A new law aimed at making intersections safer for people riding bicycles goes into effect Oct. 1.
The “Safety Stop” law allows people on bicycles to treat stop signs as yield signs, allowing them to roll through an intersection if the coast is clear. The new law was lobbied for by Washington Bikes, a statewide bicycle advocacy organization. This change is important because people on bikes face the most danger at intersections, where they are vulnerable to being struck by inattentive drivers.
Washington is the fifth state to legalize the Safety Stop.
“The bill’s swift passage underscores the bipartisan support for biking, and Washington Bikes’ ability to pass practical, safe and smart legislation,” said Vicky Clarke, policy director for Washington Bikes.
The law requires bicyclists to slow down to a reasonable speed that would allow them to stop if necessary. As is already the case, people riding bikes must yield to any vehicle already in the intersection. Also known as the “Idaho Stop,” named for the first state to pass the law, bicycling injuries in Idaho dropped 14 percent in 1982 following enactment of the law.