Big Ideas: Idaho stop is one hot potato

This news article featuring Bob Mionske has been reproduced here for our archives. To access the original article, follow the link.

The Toronto Star: Big Ideas: ‘Idaho stop’ is one hot potato

A law to let cyclists treat stop signs as yields makes practical sense, cycling advocates say. But the idea has proven to be politically toxic.

Cyclists pass through an intersection on Beverley St., not necessarily coming to a full stop. In Idaho, cyclists are legally allowed to go through stop signs without stopping if it is safe to do so. The so-called Idaho stop has become something of a tourist attraction for out-of-state cyclists visiting the area.

Richard Lautens / Toronto Star File Photo

By: Tim Alamenciak, News reporter, Published on Fri Jun 13 2014

The rolling stop — it’s an idea that cycling advocates say could encourage more riders, ease bicycle commuting and make riding more efficient. Besides, many riders already do it, much to the outrage of the public.

Among cyclists it’s known as the “Idaho stop,” after the state that first legalized the practice in 1982. Since then, bike riders in the potato state have been told to treat stop signs as yields — allowing them to proceed without coming to a full stop if the way is clear. It’s a policy that cycling advocates across North America and in Toronto have been eyeing enviously.

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The Bike Law Interview: Ann Groninger, Bike Law North Carolina: On Raising The Next Generation

The Bike Law Interview: Ann Groninger, Bike Law North Carolina: Raising The Next Generation of Cyclists

By Bob Mionske

I recently had the opportunity to talk with North Carolina bicycle accident lawyer Ann Groninger. Ann had recently written a well-received article about being buzzed on a morning ride. Or I should say, it was well-received by cyclists, all of whom have had similar experiences on the road. But some motorists had a different reaction, expressing their disdain for “scofflaw cyclists” (despite the fact that Ann had been riding lawfully, and was nearly hit by a “scofflaw driver”), or worse, expressing a thinly-veiled intent to assault cyclists with their vehicles. Before writing about her own brush with near-disaster, Ann had written another excellent article asking “Are bicycle crashes accidents?” Ann had also written about personalizing the consequences of bicycle crashes—in this case, the impact that a negligent driver had on the cyclist she hit, and on his widow.

It was clear from Ann’s articles that she wants drivers to understand that, in her words, “these stories personalize the consequences of taking unnecessary risks when driving”… “what I want to talk about is the value of human life and how people can take it so lightly…by riding my bike on the road, especially alone, I am putting my life in the hands of people who don’t care about it and are willing to take pretty big risks with it.” For Ann, these stories “should be a daily wake-up call” for anyone with a conscience.

So when I talked with Ann, I thought our conversation would go in that direction. But when I asked her to talk with me about a bicycling issue she was interested in, she surprised me with her answer: “kids.” Here’s what she had to say.

Ann Groninger

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The Bike Law Interview: Jason Crawford, Bike Law Colorado, On Denver's First Protected Bike Lane

The Bike Law Interview: Jason Crawford, Bike Law Colorado, On Denver’s First Protected Bike Lane

By Bob Mionske

I recently came across a photograph. In the photo, a woman is riding her bike in the right lane on a street with two lanes in each direction. Behind her is a man on a bike, and in the left lane, next to the male cyclist, a car. A few pedestrians are on the sidewalk on this otherwise deserted street. Nothing like you would see in a cycling capital like Amsterdam, or Copenhagen.

Except this street scene is in Copenhagen. So where are all the cyclists? Where are all the world-famous protected cyclepaths?

There are no cyclepaths, nor legions of happy Danes on bikes, because this scene is from 1973, when Copenhagen streets looked much like the streets in any American city—completely dedicated to the automobile, with small numbers of cyclists sharing the same lanes as automobile traffic.

1973 was the height of the 1970s bike boom in both America and Denmark, and it was also the year America and Europe were thrown into an energy crisis brought on by an oil embargo from OAPEC. From that point in time, Copenhagen and American cities went in completely opposite directions. 

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Utah Bicycle Laws

Bicycle Accident Attorney Jackie Carmichael explains the bike laws in Utah.

By Jackie Carmichael, Bike Law Utah

Utah has 16 bicycle safety laws that are codified at Utah Code Section 41-6a-10 et seq.

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Bicycle Friendly Utah!

Utah Bicycle Accident Attorney Jackie Carmichael sends a report on her state's efforts for better biking.

By Jackie Carmichael, Bike Law Utah

As a bicycle accident lawyer in Salt Lake City, I am happy to report that the State of Utah, and the metropolitan area of Salt Lake City in particular, has made an enormous effort to create a community that is bicycle-friendly and that provides the necessary infrastructure to support city-wide cycling as a way to commute as well as for recreation.

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Bicycling Law could be included in Michigan Drivers Ed

Bike Law Bryan reports on getting one step closer to including bicycling rights in Drivers' Education.

By Bryan Waldman, Bike Law Michigan

As a bicycle accident lawyer in Michigan, I am thrilled to report that HB 5438, passed unanimously by the House, seeks to include information about bicycle and motorcycle laws in Michigan drivers’ education courses.

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Bike haters, born or made?

Kansas Bicycle Accident Lawyer Vance Preman wants to know.

By Vance Preman, Bike Law Kansas

Bike Law Vance here. Last week, Bike Law Ann wrote a passionate blog post about a morning ride in Charlotte, North Carolina and close calls she had with motorists. The post went viral, getting over 10,000 views. What followed was a “debate” in the comments to the post, including some violent ones threatening cyclists on the road.

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Charlotte Bicycle Accident Lawyer on a Horrible Morning Ride

By Ann Groninger, Bike Law North Carolina

The roads in Charlotte were not friendly this morning. Riding back alone from my very early morning group ride there were multiple incidents of drivers coming too close to me, two of which were either intentionally mean or extremely reckless.

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Bicycle Accident Lawyer researches law of B.U.I. in Kansas and Missouri

By Vance Preman, Bike Law Missouri

A lively discussion at a local watering hole, Ponaks (which nearly straddles the border between Kansas and Missouri), was initiated by an employee who said, “I heard of a guy who got know a DUI on a bicycle.” Several bystanders chimed in and I decided to take a closer look.

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Michigan Bicycle Accident Lawyer gives away 5000th Bicycle Helmet

By Bryan Waldman, Bike Law Michigan

On Saturday, May 17, 2014, my law firm (the Sinas Dramis Law Firm) held its 12th annual “Heads Up for Safety” bike helmet event. With our co-sponsors, the Michigan Association for Justice, Origami Brain Injury Rehabilitation Center, and WLAJ, we provided and fitted 350 kids with bike helmets. Since sponsoring its first bike helmet event, the Sinas Dramis Law Firm has distributed over 5,000 bicycle helmets to children in Michigan. As a bicycle accident lawyer who deals with bike crashes every day, I know how important it is to get kids (and adults) to wear a properly fitting bicycle helmet every ride.

As in the past years, the CFT-Sinas Dramis Bicycle Racing Team hosted a bike obstacle course and SPIN Bicycle Shop hosted a bicycle repair tent. Overall, the event was a tremendous success. The law firm looks forward to hosting another bike helmet event in Grand Rapids, Michigan on June 14, 2014.

This article, Michigan Bicycle Accident Lawyer gives away 5000th Bicycle Helmet, was originally published on  Bike Law on May 27, 2014.

Michigan Bicycle Accident Lawyer

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