- Ryan Johnson
The Gem State law allowing cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs and stop lights as stop signs dates back to 1982, when Carl Bianchi, the then-Administrative Director of Idaho Courts, helped to decriminalize what he deemed "normal cycling behavior." Since then, the "Idaho Stop" has been cited repeatedly—often in communities across the U.S. as an example of what they don't want to see on their streets.
An editorial in the Dec. 17 edition of the Chicago Tribune asks lawmakers to "slam the brakes on Idaho Stop," saying rolling through stop signs has become popular among Chicago cyclists even though it's against the law in Illinois. According to a study published on Dec. 12 by DePaul University, which is located in Chicago, only 1 in 25 cyclists in the Windy City makes a complete stop at stop signs, but lawmakers should consider "making the Idaho stop legal in Illinois municipalities 'interested in supporting bike travel by encouraging ridership and safety on the road.'"
TheTribune editorial staff is all for safety recommendations, but "what works in downtown Boise isn't what works in the traffic-choked Loop."
"Six [Chicago cyclists] have been killed so far this year, and that's six too many for a city that touts itself as bicycle-friendly," writes theTribune editorial staff.