WEATHER »

In Praise of the ‘Idaho Stop’


Nick Welsh’s article about the traffic ticket he earned by ignoring the stop sign at an intersection while riding his bike resonated with me.

I am a short-distance bike commuter. In this climate and in this city I have found it the most convenient way to get to appointments, stores, and leisure spots. I agree with Nick’s remarks about the inefficiency of the law requiring bicycles to halt at stop signs even when the intersection is clear.

When I arrive at a four-way stop and there are no other vehicles at the other three signs, it makes much better sense for me to proceed without stopping. If I stop, a vehicle may show up at one of the other signs, and then we have a game of “chicken.” As the first person to arrive at the stop, I am trying to guess whether the arriving vehicle will recognize my right to go first through the intersection, while that driver is probably irritated that a bicycle is impeding their progress. If I’ve had to stop on an uphill slope, I’m going to be even slower getting through the intersection, causing yet more irritation to the other driver and somewhat delaying my progress.

It would allow more efficient traffic flows if California would follow the example of other states by allowing a bicycle arriving at an intersection that is empty of other traffic to continue legally without stopping.

To submit a comment on this article, email letters@independent.com or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email tips@independent.com.



event calendar sponsored by:

County Half-Jokes It Wants Cannabis ‘World Domination’

A government executive implores growers to get legal before time runs out.

Oversized Vehicle Parking Ban Extended

New rule affects Isla Vista, Vandenberg Village, and Butterfly Beach.

Alvarado Endorsed by Capps, Lurie for School Board

He's running against seven other people for two open seats.

Latinos Are Being Pushed Out of Santa Barbara in Droves

New census data shows their population has shrunk by 24 percent since 2011.

Police Suspend Public Sleeping Laws

The non-enforcement comes in response to a new court ruling.