Aug 312011

The discussion in VeloReviews podcast #26 about stop signs and the Idaho law reminded me of something I often think when I am riding. But I will get to that in a minute. I agree with the general sentiment on the podcast about stopping when there is traffic. I even take it so far as to stop rather than dart in front of car that I can easily beat. I do this to make a good impression. I know momentum on the bike is valuable but life is precious. Maybe my stopping will save a life, at least I like to think so. Besides the safest thing you can do for yourself is be predictable.

But there are definitely times when I do not stop. I call it Riding In My Own Private Idaho, like the movie Living In My Own Private Idaho. Only my life is not that dark or bizarre. Not stopping is certainly not unique to cyclists. Cars often do a rolling stop. In fact many years ago I received a ticket for not completely stopping at a stop sign in my car. It was really a technicality. I did not pull out in front of any other cars. In fact there were no other cars except the police who was waiting in an inconspicuous spot just to give out tickets. After that I started coming to a full stop at all stop signs. I was nearly rear ended many times. Other drivers do not expect you to fully stop when there is no traffic on the road you are crossing or turning on to. I haven’t been able to decide if a car almost stopping slows down more than a bicycle. Perhaps the bicycle seems to keep moving more because going maybe 1 to 2 mph is a larger percent of normal speed for the bicycle.

What do other people think about the stop sign/rolling stop issue? We know Oregon considered a similar law but I don’t think it is being actively pursued now. Do you know of anywhere else?

In case you can’t figure out what we mean by a rolling stop here is a video done when Oregon was considering it.

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