Even those of us who recognize that cyclists are doing the Earth a service by not driving cars, are more vulnerable than people in cars, and try to be considerate of them on the road, cannot help but feel a pang of irritation when they don’t obey the rules of the road such as stopping at stop signs or stop lights and then even if they do, sometimes going through an intersection even when the light is still red.
But Joseph Stromberg says that it makes sense that we should have different rules for cyclists and that Idaho has had such a policy since 1982.
Idaho’s rule is pretty straightforward. If a cyclist approaches a stop sign, he or she needs to slow down and look for traffic. If there’s already a car or another bike there, then the other vehicle has the right of way. If there’s no traffic, however, the cyclist can slowly proceed. Basically, for bikers, a stop sign is a yield sign.
If a cyclist approaches a red light, meanwhile, he or she needs to stop fully. Again, if there’s any oncoming traffic, it has the right of way. If there’s not, the cyclist can proceed cautiously through the intersection. Put simply, red light is a stop sign.
This doesn’t mean that a cyclist is allowed to blast through an intersection at full speed — which is dangerous for pedestrians, the cyclist, and pretty much everyone involved. This isn’t allowed in Idaho, and it’s a terrible idea everywhere.
This makes sense. Cyclists move more slowly than cars, have much better peripheral vision, and are well aware that they will be the loser in any collision with cars making them more likely to use good sense in going through an intersection.