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INFRASTRUCTURE: ‘Idaho stop’ is one hot potato


The part of this whole debate that drives me nuts is the double standard between bikes and cars.  Everyone jumps all over cyclists when they don’t come to a complete stop at a stop sign on a deserted residential street… but don’t worry about it if cars do it… and EVERY car does it… all the time… unless another car is at the intersection.

Go. Sit at a quiet intersection. Count the cars that come to a complete stop.  I bet, out of 100 cars, you could count the complete stops on one hand.

The rolling stop — it’s an idea that cycling advocates say could encourage more riders, ease bicycle commuting and make riding more efficient. Besides, many riders already do it, much to the outrage of the public.

Among cyclists it’s known as the “Idaho stop,” after the state that first legalized the practice in 1982. Since then, bike riders in the potato state have been told to treat stop signs as yields — allowing them to proceed without coming to a full stop if the way is clear. It’s a policy that cycling advocates across North America and in Toronto have been eyeing enviously.

“Amongst the advocacy community and amongst cyclists, it’s been talked about for years,” said Jared Kolb, executive director of Cycle Toronto. “Very few cyclists that I know come to a complete stop at four-way stops when the coast is clear.

Read More: Big Ideas: ‘Idaho stop’ is one hot potato