[MissoulaGov] Bikes Yield at Stop Signs?

Bob Giordano mist at strans.org
Tue Jun 5 08:26:41 MDT 2007

Regarding bikes yielding at stop signs: I'm forwarding some emails from
this past legislative session to shine some more light on the issue..

*email 1, some background on what was proposed, from January '07:*


This is a link to a bill that would allow cyclists to proceed through stop
signs and (in some instances) red lights, if it is safe, without coming to
a complete stop.

This seems to be a good bill- for safety and for equity of cycling.

At stop signs, most often it is not necessary to come to a complete stop,
only necessary to yield. A cyclist, with the way derailers work, benefits
immensely from slight momentum, instead of starting from a dead stop.
Yet, most importantly perhaps, is that cyclists, unlike drivers, can
readily determine if stopping, yielding or proceeding is appropriate (all
the senses of a cyclist are strongly engaged).

At red lights, it is sometimes much safer to proceed through the
intersection instead of waiting for traffic to build up. Many cyclists
(and peds) are injured or killed at stop lights each year due to
inattentive driving. (replacing signals with modern single lane
roundabouts would likely be a better step).

This bill seems to promote personal responsibility on the part of
cyclists. We (society) have become so used to lights and signs directing
traffic flow that we have forgotten that we all do share the road and have
responsibility to use it properly and cooperatively.

What do others think??

-Bob Giordano, MIST

*email 2, the final status of the bill, around Feb. '07*

The 'bikes yield' bill (sponsored by Robin Hamilton, and based on a
similar law passed in Idaho) did not go through- a big reason, apparently,
was the msla police opposed it. But then, they withdrew their opposition
after talking to police in Idaho that said it was a 'non-issue' for them
(but the bill had already died).

Bikes yielding at stop signs, esp. neighborhoods, makes good sense.
Traffic signals are more complex of an issue. MIST is working hard to 1-
replace signals with single lane roundabouts where appropriate and 2- make
sure signals are designed with peds and bikes at the forefront of safety.


Should there be a movement to get this bill, or similar, passed in the
2009 legislature? Should it be just stop signs, or include red lights
like Idaho's law?

thanks, -Bob Giordano, MIST

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