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Bill would permit bicyclists to coast through stop signs

More people than ever are now choosing to leave their vehicles parked in their driveway or simply go without one, opting instead to take public transportation, go by foot or use their bicycle. While the reasons for doing this vary -- saving money, reducing carbon footprint, getting more exercise, etc. -- there's no doubt that this increase in both pedestrians and bicyclists has created real tension with motorists.

Indeed, this is especially true in the case of bicyclists and motorists, as the two sides appear to be locked in an unending argument about which side is more likely to disobey traffic laws and endanger the safety of others.

Interestingly enough, a group of state lawmakers has sponsored a measure, Assembly Bill 1103, which addresses a particularly contentious issue between these two sides: cyclists rolling through stop signs.

What would AB 1103 do?

If passed, AB 1103 would permit bicyclists to forgo coming to a full stop at a stop sign if there is no other traffic present. In other words, the measure would legalize something many bicyclists already do.

Wouldn't this potentially be dangerous?

The answer to this question depends largely upon whom you ask. While motorists argue that giving bicyclists carte blanche to ignore stop signs under certain conditions is a recipe for disaster, bicyclists have argued that the practice of rolling stop signs actually serves to make the road safer for everyone.

“They’re exposed twice as long to unseen vehicular traffic, which is the number one cause of bicycling accidents,” said Rep. Jay Obernolte (R-Big Bear Lake), one of the bill's co-sponsors.

Has anything like this ever been done before?

Idaho has had a law like AB 1103 on its books since 1982. Indeed, a recent study found that Boise, which has a similarly sized population of bicyclists as Sacramento, had 30 percent fewer accidents than the capital city.

Would this have any impact on right of way?

If passed, AB 1103 would not change the existing laws concerning right of way.

What are your thoughts?

If you've been seriously injured in a traffic accident caused by the reckless actions of another, consider speaking with a skilled legal representative to learn more about your rights and your options.

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