainly didn't search on that one before you posted. Lots of people bike in the snow, particularly in Europe but in the US as well.

Re:And another thing... (1)

muep (901215) | about 3 months ago | (#46971355)

I am not familiar with the climate of Boise, but at least according to Wikipedia, it sounds pretty reasonable for cycling in the winter: "Winters are cold, with a December average of 30.7 F (0.7 C), and lows falling to 0 F (18 C) or below on around three nights per year." In my experience, -18 C is not as comfortable as some higher temperature, but still easily manageable. And likely most of the time in Boise in December, it would be way warmer than that.

Thanks Soulskill! (3, Informative)

gmhowell (26755) | about 3 months ago | (#46971175)

There's a classic trollish article for you.

enforce existing laws? (4, Insightful)

dltaylor (7510) | about 3 months ago | (#46971185)

How 'bout ticketing the jerks who disrupt traffic by rolling through intersections, break up the 30-bike pelotons, and otherwise make them actually obey the law? Maybe they wouldn't have so mny accidents if the riders weren't abnoxious.

If it had been motorcyclists, rather than bicyclists that tailgated the SoCal guy and hit him when he stopped, there would never have been the travesty of justice as his murder conviction.

Re:enforce existing laws? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46971243)

How about ticketing the fuckwit car drivers on phones, rolling through stop signs and otherwise making them obey the law?

THERE ARE ASSHOLES IN EACH ROAD USING GROUP, GET THE FUCK OVER IT AND SHARE THE FUCKING ROAD!

BTW 30 pack peletons isnt agaist the law. It's called safety in numbers. So that they get seen by dicks like you who are road accidents waiting to happen.

Re:enforce existing laws? (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 3 months ago | (#46971347)

How about ticketing the fuckwit car drivers on phones, rolling through stop signs and otherwise making them obey the law?

Around here (Long Island) they ticket for both. Drivers on phones has been the hot thing to ticket for around here for a few years (and yes I think they should do it). They also ticket for not stopping completely at a stop sign, and I've known plenty of people who've gotten them.

Cyclists? I've never heard of anyone getting a ticket for anything.

As for peletons, I've got no problem with them per se. In fact having a bunch of riders together makes them easier to see, and if you have to pass them on a long narrow road (I mean a "country" style road, not an urban/suburban one) you only have to pass them once (yes it's legal to pass them). My big complaint though is that on such roads they often ride 3 or 4 abreast. Uh, slower moving traffic keep right, ok? I always give cyclists a wide berth, but when they're taking up most of a lane on a road with only one lane in each direction, it makes things oh so much more fun.

Re:enforce existing laws? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46971249)

Interesting. You believe that you can "enforce law" and make people obey law. That's outright stupid. Statistics have repeatedly shown that penalties do not correlate much with law violations. So when you increase penalties for a law violation you won't see any less law violation. Just an increased "revenue stream".

Illiteracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46971569)

He didn't say "increase penalties", he said "ticketing". People respond to that. In NorCal, everyone drives 9 over because the speed limit is never enforced at 9 over. That has nothing to do with the penalty, and all about the perception caused by the lack of enforcement. Read more about theory of rewards and you'll realize that yes, the right-wing fucktard's "40 to life for a joint" is retarded, but that law enforcement blatantly ignoring laws makes behavior worse.

Re:enforce existing laws? (1)

Kasar (838340) | about 3 months ago | (#46971349)

They aren't required to be licensed, they don't have plates to identify the bicycle that blew through the light and cut off the 18-wheeler, so unless there's a cop right there, nothing happens. A ticket given to a person without a driver's license doesn't really matter either, no insurance rates to worry about and only tracked if the person's checked for warrants later.

Re:enforce existing laws? (3, Insightful)

pipedwho (1174327) | about 3 months ago | (#46971395)

Actually, bicycles that don't roll through intersections are more likely to hold up traffic behind them, while having motorists make unsafe overtaking manoeuvres to get around them right near the intersection itself.

Any time someone uses a car (or any object for that matter) to intentionally cause an accident, that person is open to prosecution. Whether it be a douche bag pulling in front of a 30 bike peloton and slamming on their brakes, or opening their door while queued up a traffic light just to stop a motorcyclist from filtering through to the front. That shit is illegal simply because it is someone intentionally causing harm to another person. Just like someone running over an old lady that was taking too long to cross the street; the light goes green on them, and a driver thinks 'fuck it I have right of way, I'll just blow right over the top of her in my oversized SUV'. They definitely don't have the 'right of way' to injure or kill someone.

