In California, a bike is considered a vehicle for all traffic codes and rights-of-way and can travel in the streets alongside motor vehicles. This means that a cyclist is required to stop at a stop sign just like any other motor vehicle.
Many cyclists just ignore the law and continue if they feel it’s safe to do so. These cyclists feel that slowing down and stopping at every stop sign is an inconvenience and can actually be unsafe. When a cyclist stops, he or she has to get back up to speed, and this causes some motorists to be impatient and not want to wait for the cyclist to match the flow of traffic and try to get around them.
In a Los Angeles Times article, the author cited a study that said in cities where they allowed cyclists to roll through stop signs, accidents around stop signs decreased.
Should the California Stop be Legal for Cyclists?
In May of 2017, a bill allowing the “California stop” for cyclists was created, but so far it hasn’t moved up the ladder to become law. The California stop is a colloquial term that means to slow down at a stop sign and not come to a complete stop so long as it’s safe to do so.
Many bicycle advocacy groups suggest that it’s necessary for the safety of cyclists and to allow cyclists to keep up in traffic. In California, when a cyclist can’t keep up in traffic, then he or she is supposed to either stay in a bike lane if it exists, if not then ride in the far right of the right lane. So, if a cyclist can keep up, they are allowed to ride in the street with the motor vehicles.
Does it Matter?
Others say that in truth, it doesn’t matter because police rarely enforce the stop sign rule for drivers and even less for cyclists. However, for those who do get a ticket, it could cost a couple hundred dollars and the time it takes to go to court and take care of it.
So, while it may be loosely enforced, many cyclists want to see the legislature take up the proposed law and make rolling stops legal for cyclists. In the meantime, cyclists have to decide for themselves if following the letter of the law is worth the extra time and effort it takes to stop at every stop sign.
Have you Been in a Bicycle Accident?
If you’ve been in an accident riding your bicycle and feel that it’s the fault of another person, then you need to talk to someone about the accident. Bay Area Bicycle Law works with clients all over the State of California and is one of the state’s only personal injury law firms working exclusively with injured cyclists. We handle cases in your area, and there are many benefits to working with a specialist.
Contact us today for a free consultation by email or by calling 866-bicycle-law (866-242-9253). Years of advocacy for bicycle crash victims have seasoned our attorneys with the necessary skills to handle bicycle accidents cases with the utmost level of professional expertise. We will always offer you legal advice which is in your best interest.