Should California Adopt Idaho’s “Stop as Yield” Bike Law?

Or perhaps what we all need is just to practice tolerance, as Marin County Bicycle Coalition Advocacy Director Andy Peri told the Fairfax Town Council Sept. 5.


Some insightful and thoughtful dialogue has come from our recent update on the Fairfax Police’s recent crackdown on cyclists running stop signs.

This summer, a few commenters, including transportation blogger David Edmondson, route: {:controller=>"users", :action=>"show", :id=>"david-edmondson"} -->, suggested California adopt Idaho’s “Stop as Yield” bike law.   had to say on the article

Larry Ericson September 18, 2012 at 01:03 AM
Cars now have: Power steering, disc brakes, smaller blind spots and smaller chassis Drivers now have: tighter insurance regulations, higher training requirements, stricter DUI laws, and stricter remedial education Cyclists now have: better helmets, much better brakes, sport specific sunglasses I think your "golden years" subjective view doesn't hold water... moreover, if Fairfax becomes known as the "Smart Stop" town, drivers will adapt.
Larry Ericson September 18, 2012 at 01:21 AM
I think John is right...the problem with the law is that its called the "Idaho" law...connoting open farms roads, cows and potatoes. We need to change the name. I nominate "Farifax Smart Stop".
C Ross September 18, 2012 at 01:54 AM
Larry, Do you seriously believe that horses and bicycles have been co-existing for thousands of years? If so, I'm not sure that you're the one who should be dictating what constitutes "common sense" to the rest of us. Fairfax is not Idaho, BTW, but a small town that is becoming too congested and too big for itself (in several ways). Yes, there is car traffic too, and some drivers are irresponsible and nasty, as well. But what's the point? If you're sharing a busy, congested road, you have to simply do that. SHARE. As in everybody being courteous and respectful and following the same rules. Fairfax doesn't need any experiments with people intentionally going through stop signs. There are already plenty doing it, sometimes with devastating consequences. My own son, for example, was hit and knocked over on his bike by a Safe Routes to School bicycle safety instructor, with the crazy, entitled "I can do what I want because I am Bike Rider" attitude that too many people here have. Thank God he wasn't killed, just pretty bruised and shaken up. But this is not the only near tragedy, that could have simply been avoided: Stop at Stop signs. Cars too. Why is that so hard to do? PS All this talk about "free range" makes me think of an old Bonanza episode I saw recently. No bikes, but horses, wagons, and GUNS. Good old fashioned brawls and fun. Woo hoo, I don't have to stop, outta my way, bang, bang, yee ha!
C Ross September 18, 2012 at 02:02 AM
By the way, since Fairfax has been cracking down on cyclists violating rules of the road, I personally have noticed many more courteous cyclists. Just yesterday when I was trying to cross the street, a cyclists stopped at the crosswalk and greeted me, just as a car when zipping by and almost hit me. We still have a long ways to go, but all this coverage in the media is actually helping, not hurting. And we shouldn't have to wait until more people -- cyclists, drivers, pedestrians -- get hurt (or killed) before we ALL start trying harder to make things safer for everyone.
