Rolling Stops for Cyclists May Be Coming to Utah

Oregon tried unsuccessfully to implement a rolling stop for bicycles during its last legislative session in 2009. Now it looks as if Oregonians are likely to be upstaged by that biking mecca of the western U.S. known as Utah. In case you weren't aware, Utah has approximately 13,000 commuting cyclists (according to the last American Community Survey), and soon all of them may be able to yield, but not stop, at stop signs.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, this week a state House committee endorsed a bill (HB 155) that would allow cyclists to proceed through an intersection after yielding and checking for oncoming traffic.

According to the paper, the chief sponsor of the bill, Rep. Carol Spackman Moss, said the bill would "reflect what cyclists already do."

While Spackman thought the bill would make cyclists safer by leading them to use smaller arterial roads in the knowledge that they would be able to keep a steady speed, insurance companies AAA and State Farm opposed the bill. A spokesperson said that the new law might lead to tragedies as motorists expect cyclists to stop at stop signs.

Here's the language of the bill, which is surprisingly simple:

This bill:
. provides that a person operating a bicycle approaching a stop sign shall stop before entering the intersection; and
. provides an exception for a person operating a bicycle approaching a stop sign to
cautiously make a turn or proceed through the intersection without stopping if the person:
. slows to a reasonable speed;
. yields the right-of-way to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching on another highway so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard;
. has reasonably determined the movement can be made safely and without interfering with the movement of any vehicle or pedestrian; and
. is 18 years of age or older.

The law would allow cyclists to make the move as long as it can be made safely and without interfering with pedestrians.