Rolling Stops

A stop sign is shown during sunrise or sunset. A sun flare is visible behind the stop sign. In the distance, cars are parked on the street.

Cycle Toronto supports Rolling Stops as a safe and effective way for people on bikes to approach intersections controlled by stop signs.  

The Rolling Stop Law would allow cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs, instead of requiring cyclists to come to a complete stop. Rolling Stops, or the Idaho Stop, has been legal in places such as Idaho since 1982.1

The maneuver requires a cyclist approaching a stop sign to:

  • slow down;
  • stop if required for safety; and,
  • yield the right of way to any approaching vehicle or pedestrian, before proceeding through an intersection controlled by a stop sign.

Cycle Toronto supports the Rolling Stops for intersections controlled by stop signs as opposed to intersections controlled by traffic lights.

Cycle Toronto supports Rolling Stops for the following reasons:

  1. Bicycles are momentum based vehicles. Most of the work is in starting and stopping. The Rolling Stop Law would legalize existing behavior and make that behaviour the designated legal norm;
  2. A Rolling Stop law improves predictability and consistency, thereby reducing risk. After Rolling Stops were legalized in Idaho, bicycle-motor vehicle collision rates declined by nearly 15%[1]
  3. A Rolling Stop Law maintains traffic flow by smoothly moving cyclists through intersections; and
  4. A Rolling Stop Law legalizes a traffic movement that is already commonly utilized by many road users. This can reduce police presence and interaction on the street and can make cycling safer for residents of  communities that have historically been over-policed.

For an excellent explanation of the “Idaho stop,” watch this video by Spencer Boomhower.


Notes

[1] Jason Meggs "The Idaho Law: allowing safer choice and happier travel," The Meggs Report, September 29, 2011. See his abstract, presentation, and policy letter linked within the article.


Header image by Anwaar Ali from Unsplash.