Bill Stevensen September 18, 2012 at 04:47 AM
This is a very interesting proposal worthy of discussion and civil debate. I think we generally agree on three things: 1) that single occupant fossil fuel powered vehicles are not sustainable, 2) that bicycles offer highly efficient green transportation, exercise and fun, and 3) that laws should meet the needs of today's citizens. It is imperative that we figure out how to make cycling a viable transportation option for the masses, while simultaneously ensuring the safety of pedestrians, vehicles, and the cyclists themselves. We Marinites pride ourselves on our ingenuity, integrity, and commitment to creating a better future for our children and their planet. I think Marin has an opportunity to be a thought/action leader here and the "Fairfax Smart Stop" is a brilliant place to start. Jessica, maybe you could start a thread/section where we could (civilly) outline the basic requirements of the "smart stop" and then reach out to the larger community for consensus. This is a real opportunity for us to come together and create something lasting. The "roundabout" has finally caught on here and, while initially controversial, is widely credited with alleviating both congestion and collision. The "smart stop" could be just as revolutionary (pun intended). Let's at least give it a fair forum for discussion. Respectfully, Bill
Larry Ericson September 18, 2012 at 04:48 AM
Cindy, carts, horses, camels and elephants (and bicycles for the past 200 years) have been co-existing. Secondly, I didn't "dictate", I "proposed an experiment". Thirdly, I didn't use an anecdotal story (about your son crashing his bike because a safety instructor ran him down? Did this result in the safety instructor being fired? Is it documented in the public record). I thought I recall you posting that you were almost run down and your dogs were grazed... are you guys just magnets for bikers? Now cars are trying to hit you too? Seems there is one constant in this situation that might be to blame. If you don't want to run my experiment, how about we look at the statistics. First, as for your comparison to Idaho: There are 22 towns in Idaho with a population greater than fairfax and 11 with a population density higher than Marin. Secondly, why not pull the data on the number of bicycle vs pedestrian and bicycle vs automobile accidents in Fairfax vs Idaho vs the national average. My suspicion is that you’ll find this perceived attribution to bad bikers a selection bias…you are looking for it. Finally, this “Crack down on all of them” reminds me of that talk in the ‘70s that “all senior citizens should be required to live in the desert (Palm Springs, Sun City, etc)” because they are clogging up the towns for the “productive people”. As a senior, I am opposed to any of these blanket bans… let life live. Joe Biden 2016
Madeline Lovejoy September 18, 2012 at 11:21 PM
Fairfax is not a large town. What if bikers had to dismount their bicycles in the main center and then get back on once they have safely made it across town. We all talk about trying to make Marin a "leader" and "pioneer" in the country. How about a town where people are walking their bicycles among the shoppers and people walking around. Everyone could say hello to each other. We could call it the "Fairfax Love Walk" Sounds so much more Marin than an oppressive "Smart Stop" name. Maybe even Larry Ericson and Cindy Ross could meet, learn they have things in common and become friends. Larry could bring Cindy on a bike ride outside of town and Cindy could bring Larry shopping. Peace and love to all, Madeline "Maddie" Lovejoy
C Ross September 19, 2012 at 12:19 AM
Maddie, I do understand your wanting love and peace and stuff, but that does nothing to address the traffic and safety issues involved in a small town that wasn't designed for all the car traffic, let alone cars and bikes completing in the same road space. I'm really not the ogre that some think, nor are we "magnets" looking for trouble, like Larry seems to be suggesting. We live in a corner house, where the street is used as a bike path, but there is no sidewalk for pedestrians. Since we are close to a number of stores and restaurants, etc., I usually prefer to walk, rather than take my car. I also have a dog that I believe I have a right to walk in my own neighborhood. Sure, meeting new people is always nice, but honestly I'm not sure that I really care to be "friends" with someone who clearly doesn't understand my concerns, and really isn't willing to listen (without blaming and preaching). Or doesn't believe that this is a problem, just that there is something wrong with me. Streets for People was nice, and for the most part people walked their bikes around pedestrians. But in my daily life, cyclists that have the courtesy to stop at signs and not enter crosswalks when I'm in them, as well as those who don't zip past me on the sidewalk would be a far friendlier thing.
Setherpether September 19, 2012 at 01:41 AM
I think Larry misunderstood. Candace was talking about people leaving stores without checking for other pedestrians. Think of it like trying to enter a freeway from a small side road without checking for traffic. BTW: Thailand? Guardian animal?? LOL put down the pipe dude.
Larry Ericson September 19, 2012 at 04:44 AM
What if instead of penalties, we incented bikers who behave responsibly with some sort of reward? Wouldn't every one want to come to a near stop if they new it meant there was a prize in it for them? Behavioral psychology brochures I read suggests that we should start with every biker and then only intermittently reward them. Maybe the reward increases with their decrease in velocity. It worked for 3 of my 4 dogs.
