SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A bill making its way through the state Capitol aims to cut down on crashes across California by allowing bicyclists to roll through stop signs. But, many are questioning the safety of both cyclists and drivers.
They’re one of the most recognized rules of the road, but a new law wants to give bicyclists the green light to essentially run stop signs.
Jim Brown, executive director of the Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates, said, “It makes bicycling a little more efficient. You’re not stopping at every block.”
Under Assembly Bill 1103, if the coast is clear, cyclists can skip a full stop and roll through stop signs. The bill is based on an Idaho law adopted in 1982. A study shows in Boise, bicycling accidents are 30 percent fewer than in Sacramento. Both cities have similar sized cycling populations.
Assemblyman Jay Obernolte (R-Bear Lake) said: “This is just a judgment call on behalf of the bicyclist.”
Obernolte co-authored the bill and says it makes the road safer, limiting the amount of time cyclists will have to spend in intersections.
“They’re exposed twice as long to unseen vehicular traffic, which is the number one cause of bicycling accidents,” , said Obernolte.
Critics call it an accident waiting to happen.
One resident said, “My concern is even if you don’t see anybody there, it doesn’t mean there won’t be somebody there.”
Some cyclists, including Obernolte, admit to already breaking existing law from time to time and say the new bill will help prevent tragedies.
“If we can prove that overwhelmingly this is going to be safer for bicyclists and motoris than that means it’s got to be a good thing,” said Obernolte.
If passed, the law would not change the right of way for whoever comes to a stop sign first. The bill is set to go before the Assembly Transportation Committee on Monday.