Idaho Stop – Overview and Talking Points [draft]

Overview

The following outlines the gains to safety resulting from passage of the May-Fahy “Idaho Stop” bill S920 / A3104.  Simply, the bills would allow cyclists to:

• Treat a “stop light” as a “stop sign” — come to a complete stop and check for cars and pedestrians before proceeding through an intersection, and

• Treat a “stop sign“ as a “yield sign” — slow down to check for cars and pedestrians before proceeding through an intersection.

Also see the resource page, which includes links to legislation text, videos and organizations in support.

ghostbike Victor J. Blue Bicycling MagazineVictor J. Blue, Bicycling.com

Background

Twenty seven cyclists were hit and killed by drivers in NYC in 2019—ten more than 2018 and the most since 1999.  This is despite NYC adding hundreds of miles of protected bike lanes and reducing the speed limit to 25 mph.

Yet in 2018, NYPD wrote more tickets for cyclists than for trucks!

Expanding bike infrastructure and slowing cars aren’t enough.  Laws governing cyclist behavior need to be updated to reflect how they actually use the road and what they do to avoid being killed.

If we expect people to follow the law, we should not have laws that they are unable or unwilling to follow and which puts them in harm’s way.

Protect Cyclists from Trucks

In 2007, Transport for London found that women cyclists were killed by trucks three times as often as men.  

The TfL researchers posited that because women were more likely to obey traffic signals, they were also more likely to be caught in a truck driver’s blind spot.

Across New York City, 21 of 37 cyclist deaths in 2018-19 involved trucks and vans, many because they were “hooked” by truck drivers turning at intersections. 

Protect Pedestrians in Crosswalks

Permitting Idaho Stops will enable traffic officials to focus on protecting pedestrians’ right-of-way in crosswalks.  This will increase cyclist compliance and breed confidence that law enforcement is wisely allocating limited resources.

In 2018, NHTSA reported 6,283 pedestrians and 857 bicyclists killed in crashes with motor vehicles in the U.S.  NHTSA didn’t record any pedestrians killed by bikes.

PedBikeFatalities2009-2018PedBikeInfo

Make New York as Safe as Idaho

Idaho has the third fewest fatalities per 10,000 bicycle commuters in the U.S. based on data from 2011-2015.  This is despite Idaho spending fewer federal funds on biking and walking than all but three states.

Complement Investments in Bike Infrastructure 

Enlightened legislation will complement the billions New York has invested in bike infrastructure by increasing use of existing facilities and growing the constituency for further improvements.

Stop Ticketing Cyclists of Color

In NYC, Black and Latino cyclists were given 86 percent of the tickets for riding on the sidewalk in 2018 and 2019, but made up just about half of all cyclists.

These tickets are more likely to be issued along streets that lack bike infrastructure—which tend to be correlated with neighborhoods with people of color. 

Green Lane ProjectHarry Levine and Loren Siegel, Queens College

Reduce Cyclist Exposure to Car Exhaust

Cyclist exposure to particulants is 4.3 times greater than occupants of cars. 

The 2010 Belgian study stated that any measures that increases the distance between cyclists and tail pipes will help to reduce exposure.

Enhance Access to Green Space

Allowing cyclists to yield-and-go will enable a network of bike routes along secondary roads whose intersections are typically governed by stop signs.

This will connect city residents to green space, create new opportunities for recreation and exercise, and yield significant improvements in public health.

old-howard-beach (1)Queens #4 – Hamilton Beach, 36.3 miles, GPS, cue sheet

Bio

Neile Weissman heads up Complete George—250 organizations and communities who’ve called for expanded bike capacity across the George Washington Bridge.

He has led over a thousand group rides for New York Cycle Club and is its current Public Relations Director.