I'm sure there are many assholes out there who just claim they did what they did for some other idiotic but 'unintentional' reason. But, that doesn't make it right, nor does it guarantee a jury will believe them.

Maybe I'm misreading your post, but If you can't see that road safety isn't just about blindly following regulations, then you should definitely not be driving on the road. Otherwise, it is only a matter of time before you end up in court wondering how you got there.

Re:enforce existing laws? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46971573)

Hey,fuckwit, those "30 bike peloton" don't have any special rights on the road. They certainly don't have a right to block fucking traffic at intersections. If you don't know what I am talking about, we have assholes like this where the front riders will block side lanes at stop signs and stop lights so the rest of the asshats can break the law. So, the next time your group of assholes has someone slam on their brakes in front of you, remember you have probably been a fucking piece of shit to that person and deserve it.
 
Maybe instead of your lying, self-righteous post, you can act like a civil human being and stop breaking the law, shithead.

Re:enforce existing laws? (1)

Nehmo (757404) | about 3 months ago | (#46971583)

How 'bout ticketing the jerks who...

Enforcement is about money - not road safety.

Let me makes this real fucking simple for cyclists (2, Insightful)

redmid17 (1217076) | about 3 months ago | (#46971197)

Stop sign: Slow down, low both/all ways, proceed if clear. Otherwise follow normal traffic rules.
Yellow light: Stop unless you're already in the intersection
Red light: Stop and don't go until your turn in normal traffic

Outliers: Crosswalk: Proceed unless there is a walker. Stop then proceed otherwise.
Flashing yellow: Slow down, low both/all ways, proceed if clear
Flashing red: treat like stop sign.

Pretend like you are new to a bike and you will be much safer and people will hate you so much less. One thing you can do, unless you are a very serious cyclist, is avoid getting the pedals which require cycling shoes. If one is not clipped in, imo, one is less likely to break laws and be a douche about existing ones. For people riding 50+ miles a week, I can understand why they want them. However those are not the people who cause problems for everyone else (in my experience).

Re:Let me makes this real fucking simple for cycli (2)

Sique (173459) | about 3 months ago | (#46971405)

And this discusses the merits of the Idaho House Bill 2690 exactly how?

Yes, there are some rules and laws that cover the behavior of cyclists. And you just mentioned a certain subset of them. But why does the way the Idaho Stop governs the cyclist's behavior lead to remarkably less accidents with cyclists and pedestrians?

As a pedestrian (2, Insightful)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 3 months ago | (#46971221)

As a pedestrian, I fail to see why having two-wheeled idiots blasting through red lights is safer for me. Especially since their view (if they were looking) and mine are likely to be obstructed by the cars & vans they're overtaking (usually on the wrong side).

Re:As a pedestrian (4, Informative)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about 3 months ago | (#46971245)

Yup, idiots blasting through red lights is a big no. Thankfully that is not what the article or anyone is proposing. In Idaho, red lights can be treated as stop and go for bicyclist. Running red lights is still illegal, and fines are much higher than other states/cities and are enforced. Bicylist are also allowed to make rolling stops at stop signs. Which means slow down, to make sure the intersection is safe, and yield to other vehicles, and if there is no one, just proceed. Blasting through a stop sign is a big no, too.

Re:As a pedestrian (3, Insightful)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about 3 months ago | (#46971259)

clearly you didn't watch the video or even probably read the article.

Re:As a pedestrian (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46971261)

"as a pedestrian" means? you don't know how to ride a bike? No offense if you are in a wheelchair or so. But otherwise I failt to see the point of you getting into the discussion even.

Re:As a pedestrian (0)

mjshosting1 (3649181) | about 3 months ago | (#46971287)

A good [online-buy.net] Comment

As a bicycle... (1)

aepervius (535155) | about 3 months ago | (#46971353)

As a bicycle user (which stops at stops, red light, and pay attention to right coming traffic or pedestrian) I also fail to see how it makes road safer, but it seems to work... So...

Re:As a pedestrian (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46971357)

This law is intended to save cyclists from getting hit from behind at stop signs. The driver coming up to the stop sign is looking both ways but ignoring what's in front of him. I got tapped once at an inverted Y intersection because he was looking back to his left and not in front of him, I now roll thru that stop!

The only thing about letting the cyclists roll thru red lights is it gets the cyclists out of the intersection before the cars begin turning which is always a safety issue.

Cyclists are always watching out for pedestrians because they tend to step out in front of us without looking or assuming we are moving slower than we are.

