For those who are unfamiliar with Idaho’s “stop-as-yield” law, it allows bicyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs:
49-720.STOPPING — TURN AND STOP SIGNALS. (1) A person operating a bicycle or human-powered vehicle approaching a stop sign shall slow down and, if required for safety, stop before entering the intersection. After slowing to a reasonable speed or stopping, the person shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching on another highway so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time the person is moving across or within the intersection or junction of highways, except that a person after slowing to a reasonable speed and yielding the right-of-way if required, may cautiously make a turn or proceed through the intersection without stopping.
The law has been on the books since the early 1980′s, undergoing only two minor revisions since its inception. From all appearances the law has been fairly successful. The past couple of years there has been growing interest in initiating similar laws in other states.
As an exercise, this past week I’ve been making an effort to come to a complete stop, with a foot down, at every stop sign on my daily commute. I have to admit, this is not normal practice for me. I’ve designed my commute so that I’m traversing mostly bike trails and quiet neighborhood streets. My morning commute starts early while the roads are pretty much empty, and as a result, I’ve fallen into the habit of treating many of the stop signs on my route as yield signs (but only when no cars are in sight). I must say, coming to a complete stop at every corner feels awkward and disruptive, particularly where the stop signs are placed close together and are clearly designed to slow motor vehicle traffic in quiet residential areas.
My little experiment has done nothing to convince me one way or the other that stop-as-yield laws would be appropriate in more traffic dense areas, but I’m pretty sure there are many otherwise law abiding bicyclists like myself who are fudging on this issue. I’d be curious to know how you treat stop signs and how the conditions in which you ride affect your approach.