Many bicyclists in the community fail to obey certain traffic laws. These cyclists just continue riding past stop signs, failing to come to a complete stop or will roll through red lights as though there are no oncoming vehicles. While they may appear to be violating the law, the cyclists may be in the right to do so. This is not to say that abandoning common sense is a good idea. But, research is showing that it might be a little safer for bikers to view red lights as stop signs and stop signs as yield signs. Why you ask?
In 1982, Idaho became the first state to permit cyclists the flexibility they need in handling traffic at intersections, which is why this behavior is referred to as an “Idaho stop.” The rule the state put forward is simple. A bicyclist approaching a stop sign can simply slow down at the intersection to look for traffic. The cyclist must only give up their right-of-way if any passenger vehicle, truck, pedestrian or other bicyclist is present or approaching. If no traffic is present, the bicyclist can proceed slowly using the stop sign to yield instead of stop.
Bicyclists in Idaho can handle red lights similarly but need to come to a complete stop before proceeding. If another bicyclist, pedestrian, motorcycle, passenger car, truck or other vehicle is present or approaching, they are given the right-of-way instead. If no traffic is present, the cyclists can cautiously move ahead into the intersection. This change in the law allows the cyclist to view a red light is a stop sign.