Re:As a pedestrian (2)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about 3 months ago | (#46971455)

The article says they can only roll through stop signs, red lights still require a full stop first (though they can proceed like a car would at a stop sign if safe to do so).

Re:As a pedestrian (1)

quantaman (517394) | about 3 months ago | (#46971437)

As a pedestrian, I fail to see why having two-wheeled idiots blasting through red lights is safer for me. Especially since their view (if they were looking) and mine are likely to be obstructed by the cars & vans they're overtaking (usually on the wrong side).

I'm not sure how relevant that is since those cyclists are breaking both the standard law and the proposed law. Maybe it causes standards to relax so more cyclists ignore traffic signals, or maybe realistic signals cause more cyclists to obey the law.

I think this isn't a bad idea, anyone who rides a bike realizes full stops at stop signs are pointless in a way they aren't in a car. Cyclists have much better vision at an intersection so don't really need a pedantic stop and look around period the way cars do. Bikes also have a much slower acceleration from a standstill, this makes stop signs really annoying in a way that doesn't apply to cars.

I'm not sure if the argument holds as well for stop lights though. The article talks about lights that require triggers and I'm not sure how common those really are.

Re:As a pedestrian (1)

funwithBSD (245349) | about 3 months ago | (#46971481)

We have absolutely no interest in hitting you. While you may get knocked down, we have a metal bar pointed at our balls if we hit something.

I really, really do not want to rack my balls on the bike stem/top tube, and will do anything not to hit you.

Re:As a pedestrian (2)

Jack Griffin (3459907) | about 3 months ago | (#46971561)

I RTFA but didn't see anywhere where it suggested riders should be able "blast through" red lights without looking. Your attitude is specifically what causes most of this type of grief in the first place. Most riders also own cars and walk too, so trying to turn this into an us vs them argument just makes you look stupid. The fact that you got modded insightful just goes to show and many idiots there are out there, regardless of what mode of transport they choose.

Okay then. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46971239)

Like bikes, pedestrians don't need to come to a complete stop to avoid accidents at intersections, which is why you don't see them weirdly freezing in place when they arrive at one.

I've yet to see a pedestrian who doesn't come to a stop at intersections.

I've heard about their tire-marked corpses, though.

red lights (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46971279)

Stop cars and bikers at the red light and let the go all at the same time. Guess what happens... Is it really a suprise that you get less accidents if you don't do that?

Why more laws. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46971289)

I'm not understanding why so much legislation is needed.

Take Amsterdam - tourists are much likely to follow the rules than citizens, yet make the majority of the accidents.

Citizens - with biking experience - can estimate situations much better. And whilst 'bending the rules', they are safer end of the day.

Of course you risk a cop stopping you if you break the rules, in practice they will only do so if you endanger yourself or others. It just makes sense that cars should obey traffic rules better than cyclists, simply because cyclists are much more vulnerable.

Making a law for anything, and any exception, just doesn't makes sense. It's the intention of the law - safety. No cop here will fine you for looking carefully and not stopping at a stop sign while on a bike... It maybe a slight cultural difference in cop behaviour?

Re:Why more laws. (1)

zippthorne (748122) | about 3 months ago | (#46971385)

It's better to spell out the exceptions than to simply capriciously enforce the existing laws. Poor enforcement leads to contempt for the law.

Speeding enforcement is a good example. It is so poorly enforced that nearly everyone exceeds the speed limit on nearly every stretch of road they travel on. The degree to which people do so, though, varies quite a bit. Is "10 over" ok? If 10 why not 20, you're already breaking the law (*)...

(*) in states where it is illegal to exceed the posted limit. In "prima facie" states, I guess you need to consider what really is safe.

I agree. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46971317)

I fully agree. On a bike (motorized or pedaled) you must be very careful. I dont think motor bikes should have these rules, but you are hyper aware on a bicycle or a motorcycle. if you get hit, you're fucked. totes f'd. so if there is a gap, ride through. if there isnt, brakes on full. wait till its done

They stop for them anyway? (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 3 months ago | (#46971323)

I didn't know that cyclists stopped for stop signs anyway. I was in Cape Cod, which has some great bike trails (my daughter and I use them). I was driving at the time though, stopped where the bike trail crosses the road, looked around, saw nobody, and proceeded. Somebody went flying across, and the only saving grace was that he swerved to avoid a collision (and I hit the brakes of course). There was a stop sign on the bike path, but at the speed he was going he couldn't have stopped or slowed down for it.

