That’s it I’m moving to Idaho

A person operating a bicycle or human-powered vehicle approaching a steady red traffic control light shall stop before entering the inter-section, and shall yield to all other traffic. Once the person has yielded, he may proceed through the steady red light with caution. Provided however, that a person after slowing to a reasonable speed and yielding the right-of-way if required may cautiously make a right-hand turn.”

This is brilliant. There are plenty of bike folk who behave as though this is the law in Seattle (I noted a couple of blatant red-light-runners on my way in this morning). As much as I hate stopping and waiting, it’s the law where I live. In Idaho they have it figured out: Treat all red-lights as YieldsĀ¯. No complete stop necessary, no waiting. Sure, if there’s traffic you wait, but how much quicker would your commute be if you never had to wait at an empty red light. Time to write my congressman. At 180lb some seriously wasted momentum!


My own Private Idaho on bikes!

Just to clarify, the Idaho law is that red lights are treated as stop signs (come to a complete stop, yield, then proceed) and stop signs are treated as yield signs (slow down, look for traffic, then proceed).

Byron’s joke reminds me of that line from Swingers, where they meet the ladies at the bar in Vegas, and after being introduced to the one dressed like Dorothy, Mikey says, “Well we’re not in Kansas anymore…”

[Long pause]

This would be perfect for a Seattle Master Plan Part 2. (Of course, it’s great for any and all cities!) Where Part 1 is all about building out lanes and marking territory, Part 2 should be all about cycling/motorist interactive behavior. The way that law is written acknowledges how [some] cyclists use more than just their sense of sight, but also their hearing to listen for oncoming traffic (hence the “Look, he just blew right threw that intersection!” from drivers and passersby). It might also allow us to capitalize on some momentum we built over the previous block or so. Great posting Andrew.

It does seem like a common sense law. Cars have to should stop because a) drivers are in a cage and don’t have the visibility to make the yield decision. b) Even if they have the visibility, they can’t stop in times should they need.

We shouldn’t have to follow the exact same rules that were adopted to make up for the caged ones’ limitations.

Hypothetically speaking, if I was to run a pink light or stop sign it would be because my excellent visibility allowed me to make the decision the going is safer than stopping.

Good catch Lee.  I guess the case where I don’t need to come to a complete stop is at Stop signs:

“human-powered vehicle approaching a stop sign shall slow down and, if required for safety, stop before entering the intersection.”

On my commute, I pass about 3x as many stop signs as lights, so I’d be down with whatever I can get.

The “yield on stop” law is indeed nice and unique to Idaho. A few states have the “proceed on red” law but it would be good to get more states on board with that.

“caged ones” should have to stop and wait not because of limited visibility but because most drivers here (Jersey drivers!) turn off their brains as soon as they turn on their engines and can’t be trusted to think while so heavily protected from reality inside their cages. Sorry for the run-on rant…


I had a near miss today on Bettie, when I was turning left, and driver speeding down the street, decided to pass me on the left.

I wouldn’t mind cyclists IF they would start obeying basic traffic laws.  We ‘caged ones’ are trying not to hit you, but if we can’t anticipate whether you have decided that you are a car or a pedestrian at any given moment, then you probably will be hit.

Last month, I was going through an intersection at Market Street and 8th.  I had a green light, but a cyclist on 8th thought it was a good idea to make a right turn right in front of my car.  I had to brake quickly in order to avoid splattering him on the pavement.  I was almost rear-ended trying to avoid hitting him! 

On Canal Drive for a year, I was almost hit every morning going to Getty Images because the cyclists didn’t want to stop at the stop sign.  I didn’t have a stop sign.

If you want to share the road, obey the laws.  My one ton car will always win in a fight.

I am in many more near misses every day with bikes than I am with cars.  What does that tell me?  It should tell you something.

Fair points - most of us who commute do take some liberties, but not to the extent of jumping in front a car like the cases you describe.  I have a common intersection in Kenmore where “Crossing traffic does not stop” and riders do.  I always pull up to the intersection carefully because it’s quite blind, but in cases where a car comes, most times they explicitly wave me across. 

I’m a father and don’t take chances with becoming a hood ornament.  There are plenty of bad cyclists, and bad drivers.  Thanks for being a good driver - I’ll do my best to be a good cyclist.

i wouldnt mind car drivers IF they would start obeying basic traffic laws. like the speed limit. as soon as all the drivers obey all the laws all the time, i will take them seriously.

by the way, this is haha only serious.

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