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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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  • stopping vs yielding (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Firethorn (177587) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @06:38AM (#46971337) Homepage Journal

    So, have you ridden a bicycle in a commuting type situation? I've read before that converting many stop signs to yield signs, even for cars, would save all sorts of energy without significant increases in accidents.

    With a bicycle it's all about energy conservation. When I'm biking it takes me significantly longer to get up to speed, and my top speed is still well below that of the vast, vast majority of cars.

    As such, I typically have much longer to assess an intersection before I reach it, my stopping distance is extremely short, but if you make me stop it extends the time I'll be in the intersection when I DO cross significantly. If I'm allowed to use a stop sign as a yield, I'll attempt to time my passage such that I'll cross near my maximum speed, clearing the intersection expediently. Being through quicker reduces the chances I'll be involved in an accident there.

    As a bonus, this way I'm less in driver's way, making me less likely to piss them off.

  • by pslytely psycho (1699190) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @07:28AM (#46971447) Journal
    Yes, when I lived in Santa Clara, I did.

    As a driving instructor, I have a hard time with 'treating a stop sign as yield," and yes, I know that colors my opinion.

    Also, I think a lot of my opinion springs from the gal I hit last summer who slowed for a stop sign and decided (in her words to the cop) "I thought I could make it."
    Fortunately I slammed my brakes and the impact was at a relatively slow speed, so no injuries.

    I realize the 'idea' is to proceed 'only when clear.' Of course you only notice the stupid ones, not the ones who do it safely.

    Most likely, I've simply entered the 'old fogey set in his ways period of life......'
  • Many polite people (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GlobalEcho (26240) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @08:56AM (#46971801)

    As a cyclist who commutes year-round in Chicago, I just want to give a little shout out to the motorists, who are almost all incredibly polite. It's human nature for us to notice and remember the jerks (and I recall a few) but the incredibly vast majority of motorists are accommodating, friendly, and (when paying attention) cautious.

    If I have one request of motorists, it's to get off the cell phones, something I am sure every road user -- pedestrian, cyclist and motorist agrees with.

  • by mellon (7048) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @09:26AM (#46971989) Homepage

    The Idaho rolling stop law doesn't make taking your right of way legal. In fact, it makes it illegal. The proposed Oregon law increases the penalty for doing it. If you got to the intersection first in your car, you get the right of way. This is how I treat stop signs when I'm on my bike: if a car got there first, I stop. Unfortunately, they then usually motion me to go, which is really annoying, because I already stopped, so they aren't doing me a favor, but they think they are, so I have to be nice about it. One of the arguments in favor of the rolling stop law is that it avoids this annoying dance—drivers know what the law is, and are more likely to follow it, and so do bicyclists. The problem with the law in many states now is that it's bogus, so bicyclists and drivers collaborate to violate it.

    It's really funny when someone says "I'm a professional, so my opinion matters more than the data." Well, maybe funny is the wrong word.

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