BluesCat is a resident of Phoenix, Arizona, who originally returned to bicycling in 2002 in order to help his son get the Boy Scout Cycling merit badge. His bikes sat idle until the summer of 2008 when gas prices spiked at over $4.00 per gallon. Since then, he has become active cycling, day-touring, commuting by bike, blogging (azbluescat.blogspot.com) and giving grief to the forum editors in the on-line cycling community.
A bill currently in the Arizona State House of Representatives, called HB2211, would change Arizona traffic law to mirror the Idaho Stop as Yield law.
The bill is currently in the Rules Committee, and there is the possibility that the head of that committee, Jerry Weiers (R-Glendale), may allow it to languish there because he opposes it.
Rather than go into the contents and the history of the law, I’ll just repeat here the contents of an email I sent to Representative Weiers:
January 29, 2012
Dear Mr Weiers:
As a bicycle commuter, I know how important it is to maintain momentum for efficiency and safety while riding. Stopping and starting a bicycle elevates the physical and mental demands on the rider, and when that happens the rider’s attention is diverted away from the road in much the same way as a cell phone call or text message diverts a driver’s attention.
In 1982, the state of Idaho helped to mitigate this problem by instituting what is known as the Idaho Stop as Yield law. Essentially, bicyclists treat stops signs as yield signs, and are allowed to slow down and roll through stop signs without stopping if the way is clear.
Note that this law does NOT permit a bicyclist to simply blow through a stop sign without slowing and properly yielding the right-of-way. As a responsible bicyclist, I do not approve of scofflaw bike riders who ignore such basic rules of safety on the roadways.
In the almost thirty years since the Stop as Yield law’s inception in Idaho, the fears regarding its encouraging such scofflaws have proven to be unfounded. There has been no discernible increase in accidents and/or fatalities related to the law. The success of the law has actually encouraged other states to look at instituting their own Stop as Yield law.
My understanding is that HB2211 (bicycles; yield at stop signs) was recommended for passage by the House Transportation Committee, and is currently waiting in the Rules Committee, of which you are chairman. I encourage you, and the Rules Committee, to forward this bill on with a recommendation for approval.
I know from my own experience that bicycling in Arizona, whether for pleasure or as an alternative to driving a car, is a wonderful way to get around. I believe the evidence has shown that a Stop as Yield law would encourage even more people to ride. If more people would commute by bike, it would help fight the brown cloud of pollution in Phoenix which headlined the front page of today’s Arizona Republic.
I would be happy to discuss this further with you if you would like more information or if you have any questions.
I do not know why Mr. Weiers would be opposed to this bill, since he rides a Harley Davidson and so would certainly be familiar with the challenges of going on two wheels in traffic. I hope I hear from him.
Editor’s Note: HB2211 is sponsored by State Representative Daniel Patterson (D-Tucson), who has been trying to get this law passed for four years.
One of our Facebook Fans reminded us of this video explaining the “Idaho Stop:”