An ‘Idaho Stop’ for Florida?

Across our state, people (advocates and politicians, planners and regular folk) are considering pursuing a change to state law that would allow people on bikes to yield at Stop signs rather than simply be required to stop. We’ve been asked for our support and think it could be a good idea. It works in Idaho – would it work here?

People on bikes have a better view of the road coming into intersections (no blind spots or giant metal engine buffer in front of them). They can also hear oncoming traffic better and many people who bicycle feel that coming to a complete stop only frustrates motorists behind them since it can take some people on bikes more time to regain lost momentum.

Such a law would still require a person to yield at stop signs and would still allow a cyclist to come to a complete stop. Support for this kind of change is stirring up a lot of talk among planners, advocates and FDOT officials. What do you think?

As we mentioned here recently, we do not support rolling through Stops, but we know why many of you already do it when you feel it is safe. If you think you should be allowed to roll through Stop Signs, check out this breakdown of the ‘Idaho Law‘ and let us know if this is a priority for you. That makes it a priority for us, too.

Ride Safely and please remember that whenever you ride, you are a role model for better bicycling.

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About Kathryn Moore / South Florida Bike Coalition

I'm the President of the South Florida Bike Coalition - a 100% volunteer organization of people dedicated to using their skills and experience to effect more, better bicycling from the Keys to Martin County.

15 thoughts on “An ‘Idaho Stop’ for Florida?

  1. Yes yes yes! Definitely a priority for me. Coming to complete stop is so dreadful, especially when I’m trying to maintain a certain speed (or heart rate).

  2. Opposed. Not all stop signs are Created equaL I can see the “rolling stop” working for stop terciary roads but given the major roadways that many South Florida cyclists ride rolling through many if not most could be deadly especially given the manner in which an awful lot of drivers also view stop signs.

    • Yield means to give intersecting traffic the right of way. Sometimes that will mean that you will have to stop (at intersecting streets with constant traffic flow). If someone is dumb and tries to take on that traffic and risk his/her life, that’s up to the person.

    • Agree with Jeff. Some stop signs MAY be good candidates for Idaho Stops, provided that it is reasonably safe to do so. That is much easier said than done. It requires good visibility at the intersection, a low automobile traffic volume and many other factors including pedestrians, proximity to schools and traffic rules specific to the area or city.

      “Having” the ROW is a dangerous idea to have, especially on a bicycle. The cemetery’s full of people that had the ROW.

      In a perfect world Idaho Stops may work nicely. This is South Florida.

      Ride safe!

  3. When cyclists fail to come to a complete stop at stop signs (and when mortorists turn right on red without coming to a complete stop) it creates a dangerous situation for pedestrians.

  4. To be clear: Florida Bicycle Association has not endorsed the “Idaho stop” for Florida.

    Personally speaking, I am against it and will recommend so to the rest of FBA’s board.

    If you wish to be treated as equals on the road, behave as equals. If you want respect, act respectably. Asking or demanding to make one’s illegal behavior legal just because it’s more convenient for you doesn’t fulfill either of those.

    Mighk Wilson
    Vice-president, Florida Bicycle Association

    • This, coming from the same organization that completely dropped the ball on HB971, the organization which is supposed to be the watchdog for all Florida cyclists and FAILED to see that it was being pushed through the legislature until it was too late.

      Thanks, FBA.

      Know that a lot of us, you lost all credibility. Your opinion is worthless.

      Yes to the Idaho Law.

  5. I am in favor of the Idaho Stop.

    If Florida adopted an Idaho Stop, I doubt that it would be applied to every intersection, just as Stop signs are not applied to every intersection. The use of a rolling stop would need to be applied with careful consideration, on a case-by-case basis. There are many intersections that would benefit from this law, allowing better traffic flow for motorists and bicyclists alike. My experience with tertiary roads and in small downtown areas has been that motorists become extremely exasperated by my pace when I stop at every block ~ especially where I control the only lane due to lane width and other circumstances. I know the road is the safest place for me to ride ~ safest for me and for pedestrians.

    Please don’t assume that I behave without respect just because I support this law; I obey the law, and I always have.

    Personally, I was hit by a motorist who failed to yield. She was turning right, looking left, and failed to stop at a red light. Even though there are motorists in the world who behave this way, I am still in favor of the Right Turn on Red After Stop…

  6. Case-by-case is unworkable. The sign used above is confusing. Does it mean motorists yield to bicyclists, or that bicyclists can treat the sign as a yield? If one can imagine more than one interpretation for a sign, it’s certain that some people will make the wrong interpretation.

    The sad reality is that bicyclists are all lumped together. I obey the law, but get harassed by motorists who are ticked off at other cyclists who violate it.

    The Idaho stop would only aggravate motorist attitudes towards cyclists: “You guys didn’t want to obey the law, so you had it changed just for you.”

    The real problem is the excessive and unwarranted use of stop signs by local government traffic engineers. Such signs are installed for political reasons, not for sound engineering reasons.

    Saying you support a law even though some people violate it is nonsensical. Of course some people violate it. All laws are violated. Using that reasoning you should be against the Idaho stop. The law says cyclists must stop and some (many) cyclists violate it, so you should support the existing stop sign law.

    Right on red was not instituted because motorists were already doing it; it was done to reduce fuel consumption.

  7. SFBC, please continue to support this initiative. Evidently, from reading this thread, only the Florida Bicycle Association seems to have a different priority.

    While the FBA is busy publishing newsletters filled with pictures of awards and social events, laws like HB971 are passed in Tallahassee without any opposition. The FBA has failed us and has no credibility in many cyclist’s eyes. It is completely out of touch with reality.

    Thank you for taking a progressive, open minded approach on this matter.

  8. I’m for the idaho stop. We ride in packs for safety, it’s the safety in numbers mentality that even nature follows (herds, schools, prides, etc…) Making each person in the pack come to a complete stop breaks up the pack, putting our lives in danger. The forward pack must stop and wait on the road for the rest of us to cross or continue on and hope we can catch up and regroup.

    If it’s a single rider or commuter, then stopping his momentum only aggravates the drivers behind him. I know I’m not going to speed up for a block if I know I have to come to a complete stop. I will essentially coast to the stop sign and then stop. I know this pisses drivers off but I’m not wasting my fuel accelerating to only have to stop a block later.

  9. I only read a few but I support it and believe it is a priority. Even some motorists that don’t ride will agree that if that is the law they will go along with it.
    On a separate note: I agree that cars have more than just go and stop. Rolling is also an energy efficient mode.

    Ride safe!!!

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