[Click to read this at LA-times] Like many bicycle commuters across America, Kurt Holzer looks at a stop sign and sees a suggestion rather than a command. If the intersection is clear and it’s safe to do so, he rolls right through, sometimes barely slowing down. This makes his commute just a little easier — because coming to a complete stop at intersection after intersection is a momentum killer.
In most places — including Los Angeles — Holzer’s behavior would earn him a ticket (assuming he was caught). But he lives in Boise, a city whose roads are governed by a statute known as the “Idaho stop” law. It dates back to 1982, when an Idaho magistrate judge grew weary of trivial traffic violations clogging his courtroom, and ordered a change to traffic laws that allowed cyclists to treat stop signs as yields.
A personal-injury lawyer specializing in traffic cases, Holzer recently blogged about the law, writing that in his 20 years on the job he has “never seen a car versus bike collision or a bike versus pedestrian collision that was attributable to road users following the stop-as-yield statute.”
There’s a lesson here for Los Angeles, where it seems as though motorists greet every proposal to accommodate bikes with shouts that cyclists don’t deserve anything because they don’t follow the rules of the road.