Cyclists Fighting Stop Signs in San Francisco

'It feels like the Wild West'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 21, 2015 6:48 PM CDT
Cyclists Fighting Stop Signs in San Francisco
San Francisco is considering a controversial ordinance that would allow cyclists to roll through stop signs as long as no other traffic is present.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

How would you feel about being able to legally roll through a stop sign while riding a bike? Your answer to that question probably depends on whether you're a cyclist or a driver. The New York Times reports San Francisco is considering a controversial ordinance that would allow bicycles to treat all stop signs like yield signs, meaning they don't have to stop if no other traffic is present. The ordinance, which should be voted on in the coming months, is seen as another skirmish in the ongoing war between cars, bicycles, and pedestrians in the swelling metropolis. "It feels like the Wild West because there are so many people in the city right now," one pro-bike activist tells the Times.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports the ordinance has the support of a majority of city supervisors, but the mayor has promised to veto it. "New laws should enhance public safety, not create potential conflicts," the mayor says. However, Idaho has had a similar law since 1982 and has found it improves things for both cyclists and drivers with few accidents and even fewer complaints. "It's not something people here even talk about," a Boise bicycle officer tells the Chronicle. The so-called "Idaho stop" is also legal in parts of Colorado, but that's it, according to the Times. Similar bills recently failed to get support in Oregon, Arizona, and Montana. But people on both sides of the issue agree something needs to be done to ease traffic conflicts in San Francisco, where there are an estimated 70,000 and growing bike trips every weekday. (More bicycling stories.)

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