Rolling Stops: an idea who’s time has come…for everyone

Idaho law that allows cyclists to treat stop signs as yield sign is just common sense

Let’s face it. Stop signs were meant for car drivers. They don’t make sense for forms of transportation that are slower than powered vehicles and that rely on alternate forms of propulsion. They also don’t make sense in other cultures. You rarely see a stop sign outside of North America. So why should stop sign apply to everyone?

It doesn’t make sense that a bike, which travels at slower speeds and relies on muscle energy to get rolling again, has to stop at all stop signs. Yet the law, which, rightly, treats a bicycle as a vehicle, says they have to. But bikes are not like cars. To get a car going again all it takes is a flex of your ankle (and the generation of a bucket load of CO2 and other pollutants). To get going again on a bike, takes a pile of muscle energy: energy that was lost coming to a full stop in order to comply with car-centric laws. It is time we pushed for a “cyclist rolling stop” amendment to the Highway Traffic Act in Ontario.

Here is a brilliant video, created to support the adoption of such an act in Oregon.

Of course, like in Oregon, the car culture defenders are going to come out swinging, arguing that cyclists (those of the pinko, “me-me-me” stripe) want special rights, but these arguments reflect simplistic, shallow thinking. Rolling stop laws respect the rights of everyone to right-of-way (in fact the Orgeon proposal increases fines for those that don’t). They don’t allow anyone special privileges. They just allow for an intelligent recognition that different forms of transportation need different regulations.

Is it possible to get something like this in Ontario? How about you help start the ball rolling?