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Stop Sign. Red Light. Do Bicyclists Need to Stop?


It’s a tale as old as time. Thanks to Idaho’s 35 year old law, the answer isn’t as simple as you think.

The stats are pretty scary. There have been over 1,000 bike crashes in the Treasure Valley since 2011, and it may be contributed to the fact that no one truly understands when and where bicyclists need to stop. Officer Blake Slater of Boise PD breaks it down:

The Idaho stop law allows a bicyclist to proceed through a stop sign as if it were a yield sign, and to stop at a red light and then clear that visually and proceed on that red light.

Here’s the catch. Those rules only apply to bicycle riders who are on the street. If you’re riding on the sidewalk, the rules change:

Then those rules come into play that when you get to a stop sign or stop light you’ve got to follow pedestrian rules, and pedestrian rules say you don’t move until that walk light comes on.

Why so much confusion? The law, which is the only state in the U.S. with such a law, was passed all the way back in 1982. So, the last time we updated our bicycle laws in Boise, Kim Kardashian was two years old. Maybe it’s time for a new coat of paint.

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