This week’s query comes from Ian T. from San Francisco: I’m a San Francisco resident and bicycle commuter. I trip to work day by day and discover it irritating and unsafe to cease at a four-way cease when it’s clear for me to proceed. Typically, when a number of automobiles are on the intersection, I really feel I’m slowing issues down ready my flip, and I’ve to depend on drivers seeing me and “permitting” me to take my flip with a view to be protected. I don’t want the effort of a ticket or folks yelling, so I comply with the regulation and cease, despite the fact that I’m placing myself in danger. I believe bicyclists ought to comply with site visitors legal guidelines, however there needs to be exceptions, or totally different guidelines for cyclists the place it is smart. Are there any adjustments coming? How can I assist push for this sort of change?
Pricey Ian: Thanks to your considerate query. As a bicycle owner myself, I share your considerations and observations that higher guidelines which acknowledge the way in which cyclists use the highway, significantly because it pertains to bicyclists at cease indicators. There’s a potential answer on the horizon in California. The Security Cease Invoice (Meeting Invoice 122) has made its manner via the legislature and is ready for Gov. Gavin Newsom to signal.
The Security Cease Invoice would change the necessities of cyclists at a cease signal. It will be lawful for cyclists to deal with a cease signal as yield signal, permitting them to proceed via as long as the intersection is evident. Nonetheless, if different automobiles are on the intersection, or a pedestrian is within the means of crossing, bike riders should yield the right-of-way.
California shouldn’t be the primary state to think about this sort of regulation. Idaho was first, adopting a regulation in 1982 that allowed cyclists to deal with a cease signal as a yield signal, and a purple mild as a cease signal. This “Idaho Cease” stood alone for a few years till different states started to see the knowledge of adopting commonsense adjustments to the car code to appropriately deal with the totally different points that cyclists convey to the roadway. Extra just lately, Washington, Oregon and Colorado have adopted related laws permitting cyclists to proceed via cease indicators when it’s protected to take action.
Laws of this kind is usually met with a knee-jerk destructive response from non-cyclists who are usually not used to the risks and difficulties cyclists should work together with frequently. There are lots of causes that legal guidelines of this kind, and AB 122 specifically, are grounded in sound coverage.
Security could also be an important cause. Research have proven that the place these kind of legal guidelines go into impact, the charges of bicycle associated accidents lower. These legal guidelines simply work. Cyclists have a transparent view of the intersection with out obstruction and, by necessity, have a eager consciousness of the proximity of different automobiles. The invoice would additionally conform to the regulation to what’s widespread follow, which inspires respect for the regulation usually. This could have the additional benefit of minimizing inequitable enforcement of legal guidelines and decrease pre-textual stops of minorities for what’s widespread conduct by all. A regulation of this kind would convey us into conformity with our Pacific neighbors, Washington and Oregon.
It’s no shock that this regulation is supported by the native bicycle coalitions together with Bike East Bay, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and the Marin Bicycle Coalition. Getting concerned with these kind of organizations is an efficient manner to assist take a part of an organized push for cycle-friendly laws. Right here on the Dolan Regulation Agency we’ve got a protracted historical past of assist of those organizations and the work they do on behalf of cyclists.
Christopher B. Dolan is the proprietor of Dolan Regulation Agency, PC. Emile Davis is a managing senior trial legal professional in our Oakland workplace. We serve purchasers all through the Bay Space and California from workplaces in San Francisco, Oakland and Los Angeles. Electronic mail questions and matters for future articles to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Every scenario is totally different, and this column doesn’t represent authorized recommendation. We suggest that you just seek the advice of with an skilled trial legal professional to totally perceive your rights.