14 February 2018

Will The Idaho Stop Become The Utah Yield?

Now you can call it "The Utah Yield."

At least, that's what Carol Spackman Moss is calling it.

She's a member of the Beehive State's House of Representatives.  More to the point, she is part of that body's Transportation Committee, which passed House Bill 58 yesterday.

That bill, if it becomes law, would allow cyclists to forego the 90-second wait at "Stop" signs mandated in current statutes.  In other words, "Stop" would mean "Yield".

In 1982, Idaho--Utah's northern neighbor--passed such a law.  Since then, other jurisdictions, including several Colorado towns as well as the city of Paris, have passed similar legislation which allow cyclists to proceed through stop signs or red lights under certain conditions.  Still, treating "Stop" signs as "Yield" signs is often referred to, colloquially, as the "Idaho stop".

But Bill 58 goes a step further than Idaho's law.  If passed, it would allow cyclists to treat red traffic signals as if they were "Stop" signs, meaning that we could proceed through them after 90 seconds if there is the intersection is clear.

These provisions, together, create what Ms. Moss calls the "Utah Yield".

I applaud her work and that of her colleagues, especially since they took the time to read studies about other jurisdictions with "stop-as-yield" policies.  In none of them was any increase in the risk of car-bicycle crashes found.  Moreover, one Idaho study found a 14 percent decrease in collisions between cars and bikes.

I can't help but to wonder whether she or her any of her colleagues are cyclists:  In addition to their research, they based their work on some commonsense observations.  The bill ought to become law, Ms. Moss says, because traffic signals throughout the state are "designed for cars and not for bicycles."  As an example, she says that, all too often, when cyclists stop for a red light, they have to "wait and wait because they are not heavy enough to trigger the road sensors."

Bill 58 will now go to the House floor consideration.                                                                         


  1. First I checked the date, no not April 1st. Then I thoughtI must be having a bad dream, 90 second wait at a stop sign, clearly something the orange one has foisted on you...

    No! Seems that I am awake and lunatics have foisted absurd laws on cyclists yet again and are only now engaging their brains to correct their stupid faults!

  2. Coline--I don't think the lunatics are correcting their mistakes. Rather, it's more like a new group of legislators who actually understand cycling coming in to change the mess the "lunatics" made.

  3. I wouldn't want to seem ungrateful but doesn't 90 seconds seem excessive? It doesn't take a minute and a half to detetmine if it's safe to proceed. I wonder how they arrived at that number?

  4. Phillip--I agree. And I don't know how they came up with that number.