State Capitol News
4:25 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

New Legislation Could Allow Bicyclists to Treat Stop Signs as Yield Signs

A House panel voted this morning to let bicyclists pretty much ignore stop signs. Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer explains.

The legislation would let bicyclists treat stop signs as yield signs -- meaning they would need to stop only if there were cross traffic. Otherwise they could keep rolling. State Rep. Eric Meyer, a cycling enthusiast himself, told colleagues that having to come to a full stop is actually dangerous. That's because most serious cyclists actually clip their feet onto the pedals.

"You can clip out. But it takes a second," Meyer said. "So what you described is you're balancing at a stop sign after you clip out, if you don't clip out soon enough, you tip over and a car will hit you then."

Other supporters of the measure said changing the law does not give cyclists an excuse to be reckless. They pointed out the legislation says if someone on a bicycle blows through a stop sign and causes an accident, the driver of the other vehicle is not at fault. That provided little comfort for Rep. Jerry Weiers.

"It might be safer for you, you feel, if you're allowed to roll through those," Weiers said. "And, if, in fact, you roll through it and cause an accident, you're the one that's in trouble. You're the one at fault. But what about the guy that hits you. He has to live with that the rest of his life."

The requirement to stop would remain for cyclists younger than 16. But Weiers said that two-tiered system makes no sense, as it means adults will have to tell children to do as I say and not as I do.  For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.