I bike, though not for commuting, and there are a few rules you have to follow. Yes, it's a pain to stop once you've got some speed up, but it's better than getting killed. I'm not saying most cyclists do this, but I felt like blowing off some steam it.

As for the Idaho law, I'm not sure it would work everywhere. What does yield mean? You're supposed to slow down, but by how much? For some cyclists it means glance around quickly before flying through the intersection. As it is, most cyclists don't completely stop at a stop sign, including me, but you've got to use some judgement. Clear view of the intersecting road? Maybe slowing down enough is ok. Blind corner or something? Stop all the way. And the only way to know an intersecting road can be seen clearly is if you've ridden through that area before.

As for comparing Boise to Bakersfield and Sacramento, how about looking at Boise before and after the law changed? Did it actually change anybody's behavior anyway? Has anybody even heard of a cyclist getting a ticket for something like this?

Whatever happened to common sense? (1)

QA (146189) | about 3 months ago | (#46971379)

If we ignore the "law" for a moment, I'm having a hard time understanding why ANY sane person would blow through a stop sign. There could very well be a hidden drive way or road on one side of it. By the time you look left, then right, another vehicle could have easily pulled out that you may not have seen.

I find the "right of way" advocates even sillier.
We can put this on your tombstone " Here lies John Doe, tragically taken from us in an intersection by a large SUV, BUT HE HAD THE RIGHT OF WAY"

Re:Whatever happened to common sense? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46971541)

You must not commute by bike.

If you did, I think you'd find that rolling through stop signs and some red lights really is the best way to handle them.

If few cars are around it helps you get through the intersection quicker. Intersections are where most accidents happen. So safely making sure that you spend as little time in an intersection decreases your risk asa cyclist.

I also found that cars actually expect you to roll through stop signs. The odd time that I try to be a boy scout and stop, it often leads to a confusing situation with the vehicle and I making a few confused false starts.

As a cyclist a confused driver is a dangerous driver.

Re:Whatever happened to common sense? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46971593)

We are on geeks site. Most of patrons have some sort of asperger induced righteousness problem. This is not magically turned off when on the road or?

Stop signs in the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46971393)

How common are Stop signs in the US?

In the UK, "Give Way" (i.e. "yield") signs outnumber them 100-to-1 or more. You normally only find Stop signs at blind junctions (mostly in places where the road layout hasn't changed since the middle ages).

Re:Stop signs in the US (1, Troll)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | about 3 months ago | (#46971491)

How common are Stop signs in the US?

In the UK, "Give Way" (i.e. "yield") signs outnumber them 100-to-1 or more. You normally only find Stop signs at blind junctions (mostly in places where the road layout hasn't changed since the middle ages).

Invert that ratio and you get the US.

Basically, traffic laws in the US are optimised to generate maximum fine revenue for the local police so they are designed to create as many violations as possible with no regard for safety. At the extreme end of the scale you've got red light cameras which might as well be called "murder cameras" for the number of people they kill.

The evidence is very clear that if you actually want safety on roads the way to get it is with fewer or no rules and signs, but since that directly contradicts the reveune purpose of having the signs and rules it would take a regime change to see that happen.

Re:Stop signs in the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46971559)

In the Bay Area (CA), there's tons of places with a stop sign at every intersection, i.e., every 50 - 100m.

You get the choice of using the larger roads with tons of traffic driving faster than you or smaller roads where you'd technically have to stop every 50-100m. The larger roads can have a dedicated lane for bicycles, but it's typically sandwiched between driving traffic and parked cars. Intersections are fun too.

Pedestrian or Vehicle: Pick one. (1)

Marful (861873) | about 3 months ago | (#46971397)

How about instead of a 3rd set of rules for the road, cyclists just pick one and fucking stick to it?

Either follow the rules for vehicles or the rules for pedestrians.

If they want to ride on sidewalks and not have to wait in a line of cars, then they can be a pedestrian. If they want to take up a lane of traffic then they can fucking follow the rules for vehicles. Whichever they choose just fucking stick to it.

All of the problems I've had with cyclists comes from them following the rules for one and switching to the other when it's most convenient to them.

