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Transportation Math

Traffic Optimization: Cyclists Should Roll Past Stop Signs, Pause At Red Lights 490

Posted by Soulskill
from the if-they-could-just-stop-texting-i'd-be-happy dept.
Lasrick writes: "Joseph Stromberg at Vox makes a good case for changing traffic rules for bicyclists so that the 'Idaho stop' is legal. The Idaho stop allows cyclists to treat stop signs as yields and red lights as stop signs, and has created a safer ride for both cyclists and pedestrians. 'Public health researcher Jason Meggs found that after Idaho started allowing bikers to do this in 1982, injuries resulting from bicycle accidents dropped. When he compared recent census data from Boise to Bakersfield and Sacramento, California — relatively similar-sized cities with comparable percentages of bikers, topographies, precipitation patterns, and street layouts — he found that Boise had 30.5 percent fewer accidents per bike commuter than Sacramento and 150 percent fewer than Bakersfield.' Oregon was considering a similar law in 2009, and they made a nice video illustrating the Idaho Stop that is embedded in this article."
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Traffic Optimization: Cyclists Should Roll Past Stop Signs, Pause At Red Lights

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  • Thanks Soulskill! (Score:4, Informative)

    by gmhowell (26755) <gmhowell@gmail.com> on Sunday May 11, 2014 @05:50AM (#46971175) Homepage Journal

    There's a classic trollish article for you.

  • by Sqr(twg) (2126054) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @05:58AM (#46971201)

    Clicking through to the actual study, I found this quote: "Boise was 150%-252% safer (2.05-2.52 times safer)." Looks 150% correct to me.

  • Re:As a pedestrian (Score:5, Informative)

    by ThatsMyNick (2004126) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @06:11AM (#46971245)

    Yup, idiots blasting through red lights is a big no. Thankfully that is not what the article or anyone is proposing. In Idaho, red lights can be treated as stop and go for bicyclist. Running red lights is still illegal, and fines are much higher than other states/cities and are enforced. Bicylist are also allowed to make rolling stops at stop signs. Which means slow down, to make sure the intersection is safe, and yield to other vehicles, and if there is no one, just proceed. Blasting through a stop sign is a big no, too.

  • by pslytely psycho (1699190) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @07:51AM (#46971525) Journal
    Growing up in Washington, we always called a rolling stop a California stop. On the premise that California drivers treated stop signs and speed limits as 'suggestions.' (Washington drivers have always been just as guilty, perhaps we called it that to deflect blame?)
      I never heard of an Idaho stop before this article. And I live 30 miles from the Idaho border.
  • Re:damn units (Score:5, Informative)

    by fiziko (97143) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @08:22AM (#46971659) Homepage

    It depends on which you are using at the reference point. If the raw numbers are 40 for city A and 100 for city B, then city A has 150% fewer accidents than city B when city A is the reference point, but 60% fewer when B is the reference point.

  • by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Sunday May 11, 2014 @08:24AM (#46971671) Homepage
    In many developed countries now, road and petrol taxes are essentially punitive taxes: the state wants to make driving more expensive so that more people choose to use public transportation (or cycle) instead. As cyclists are not harming the environment or contributing to gridlock on city roads, then there is no reason they should be expected to pay the tax. Maintenance of roads is out of the general state budget anyway, not just paid from the taxes extracted from drivers.
  • by mellon (7048) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @09:29AM (#46971999) Homepage

    No, this means that you don't understand physics. If I come to a full stop and then go, I am going slower, so the time during which I am exposed to cross traffic is longer, which increases the likelihood that I will get hit. So at two-way stops, any bicyclist with a strong sense of self-preservation and long lines of sight goes through the stop sign without stopping. It doesn't mean that we blast through without slowing down, but we do try to keep as much speed as we safely can. Life is full of tradeoffs...

  • by msauve (701917) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @09:46AM (#46972103)
    "Blinking red lights have not met the uniform traffic code for 50 years"

    That's simply not true as a blanket statement. Where do you live? Certainly not in the US, where the current Federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices [dot.gov] specifically addresses this:

    Flashing red signal indications shall have the following meanings: 1. Vehicular traffic, on an approach to an intersection, facing a flashing CIRCULAR RED signal indication shall stop ... The right to proceed shall be subject to the rules applicable after making a stop at a STOP sign...

    As a quick check, both CA and FL laws reflect that usage, as is to be expected.

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