Utah Yield (Idaho Stop) Bill Is Back at the Utah Legislature for 2021 – Will Stop as Yield Pass this Year?

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The Utah Yield (Idaho Stop) bill has been reintroduced this year by Rep. Carol Spackman Moss. The proposed law (House Bill 142) would allow cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs, which legitimizes a behavior that most cyclists do anyway. The bill is up for consideration for the fifth time in the last 11 years. It has failed by razor thin margins in years past. The bill passed the Utah House Transportation Committee on January 27 by an 8-3 vote. The next stop is the full House, and then if it passes, it will be considered in the Utah Senate.

Update 3-5-2021 – HB142 passed the Senate on a vote of 28-1. The bill is off to Gov. Cox, who will hopefully sign it.

Update 2-25-21 – HB142 passed out of the Senate Transportation Committee with a favorable recommendation on a 2-1 vote. The next step for the bill is to the full Senate. Please email your Utah state senator or all of the senate (click on each senator for their email) as soon as possible in support of the bill.

Update 2-24-21 – HB142 will be heard in the Senate Transportation Committee. Public comment options are available. Please email the committee as soon as possible in support.

Update 2-4-2021: HB 142 has passed the House, and is off to the Senate, most likely to the Senate Transportation Committee. Your calls and emails are needed. See below for details.

Will the Idaho Stop Bill finally pass in Utah in 2019? The bill would allow cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs, and certain red lights as stop signs. Photo by Dave Iltis
Will the Idaho Stop Bill finally pass in Utah in 2021? The bill would allow cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs, and certain red lights as stop signs. Photo by Dave Iltis

This year's version of the proposed law is different in that it is not considering stop lights. Previous versions of the bill would have allowed cyclists to treat stop lights as stop signs, proceeding when safe to do so. The red light provision faced steep opposition in the Senate Transportation Committee in 2019, but senators indicated that they would likely support it if the stop light portion was removed. Utah already has a law that allows cyclists and motorcyclists to proceed through a red light if the light hasn't triggered after 90 seconds

The Idaho Stop has recently passed in Delaware, Oregon, and Arkansas.

The Idaho Stop is also up for consideration in 2021 in New York and California.

California's Bill text is here: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=202120220AB122

Cycling Utah worked with Rep. Moss by asking her to reintroduce the bill this year without the red light provision since we felt that this had a greater likelihood of passing.

The relevant portion of HB 142 is below:

    (5) (a) As used in this Subsection (5), “immediate hazard” means a vehicle approaching
91     an intersection at a proximity and rate of speed sufficient to indicate to a reasonable person that
92     there is a danger of collision or accident.
93          (b) Except as provided in Subsection (6), an individual operating a bicycle approaching
94     a stop sign may proceed through the intersection without stopping at the stop sign if:
95          (i) the individual slows to a reasonable speed; and
96          (ii) yields the right-of-way to:
97          (A) any pedestrian within the intersection or an adjacent crosswalk;
98          (B) other traffic within the intersection; and
99          (C) oncoming traffic that poses an immediate hazard during the time the individual is
100     traveling through the intersection.
101          (6) Subsection (5)(b) does not apply to an intersection with an active railroad grade
102     crossing as defined in Section 41-6a-1005.

Commentary and Call to Action:

Cycling Utah supports this bill for multiple reasons. In Idaho, crashes dropped after the 1982 law went into effect. The bill legitimizes typical cyclist behavior at stop signs and many stop lights. Additionally, at stop lights, for the most part, the bill moves code governing cyclists from one section of the code to another. The bill does not allow cyclists to blow through stop signs or stop lights. The Idaho Stop makes cycling easier for cyclists in that they do not have to stop and go completely at each intersection. By keeping momentum, navigating traffic can often be easier. Cyclists do have to yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians.

A recent study on Policies for Pedaling from the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development of DePaul University suggests that Chicago should adopt the Idaho Stop: 

“I. Considering permitting “Idaho Stops” at four-way stop intersections, which would enable cyclists to determine whether to stop or yield based on traffic conditions in order to maintain their momentum. The study shows that only about one cyclist in 25 presently complies with the law to come to a complete stop. A pilot program to allow Idaho Stops at certain traffic signal intersections when traffic volumes are relatively low may also be considered.”

Action:

Follow HB 142 here: https://le.utah.gov/~2021/bills/static/HB0142.html

Contact your Representative and Senator here: https://le.utah.gov/Documents/find.htm

Videos:

Oregon's DOT released this video for cyclists on the Idaho Stop:

 

Please see this informative video editorial on the Idaho Stop by John James Monroe of Pedal Traffic:

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