A new law in Oregon allows bicycle riders to slide through stop signs at intersections without coming to a full stop after first yielding to right-of-way traffic.
The law, Senate Bill 998, went into effect on Jan. 1, 2020. It enables bicyclists to treat stop signs as “yield” signs; it does not apply to stop lights.
Oregon follows a path started by Idaho in 1982. Since then, sliding through a stop sign — whether legally or not — has become known as an Idaho Stop. Only Delaware and Arkansas have similar laws on the books, although a few cities have adopted such laws.
Although there was debate over whether the law would make streets less safe for bicyclists, a 2010 UC-Berkeley study — Bicycle Safety and Choice — found that bicycling was 30% more safe in Idaho than in states that didn’t have the law. It also found bicycling injuries dropped 14.5% in the year after passage.
Bicyclists see and hear well, but are often not seen and rarely heard. Thus cyclists behave defensively, relying on their own senses and not those of others, choosing intersection traversals minimizing risk – as opposed to waiting in queue, relying on others’ perception for their safety.Bicycle Safety and Choice
Bicycling magazine said the study found that “stopping discourages bicycling, substantially increasing time, energy expenditure, discomfort, risk of collisions and risk for strain and overuse injuries.”
The report found that bicyclists “are uniquely able to choose their own most safe crossing times” at intersections.