The “Idaho stop” allows cyclists to treat a red light like a stop sign, and a stop sign like a yield sign. The law was developed in 1982 by Carl Bianchi, then the Administrative Director of the Courts in Idaho. The name “Idaho stop” became popular by 2009, when it was proposed in Oregon.
The “Idaho stop” has been proposed for New York City, although New York has many more traffic lights than Idaho.
Wikipedia: Idaho stop
The Idaho stop is the common name for a law that allows cyclists to treat a stop sign as a yield sign, and a red light as a stop sign. It first became law in Idaho in 1982, but has not been adopted elsewhere. A limited form of the law called “Stop as Yield”, that deals only with stop signs, has expanded to parts of Colorado and been considered in several other states. Advocates argue that current law criminalizes normal cycling behavior, and that the Idaho stop makes cycling easier and safer and places the focus where it should be: on yielding the right-of-way. Opponents think it is less safe because it violates the principles of vehicular cycling and makes cyclists less predictable.
The original Idaho yield law was introduced as Idaho HB 541 during a comprehensive revision of Idaho Traffic laws in 1982. At that time, minor traffic offenses were criminal offenses and there was a desire to downgrade many of these to “civil public offenses” to free up docket time.
Carl Bianchi, then the Administrative Director of the Courts in Idaho, saw an opportunity to attach a modernization of the bicycle law onto the larger revision of the traffic code. He drafted a new bicycle code that would more closely conform with the Uniform Vehicle Code, and included new provisions allowing cyclists to take the lane, or to merge left, when appropriate.
State of Idaho—Statutes & Rules
PEDESTRIANS AND BICYCLES
49-720. STOPPING—TURN AND STOP SIGNALS. (1) A person operating a bicycle or human-powered vehicle approaching a stop sign shall slow down and, if required for safety, stop before entering the intersection. After slowing to a reasonable speed or stopping, the person shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching on another highway so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time the person is moving across or within the intersection or junction of highways, except that a person after slowing to a reasonable speed and yielding the right-of-way if required, may cautiously make a turn or proceed through the intersection without stopping.
(2) A person operating a bicycle or human-powered vehicle approaching a steady red traffic control light shall stop before entering the intersection and shall yield to all other traffic. Once the person has yielded, he may proceed through the steady red light with caution. Provided however, that a person after slowing to a reasonable speed and yielding the right-of-way if required, may cautiously make a right-hand turn. A left-hand turn onto a one-way highway may be made on a red light after stopping and yielding to other traffic.
(3) A person riding a bicycle shall comply with the provisions of section 49-643, Idaho Code.
(4) A signal of intention to turn right or left shall be given during not less than the last one hundred (100) feet traveled by the bicycle before turning, provided that a signal by hand and arm need not be given if the hand is needed in the control or operation of the bicycle.
[49-720, added 1988, ch. 265, sec. 209, p. 679; am. 2005, ch. 205, sec. 1, p. 615.]
Idaho Stop Law – FAQ
Posted by Jonathan Maus ( Publisher/Editor ) on January 14th, 2009 at 11:47 pm
The Frequently Asked Questions below were developed by the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) as supporting material for their Idaho Stop Law proposal.
What would this law do?
This law would make it legal for bicyclists to treat stop signs like yield signs. A cyclist approaching an intersection controlled by a stop sign, would be permitted to roll through the stop sign after yielding the right of way if there are other vehicles at the intersection.
@natronics I am completely in minority, but I think “Idaho Stop sucks. This will increase car on bike collisions big time.
2:08 AM - 15 Jan 2009
New York (NY) Times
The Wild Bunch
By ROBERT SULLIVAN
MARCH 6, 2009
James Bronx, NY March 7, 2009
It doesn’t have to be this way, though. Some measures that could improve things would be:
1) Legalize the “Idaho Stop” for bikes. Bikes would be required to stop at red lights, but could then proceed if everything is clear. It’s not practical for cyclists to be stopping every block because it uses too much energy and slows you down to the point where bicycles are no longer practical.
