The video above, which is three years old, outlines how an “Idaho stop” works.
“It recognizes that it takes a lot more energy to stop [at] each block on a bicycle and that it is fair to be able to keep your momentum,” Nicholas Littlejohn wrote in a comment on San Anselmo - Fairfax Patch.
The Idaho law encourages cyclists to responsibly slow down at each stop sign and carefully check for traffic. It doesn’t allow cyclists to blow through stop signs or ignore other’s right of way.
Oregon’s attempts to adopt a similar law failed a few years ago (after the above video was made).
As an occasional cyclist, I understand certain circumstances in which stopping at every sign is really, really annoying. There are other instances, usually busy intersections, where I make sure I always stop for safety reasons.
But, as an Idaho native who lived in the rural state until I moved to the Bay Area four years ago, I also understand the sharp contrasts between Idaho and California.
With the significantly lower number of people (the entire state’s population, around 1.5 million, is a fraction of the Bay Area’s population) come less traffic and less aggressive driving. (I drive like a grandma in California, but driving in Idaho now feels like I’m driving in slow motion.)
I’ve spent countless summers rarely coming to a complete stop while safely biking through downtown Boise and the city’s stop-sign filled neighborhoods. It was the same way cycling in the small college town Moscow, in northern Idaho.
But can that same kind of cycling work in California - where there are so many more cars. Share your thoughts below.
Should California adopt Idaho's model? Explain your answer below.