It's getting increasingly contentious out there on the roads of Marin County between cyclists and motorists, which is ironic, given this area's long history of mountain and road biking! It can be annoying when cyclists ride erratically, unpredictably and unsafely, but as a driver, I have never felt my life was endangered by a cyclist. On the other hand, it seems like every time I get on my bike in Marin, I'm risking death or injury. That's not ok. Cyclists (especially kids!!) deserve to be safe and protected while using public infrastructure. Read on to learn more about the "Idaho Stop" and what other communities are doing to address these issues.
At camp, we teach our campers how to ride safely in a pack and be predictable. We also, with local police permission, use our radios to clear intersections and roll through stop signs as a group. This is much safer for the kids, and much faster and more efficient for drivers. Can you imagine if each one of our kids stopped and put a foot down at each stop sign? The traffic backup would be a nightmare! Well, that is just what happened back in July when cyclists in San Francisco staged a protest.
After the SFPD announced a crackdown on cyclists rolling through stop signs, hundreds of riders showed up at The Wiggle and followed the letter of the law. Irate drivers and traffic backups ensued. Read more about it here, and watch the video. According to SF Weekly,
"Cyclists, along with a growing number of organizations and local politicians, believe bike riders shouldn't be legally treated like cars, but rather treated as what they are — bikers. There's been a growing call for the city and California to adopt what is known as the "Idaho Stop" law. Since 1982, Idaho has permitted cyclists to treat stop signs as yields and red lights as stop signs, which allows bikers to conserve energy, clear intersections faster, and become more visible (and thus safer) by getting in front of traffic."
Learn more about the Idaho Stop, which many bike activists say we need in California & San Francisco (and Marin??). But for now, please remind your cyclist/student to stop at stop signs and follow all the rules. Let's keep it safe and get along out there!