There are a couple of serious objections to allowing bicyclists to legally roll through stop signs that should be considered:
1) Same Roads – Same Rights – Same Rules (SRSRSR). I find this argument specious at best and disastrous at worst. SRSRSR may be useful as a teaching aid, slogan, or PR position but simply does not, and can not, work as a legal position. In Bicycles are not motor vehicles and why it matters I explain why as a practical matter cyclists would be banned outright from most roads were we to actually be subjected to the same rules. There are a myriad of other, lesser, examples; pacelineing would be illegal, bikes would be required to have lights (24×7, not just at night), horns, and so forth, cyclists would have to be licensed, and thus children wouldn’t be allowed to ride bicycles (16″ or more wheelsize), bikes would require insurance and registration stickers (BLT, bicycle license tax, anyone?), there would be no riding on sidewalks statewide, nor would parking be allowed on sidewalks (I guess I would definitely have to get a kickstand). §28-735, the “3-foot passing law” would have to be repealed.
Beyond the issue at hand, as a matter of consistency, advocacy of any sort of bicycle lane would have to be disavowed — “Same Roads”, remember?
2) Safety; my own feeling is simply that the cyclist’s self-preservation instinct is stronger than any law, and as such changing the law won’t cause any (additional) problems.
Beyond just feeling, my review of traffic engineering literature indicates that the problem at stop signs isn’t one of strict compliance, but rather one of driver-error, see Stop sign compliance for references.
Also, we have an actual example in the state of Idaho. In reply to queries about the law’s impact on safety Mark McNeese said “No impact; nothing changed; current behavior was just legalized”. His full comments are below. Boise and its metro area have populations of around 200,000 and 600,000 respectively. By comparison, Tucson is about 500,000 / 1,000,000, and Phoenix is even larger. Still, it’s hard to claim that Idaho’s almost 3 decades of real-world experience is irrelevant. Continue reading Why I support “Bikes safe at stop signs”