Because what we really need is another set of traffic rules to really confuse the shit out of people with.

disregard of traffic regulations (1)

gwbw (1429205) | about 3 months ago | (#46971419)

I intuited many years ago that traffic laws pertaining to vehicular traffic were downright dangerous for me as a cyclist - having worked as a bike courier in Washington DC, I found that the safest strategies for operating a bicycle in the urban environment are not real popular with motorists, law enforcement, or pedestrians for that matter. I decided too bad for them - as a cyclist the cards were stacked against me already on the safety front - I adopted my own set of rules, which worked very well for me and never hurt anyone else. Stopping at stop signs and redlights was certainly NOT part of the repertoire and as much as this infuriated others I was able to live with that.

100% bicycle commuter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46971441)

I've never owned a car and have been bicycle commuting for many years in all kinds of situations.

Let's get this out of the way: Yes, a lot, even perhaps a majority, of people on bicycles act selfishly and stupidly. But my experience suggests that few experienced commuters are this category. First off, we all should just acknowledge that kids will be kids. Ok, so now we're down to adult cyclists only. A lot are weekend warriors who are drivers normally. Don't conflate those and commuter cyclists. Totally different breed. Then there are the young adults who think urban cycling is cool and so do it for a little while. It's not fair to count them either: they're just drivers on temporary leave.

We're left with true commuters like me, and the majority of us are careful and aware. This brings me to the point of this article. It is in the interest of everyone that cyclists be allowed to treat stop signs as yield signs. First, if I get to a 4-way as others are approaching, it helps everyone if I slow but do not stop. I'm there first, so I have the right of way; stopping and then starting again just slows down everyone. Since I don't have a shell around me, I can see and hear really well, so I already know the state of an intersection before I'm at the stop sign, so safety is not an issue. Second, a yield sign gives others the right of way if they are there first. So it's not like it's freebie to cyclists. If I approach an intersection and another car is already there or beats me to the stop, then that driver has the right of way. Easy. It's a ticketable offense to ignore the yield sign. Third, having a little momentum is safer for me. I have much better control when I have a little momentum than when I have to start from a standstill. Negotiating intersections is the most dangerous part of cycling, so it's silly to have the least control in the most dangerous place.

I know a lot of people simply hate cyclists, but to those people: it's good to remind yourselves that you hate other drivers, too. Cyclists can be annoying, but so can be drivers. That shouldn't stop us from optimizing traffic mechanisms.

I grew up on a bike in Los Angeles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46971467)

I ride roll stops wait on red and with traffic. sidewalks are not used by pedestrians in the burbs and make a safe place to ride the boulevards.
If you ride against the traffic on a sidewalk someone will pull out a parking lot and hit you because they pull out not looking your direction.

That is how I rode and lived to tell the tail. The best childhood ever.

Here's a revolutionary concept (2, Insightful)

ErnoWindt (301103) | about 3 months ago | (#46971471)

How about this: the rules of the road, are the rules of the road. They apply for everyone, not just the other guy or what they happen to be in/on: car, bicycle, motorcycle, horse-drawn carriage. Make sense?

Re:Here's a revolutionary concept (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46971575)

No, it does not make sense.

Yeah, the article is stating that they are changing the 'rules of the road': your point?

The rules are there for a reason, to promote safe and orderly travel on the roads.

They have found that these rule changes increase safety for one category of road users, cyclists.

What you seem to want is to insist on consistency for every user of the road at the expense of any other quality: in this case safety.

Thank you for stating your preference, but other people (an entire state for instance) seem to want to choose differently.

Fuck bicyclists! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46971531)

As long as those arrogant fuckers think they can block traffic on roads so their friends can run red lights and stop signs, I say it should be legal to run their asses over.

Great (0)

sunking2 (521698) | about 3 months ago | (#46971547)

Let's encourage a means of transport where apparently it's dangerous to stop.

Adding ambiguity to traffic signs is a good idea? (2)

pslytely psycho (1699190) | about 3 months ago | (#46971577)

Simply put. Stop means Stop.,

If you want it to mean yield, put up a yield sign.
Confusing the meaning of traffic control signs simply is not a good idea. Traffic control needs to be simple, concise, and readily understandable.

Giving a stop sign double meaning for different traffic only confuses the issue and undoubtedly opens the door to a whole new branch of litigation. How is that a good idea?

risk takers vs the risk averse (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | about 3 months ago | (#46971603)

One problem is that Idaho isn't known for all its millionaires and entrepreneurs / risk takers, whereas California positively attracts such people. This might not seem like a big deal, but if you have a population for whom it is customary and even expected that risk taking leads to big rewards, versus a population which is, well average, then you have got to expect different outcomes even when the road rules are identical. It is not reasonable to expect that changing the rules on a docile population would lead to similar outcomes in a population full of movers and shakers.
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