A common site in California is bike riders traveling around the state. Oftentimes, you will see a cyclist riding up to a stop sign and looking both ways for any oncoming motor vehicles. If traffic is approaching, they stop. If the road is clear, they will roll through the intersection without a full stop.
Technically, bicyclists failing to stop at a stop sign would be breaking California Law. However, a recent initiative, The Bicycle Safety Stop Law (AB 122), would legalize what is well known as “stop-as-yield.”
Stop-as-yield: A safer alternative
Stop-as-yield is not a new concept. Idaho passed a similar law in 1982. A study done in Delaware found that collisions in intersections decreased by nearly 25 percent after legalization.
Those in favor tout safer streets where expectations of all types of vehicle operators are well known. Passing and enacting stop-as-yield laws is only the first step. Awareness campaigns are paramount as they can educate on the purpose of what some will presume is an illegal, if not dangerous, act.
Supporters also see the law as a way to reduce possible conflicts that occur between bicyclists and motor vehicle operators. Many drivers of cars and trucks see bicycles on the road as nuisances. Some go as far as to harass and threaten cyclists. A few make good on their taunts and commit violent acts both in and outside of their motor vehicles.
Currently, neighboring states have adopted similar laws that California has been slow to enact. Passage means that bikers who travel from state to state can continue the “stop-and-yield” maneuver without worrying about breaking the law or upsetting motor vehicle operators.
More harmony on the roads could result in greater respect for others combined with safer streets.