The rules of the road exist for a reason: to ensure that all the people using the road are doing so as safely as possible. These rules apply not only to cars but to motorcycles and bikes as well.
The rules of the road exist for a reason: to ensure that all the people using the road are doing so as safely as possible.
These rules apply not only to cars but to motorcycles and bikes as well. In fact, the only reason that cyclists are allowed to share the road with cars is because they agree to follow the same rules of the road that drivers follow.
A new bill going through the Oregon Legislature would allow cyclists to flout one of the very rules that is designed to protect them. House Bill 2690, more commonly known as the “Idaho Stop” bill, would allow cyclists to treat a stop sign as a yield sign if it is safe to do so. This bill sends the wrong message to both drivers and cyclists.
Driving is not a right, it is a privilege. Though riding a bike may be more of a right than a privilege, sharing the road with drivers is not. A number of cyclists do not seem to understand that traffic laws are made to protect them, because sharing the road with objects weighing probably 10 times more than them, and going much faster, is inherently dangerous.
Leaving the safety of cyclists up to individual discretion is not only unfair but also dangerous. The ambiguity of “if it is safe to do so” leaves too much room for interpretation. It is not difficult to imagine instances where a car would be forced to stop unsafely so that a cyclist could run a stop sign, which is essentially what is being discussed.
Why is it suddenly unfair to ask cyclists to obey the same laws that everyone else does? Some cyclists seem to have developed a certain sense of entitlement and, dare I say, smugness. This law would certainly not help matters, nor would it help create positive relations between drivers and cyclists.
Many proponents of this law, including chief lobbyist for the Bicycle Transportation Alliance Karl Rohde, say that this law makes sense because everyone already does it, so it might as well be legal. With an argument that like, it comes as little surprise that Rohde was recently fired from the BTA. This type of argument usually doesn’t go very far before falling apart, and a better one has not yet been given.
Cars often roll past stop signs in suburban areas with little traffic and even in busy streets. Be that as it may, I would bet that a similar law for cars would be thrown out immediately. But “everyone” does it, don’t they?
What other concessions shall we make for cyclists that sacrifice their safety for the sake of convenience? An Idaho Stop bill for red lights? Or perhaps motorcycles should be allowed to do rolling stops as well. A calculator would be needed to add up all the times I have seen a cyclist run a red light, so I guess everyone is doing it. According to Rohde’s logic, I suppose it makes sense to legalize it then.
Like it or not, using and sharing the road means that one must obey the rules of road. Whether on a motorcycle, moped, scooter or a skateboard the laws are the same and should be followed. It is actually more important for those who are not encased in steel with airbags in front of them to follow the rules, because they are in more danger of being injured.
The proposed law is not only unfair, it is ultimately unsafe and could set a dangerous precedent for future laws of this sort. Portland has a great number of avid cyclists, surely more than most, if not all, of the cities in Idaho where this is already legal. Allowing cyclists to legally flout well-established rules endangers everyone on the road.