Idaho-style STOP law
They do things a bit different in Idaho
You may have heard that in the state of Idaho, bike laws are a little different than California. In the state of Idaho, bike traffic is allowed to treat a Stop sign as a Yield -- and a red light as a stop sign. It sounds simple, and a lot of people think it would be a good idea in many other places, like San Francisco. But, the laws in San Francisco require both drivers and people on bike come to complete stop at Stop signs; and stop behind the crosswalk and wait for red lights to turn green. And as always, its essential we all respect the right of way for everyone -- on foot, bike, and in car.
So, why are things different in Idaho? Check out this marvelous video on Bicycles, Rolling Stops, and the Idaho Stop by Spencer Boomhower:
So, why isn't San Francisco more like Idaho? This 2009 SF Streetsblog story, Should California Enact an "Idaho Stop" Law for Cyclists? explains why that type of change isn't quite that simple. And, this 2009 post from Bicycling Magazine blog provides additional information on the topic.
Is anyone working on getting an Idaho-style stop law for California?
Planners at the Metropolitan Transportation Commission were looking at prospects for an Idaho stop law during the summer 2008 but they quickly learned what the SF Bicycle Coalition and others have long known: Changing the law would likely be very difficult, if not politically impossible. In short, San Francisco can't make its own stop sign law because we can't pre-empt California law. So, it would have to be a statewide legislative effort, which would likely be strongly opposed, since most cities and counties don't have the same ridership numbers as San Francisco, and could be percei ved as seeking special treatment for bad behavior on bike. In 2009, the state of Oregon tried to pass a similar bill; once it made it to the floor of the house and became a larger state-wide issue, public opinion turned and politcians received strong opposition and the bill was not passed.
Prioritized Enforcement Policy and Actions in the Bike Plan
While there's no Idaho-style policy for enforcement prioritization in the 2009 SF Bicycle Plan, see Chapter 5 (Enforcement) to learn what San Francisco has committed to as a city. And, in 2012, we released an article on the SFPD priorities to improve safety on our streets titled, Getting Enforcement Right where we urge the SF Police Department to focus its efforts on the most dangerous behavior by road users at the known, most dangerous intersections.