On a bike, that is. As it stands right now, bicycles here in Oregon are required to make like a car at stop signs and come to a full and complete stop. I realize not all cyclists do this, I have personally witnessed people barely slowing down, even flat out running red lights, nevermind stop signs.
But the BTA (Bicycle Transportation Alliance) is sponsoring a bill to make “Idaho Stops” the law in Oregon. Apparently this law is already in place in Idaho, hence the name. However, this law would not give bicycles the right of way, and the cyclist would still be required to treat stop signs like a “Yield” sign (slow down and LOOK), and yield to any traffic that beat you to the intersection. Now this only applies to stop signs, and will not include rolling through red lights here in Oregon but it seems that is part of the law in Idaho.
Here’s an excerpt from the BTA Blog about this:
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.
Would cars have to stop and wait for bicyclists?
No, this law change would allow a cyclist to slowly approach the intersection and proceed only if the intersection was clear and it was safe to continue. The law does not grant a cyclist permission to take the right of way from another vehicle.
It is a nuisance to have to stop in a quiet residential neighborhood at intersections where the line of sight is good and you can see there are no cars, at all, in any direction. Many cyclists don’t bother stopping as it is at these. So why should you have to stop a car under those same conditions? For one thing, most cyclists are far more acutely aware of their surroundings since they’re not insulated in metal box, with a radio playing, talking on a cell phone, windows rolled up, air conditioner on, and so forth. I can hear cars, even the really quiet ones, coming up behind me on a narrow road, and I get over to let them pass (for which they seem very grateful and hopefully I’ve helped establish some good will between motorists and cyclists). Yes, it takes energy to get a car moving again from a full stop, but a bicycle that doesn’t completely stop will do far less damage running into someone than a car would. It’s also easier to stop a bike that’s rolling through an intersection. And let me emphasize the word ROLLING. This is not going to be a license to blow through at your top speed and expect everyone else to get out of your way.
Idaho’s law has been on the books since 1982. That’s a long test period. I think if it wasn’t working they would have repealed it by now.
You can read more (with lots more links to further articles) at Bike Portland’s Web site.