John Ferguson September 19, 2012 at 05:51 AM
Here's the real prize, Larry - you get to ride your bike around Marin and you don't hurt yourself or anyone else. You pay attention, slowing for the deserted intersections and stopping for ones that are occupied. You notice police before they notice you and do nothing that would bring attention to yourself. You steer clear of drivers and pedestrians who aren't paying enough attention to what they're doing and you roll on.
Jessica Mullins (Editor) September 19, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Hi Bill, Thank you for your comments. I'd be happy to create a new post where commenters can focus on what they think should be the basics of a "smart stop," if it seems like there are many commenters in this thread who are willing to participate? What do y'all think?
Madeline Lovejoy September 19, 2012 at 04:04 PM
Larry what a great idea. Its forward thinking like Larry's reward idea that makes Marin special. Maybe we can call the reward "Fairfax Snacks" and Cindy and other pedestrians can volunteer to hand out snacks to well behaved cyclists. What a way to work together. I think the fairfax snacks should probably represent the town and be something yummy but healthy. Just a hunch but corner house, Cindy you strike me as the cooking type. Any ideas for some healthy snacks that will give cyclists energy while keeping Fairfax safe? I love to bake and would be happy to join a cooking club to help any way i can. <3 <3 <3 Maddie
C Ross September 19, 2012 at 05:09 PM
Groovy idea Maddie! I used to work at Grainful Bread bakery and know how to make all kinds of Deadhead Hippie treats!!! Even better, in line with our Fairfax Green agenda, we can even distribute medicine at the same time. (I have just the recipe!). To carry out Mr. Obama's policies, cyclists shouldn't mind redistributing some of their wealth with me. At $10-12 a treat, that's a bargain compared to LRG Capital Natural Food Emporium, and it would keep me off welfare, to boot. And why discriminate against motorists? A few of my cookies and they won't want to drive anywhere, anyway. What the heck? We can just all stop what we're doing and pay homage to the Sunshine Gods -- Bikes, Bikes, Everywhere, Om Joy, Om Joy --, while munching on Punjabi Burritos and drinking Iron Springs Micro Brews. Who needs to drive? Who needs to walk? Who needs to bike anywhere except to Fairfax? Parteeee :)
Madeline Lovejoy September 19, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Cindy...I mean Dyanne Ross. It sounds like you maybe having too many of your cookies. Maybe that is why you keep endangering yourself and more importantly your dog by walking out in front of bikes and cars.
tony masi September 19, 2012 at 06:52 PM
C Ross September 19, 2012 at 07:41 PM
Ms. Lovejoy, I've always wanted to call myself Dyanne for reasons that I don't care to share on a forum which seems to have identified me as being Public Enemy #1. Jessica knows who I am, but I'm tired of being publicly attacked and berated no matter what I say. I'm also tired of the self absorbed, rude and condescending folks -- in reality in the minority, but who seem to dominate this board. But please note that it's "official", not because of me, but thanks to the Fairfax PD attempt to get people to obey existing traffic and safety laws. Cyclists (and motorists) who fail to stop at stop signs WILL get cited. And, it IS illegal to ride bikes on sidewalks (see the photographs of posted signs I previously have uploaded to the Patch). So be forewarned that I (and my neighbors who agree and are tired of people endangering others and themselves) will call the police when necessarily and/or will make citizen's arrests ourselves. We have the right to walk (or bike) on our owns streets, in our own neighborhoods, without being subjected to danger, or the nastiness of abuse, by people so selfish and self-absorbed that they'll do anything except show a little respect and common courtesy for someone else. Nice, and oh yeah, have a nice day.