2) Once the Idaho Stop rule is in effect, enforce it ruthlessly. While the NYPD is at it, they could take it upon themselves to actually enforce the speed limit in this city. Automated speed cameras and red light cameras are a must. The city (and by “city” I mean all 5 boroughs) is not a place to ride flat out. It’s too dense and congested for that. The roadies should save their watts for the open road and realize that like cars, bicycles are guests in the city. The city is for pedestrians first and foremost.
ORIGINS OF IDAHO’S “STOP AS YIELD” LAW
Posted At : March 7, 2009 9:54 AM | Posted By : Rick Bernardi
Carl Bianchi was a cyclist; he was also the Administrative Director of the Courts in Idaho, and would later serve as the first Director of Legislative Services for the Idaho State legislature. In his professional capacity, Bianchi had been approached by magistrates with complaints that law enforcement was ticketing cyclists for failure to come to a complete, foot-down stop. Magistrates considered these technical violations to be functional and common cycling behavior, but under the law, they had no option but to fine cyclists for these violations. Bianchi and the magistrates who were bringing these concerns to him felt that these “technical violations” were unnecessarily cluttering the courts.
In each of the two previous years, bills to modernize the state’s bicycle laws had been introduced and failed. When the legislature initiated its revision of the state’s traffic code, Bianchi saw an opportunity to attach a modernized bicycle law onto the larger revision of the traffic code; with the assistance of cyclists and judicial officials, Bianchi agreed to draft a new bicycle code.
Bianchi’s draft brought the bicycle code into close conformity with the Uniform Vehicle Code, with new provisions allowing cyclists to take the lane, or to merge left, when appropriate. Addressing the concerns of the state’s magistrates, the draft also contained a provision that allowed cyclists to treat a stop sign as a yield sign—the so-called “rolling stop law.”
Bicycles, Rolling Stops, and the Idaho Stop
from Spencer Boomhower
April 13, 2009
The Oregon legislature is considering passage of a law that would allow bicycle riders to treat stop signs as yield signs. These “rolling stops” would allow bike riders to preserve some of the momentum they depend upon for efficient travel, just so long as they don’t infringe on the safety and rights of others.
The law is based on one that’s been successful in Idaho for the last 27 years, so it’s come to be known as the “Idaho Stop” law.
There’s some controversy - and whole lot of misunderstanding - surrounding the proposed Idaho Stop law. I thought I could clear some of it up with the magic of animation.
6 October 2009, Winnipeg (Manitoba) Free Press, “City cyclists may follow ‘Idaho stop law’” by Bartley Kives, pg. B1, col. 1:
City council’s protection and community services committee is poised to ask the Winnipeg Police Service to study traffic regulations in Idaho and elsewhere that allow cyclists to slow down and yield at stop signs but not come to a complete stop when no other traffic is present.
How to Ride a Bike for Transportation (Whatever Your Lifestyle)
By Elly Blue
Portland, OR: Cantankerous Titles
The other famous component of the Idaho stop law is a clause that allows people on bicycles to treat stop signs as though they are yield signs.
The Art of Cycling:
Staying Safe on Urban Streets (Second Edition)
By Robert Hurst
Guilford, CT: Falcon Guides
As with the “Idaho Stop,” there is no epidemic of crashes we can point to that proves the extra danger of riding brakeless.
The Brooklyn Paper
December 1, 2015
Idaho weighs in on the ‘Idaho stop’
BY ALLEGRA HOBBS
Councilman Antonio Reynoso (D–Williamsburg) wants New York to legalize the “Idaho stop” — allowing cyclists to treat red lights like stop signs, and stop signs like yield signs.
New Yorkers have plenty of opinions on the topic, but it has already been the law of the land in its namesake state since the early ’80s — so how is that working out for Idahoans? We called them to find out!
But outside the main urban hub, other Gem Staters say they haven’t seen any upsides — in some cases, because they do not have traffic lights.