Treating Stop Signs as Yield Signs in Minnesota?

30 06 2008
Stop signs could mean yield in Minnesota
Minnesota Introduces Bill to allow Bicyclists to treat “Stop” as “Yield”

Minnesota state representatives have recently introduced a bill that would permit bicyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs. When approaching a stop sign, cyclists would be required to slow down enough to be able to stop if necessary.  Bikers would be required to stop if a vehicle is in or approaching the intersection.  But they could proceed through a stop sign without stopping if it would be safe to clear the intersection.  At a red light, bicyclists could also make a right turn, or a left turn onto a one-way street, without stopping.  When there is no vehicle nearby, they could proceed through the intersection after a full stop without waiting for a green light. See the full text of H.F. No. 4245.

This bill was proposed during Bike to Work Week by Minnesota Reps. Phyllis Kahn and Jim Carlson, who are self-identified bicyclists.  The bill is based on current law in Idaho and was introduced to improve bicycle commuting and also addresses the issue that bicycles often don’t activate the pressure plates that trigger traffic signals to change.  The state of Oregon also has a similar law.

It will be interesting to see how this bill will be supported by bicycle and transportation groups.  It appears that the law may provide several benefits to bicycle commuters.  On the other hand, would cyclists push beyond the letter of the law and blow through stop signs with nary a yield?  We’re interested to see what you all think of this law.  Would you support and advocate for the passage of this law?   




13 responses

7 07 2008

Don’t we already do this? If we are officially allowed to roll through stops, would cyclists simply not stop or slow down at all. I know that some bike clubs are not in favor of this law – – – hoping that we will continue to gain respect from motorists if we ride predictably and obey traffic laws.

9 07 2008

I agree that yes, most bicyclists do this, but technically it’s not legal. All vehicles including bikes are required to make a complete stop at all stop signs. I’ve heard this concern as well regarding bicyclists taking a change in the law to mean they could just blow through stop signs or not slow down at all. I think this is a valid concern, but I also have more faith in bicyclists to do the right thing and to not simply disregard the intent of a new law. After all, there are some bicyclists who blow completely through stop signs now, those people would likely continue to do so. But, I believe the vast majority would adhere to the law.

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