Mad Eye Love Joy September 19, 2012 at 09:02 PM
I have a sneaking suspicion your name is homage to one of your hero’s Dyanne Thorne the famous American actress, nude model for pin-up magazines, former Las Vegas showgirl and best known for starring in four "Ilsa" sexploitation movies that influenced the Nazi exploitation film genre. Thorne's exploitation films and sex comedies such as Love Me Like I Do (1970) and Wam-Bam, Thank You, Spaceman (1973) before attaining notoriety as Ilsa, a cruel Nazi dominatrix. You get more and more interesting post to post. I am very concern about the idea of you citizen arresting cyclists. From your past accounts you can barely walk across the street without some type of disaster occurring. How are you not going to hurt yourself jumping on the backs of a cyclist going 20mph? Will your dog help the citizen’s arrest? I love when they have Dog-Cop combos. You could be the Fairfax Turner and Hootch. Have you ever considered moving to a place that isn't on one of the state's biggest bike routes. You have such a passion for the fight, maybe it would be better focused somewhere more peaceful. Picture Cindy feet kicked up in a lounge chair, sipping a drink when someone goes to walk on the roped off part of the beach where the plover’s lay their eggs. I couldn’t think of anyone better for the job of plover protection agent. And no more bikes. Well I guess there is one or two people that attempt to ride bikes on the beach but riding in the sand is lame. Maddie Lovejoy <3 <3 <3
Larry Ericson September 19, 2012 at 10:37 PM
I think its a great idea... I wonder if we can implement the standards of "Being a good commenter" from this site: http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/09/18/how-to-be-a-good-commenter/ I believe this topic deserves facts over anecdotal evidence...and while everyone on this message board makes great points, occasionally they are drifting off into talk about TV shows that have been off the air for 40 years, lewd dancers, and even snow plows. Do you have the ability to put a comment rating system on the new page?
C Ross September 20, 2012 at 12:01 AM
Oy Vay! In the last week alone, Mark Ding Dong decided I'm a Mossad Spy and Mad Eye thinks I wannabe a Nazi Dominatrix. And all I did was express my opinion that Stop means Stop and California shouldn't adopt Stop at Yield Bike laws, based partly on personal observations and experiences where reckless bike riders going through stop signs and riding on sidewalks have injured people and animals, including themselves. Ironically, I've lived in Fairfax for almost 30 years because I used to love it here. Now, at times I feel like I do want to move as far away from this Town of Hippocrites. Love-Joy, my tuchus :(
Mad Eye Love Joy September 20, 2012 at 03:05 AM
I'm all for traffic safety, but laws like this are not only a waste of time, they are largely for "show". -Cindy Ross
Mad Eye Love Joy September 20, 2012 at 03:09 AM
I don't know the exact code, but I believe there are already laws in place -- and certainly common sense dictates - Cindy Ross
UrbanTransplant September 20, 2012 at 01:49 PM
I do.
tony masi September 21, 2012 at 04:18 AM
When not walking in Fairfax, I ride only unicorns and moonbeams, and obey no earthly laws save those of the faerie kingdom. So catch me if you can, but know I travel solely in starshine and shadow and am as elusive as a wisp of mist dissipated by dawn.
Nick Sklias September 21, 2012 at 04:44 AM
"...perhaps what we all need is just to practice tolerance..." -Jessica Mullins "I also want to urge a level of tolerance for people, and to resist the temptation to stereotype... Stereotyping creates ill will..." -Andi Peri
Sierra Salin September 21, 2012 at 05:13 AM
Humans, we ARE whats cooking! I ride where I ride, and I'll generally smile and say hi, on the road, or the sidewalks. Car, bike, or pedestrian, it matters not. We are all fool of it. Relax. Not everything can be controlled or stuffed into a box, and not everyone is a jerk. The only rules which matter in the end, are the laws of nature, most everything else are varying degrees and constructs for the convenience of humans which may or may not have much to do with "reality," "realty," or "justice." Be aware of who and what is around, and act accordingly.
Nick Sklias September 21, 2012 at 07:55 PM
From Maryland, Happy international day of peace! May we all learn how to hash it out, without lashing out!
Matthew Brasler September 27, 2012 at 10:25 PM
Take a look and consider a perspective from both the car's and the bike's point of view. http://commuteorlando.com/wordpress/animations/lane-control/
Darren Overby September 27, 2012 at 11:27 PM
Thanks for that Matthew. The animation really does illustrate what's it's like out there for bicyclists and why state law supports cyclists making full use of the lane. When I'm driving, my opinion is the more natural the form of transportation the more right of way they have. The order is crawlers (i.e. babies), walkers, roller skates, unicycles, bicycles, then cars, then SUV's.
Steve B May 01, 2013 at 04:19 AM


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