There is no doubt that with the warmer weather comes more dangers on Idaho’s roads. One of the biggest risks is for bicyclists that do not move as fast as the rest of traffic, or as easily. When on a bicycle, it is much more difficult to bring the bike to a full stop at traffic signs, and then get it moving once again. This causes drivers to become frustrated while waiting for cyclists, at which point they may try to dangerously maneuver around them. Now, there is a new bill looking to change that.
The bill that just passed through the Senate committee may be considered new, but it is not, really. In fact, it is a bill that has been sitting on the shelves of the Senate for nearly 20 years, since 2003. Until recently, it had no amendments made to it and was considered simply a placeholder. Senator Floyd Prozanski though, just drafted an amendment that had the bill back on the table ready for debate.
The bill would allow cyclists to treat stop signs and other signals, such as red flashing lights, as a yield. This means that other vehicles would need to give cyclists the right-of-way, and those bikers could simply roll through the stops. The caveat of the law is that cyclists can only do this if it is safe. As such, they would not be allowed to engage in this practice when going through certain work zones or other times when it is unsafe to do so.
“The fact of the matter is that with so many cyclists on the roads once the warm weather hits, we need to do whatever we can to make it safer for them,” says Bruce Skaug of Skaug Law. “Drivers are still not paying cyclists the attention they should and so, the only way to combat the problem is to give those bikers more rights and freedoms on the road.”
Idaho is the first state to adopt a statute such as this, although Arkansas has a similar law on the books. Now, the bill moves to the Senate floor where, after nearly two decades, many legislators are hoping it will be made into law.