mixed messages

Fact: it is illegal to ride your bike on the sidewalk here.

Fact: people have been issued tickets for this offense.

Fact: it is illegal here for a cyclist not to stop at a stop sign or red light.

Fact: the other day I was riding home from work and saw a police officer directing traffic up ahead at a light that I usually run. So I opted to pause and wait for it to change. However, a young woman riding her bike on the sidewalk in the same direction that I was riding reached the intersection and was waved through it by the cop!

Not only did the cop see her riding on the sidewalk and did nothing about it, but she also waved her through a red light!

What is the point of these so-called laws then when they are not enforced and, in fact, violation of them is even encouraged by law enforcement officers?

Fact: Idaho has a law on the books that says a cyclist is permitted to roll through a red light or stop sign provided the intersection is clear.

All states and cities should have this law. It is ridiculous that a cyclist should have to wait at a light or stop sign if they can pass safely through the intersection. One of the many benefits of cycling in the city is that you can get places quicker than a car. Part of this involves running some red lights and stop signs. And I don’t buy the argument of drivers who say cyclists don’t deserve to be on the roads because they are generally irresponsible (e.g. run stop lights). I see drivers run lights and stop signs ALL THE TIME. But a 2-tjavascript:void(0)on hunk of steel moving through an intersection at 30 mph is WAY more dangerous than a 160 lb person on a 20 lb bike moving at 5 mph. If a cyclist wants to assume the personal risk, then they should be allowed to. But a driver is piloting a deadly weapon capable of killing a person and as such, should be subject to much stricter traffic laws.

This great animated video explains how the Idaho rolling stop law works.

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