California is a known hub for bicyclists and a potential law could cater towards those riders.
Assembly Bill 1103, if passed, will allow bicyclists to basically pass through stop signs after slowing to a reasonable speed.
The bill in its entirety states that it would "authorize a person operating a bicycle approaching a stop sign, after slowing to a reasonable speed and yielding the right-of-way, to cautiously make a turn or proceed through the intersection without stopping, unless safety considerations require otherwise."
AB 1103 has come with numerous supporters and detractors, but Jim Brown, Executive Director of the Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates, thinks the passing of this bill will help all parties involved.
"I think the bill is a recognition that we have streets designed entirely for the characteristics of driving," said Brown, "Not all of the laws work for bikes."
Existing law says that any person who's riding a bike on a highway has "all the rights" , but they do follow the same applicable laws a driver with a car has to.
"It's not a foreign concept," said Brown. "We allow people to make these kinds of judgments in a car and I can't think of a reason why bicyclists are different."
Brown thinks the real value of this law is that we're becoming a little bit more mature in our way of thinking towards bikes on the roads.
Questions have risen about how it may affect bicyclists and drivers on the road.
"Stopping at every stop sign is an inefficient way of riding a bike," said Brown. " [So] clearly people have an idea that it would unsafe for bicyclists to come to a complete stop."
For those that think this could be unsafe, Brown thinks it will actually help bicyclists who are worried and want to keep moving because they feel they can react a lot better.
"I get why people would perceive this as unsafe, but a lot of bicyclists ride this way," said Brown. "Bicyclists are a little bit safer if they're moving just a little bit. A lot of bicyclists feel like sitting ducks at stop signs or intersections."
"Just because the law changes [that] doesn't mean everyone is going to start rolling through stop signs," Brown added.
Also, a notable and understandable hesitance about this bill is how it might affect children riding bikes.
"Nothing [in the bill] requires kids to do this, or parents to teach this," said Brown. "[But] Most kids are going to have to encounter a yield sign at some point."
Brown sees this law applying potentially more in residential neighborhoods, than anything else, because those areas have less traffic lights. He said that where you see stop signs in controlled intersections are in most of the residential areas, which typically those neighborhoods and streets are somewhat quieter.
The bill will going before the Assembly Transportation Committee on Monday, May 8.
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