Have you heard about California’s proposed safety stop bill? California AB 122 would legalize the safety stop, which is already legal for bicyclists in many other states.
If the bill passes, it will impact all California road users – not just cyclists! Here’s what you need to know about how it would work for everyone, including pedestrians and motorists.
The Basics: Bicycle Safety Stop Bill AB 122
California AB 122 legalizes the safety stop for bicyclists, which means they may treat stop signs as yield signs. When approaching intersections with stop signs, cyclists could safely look around and proceed through the intersection without stopping, as long as it’s fully clear.
Also known as the Idaho stop for where it was born, the safety stop still requires cyclists to come to a full stop at intersections when others are there. So if a vehicle or pedestrian is already stopped or is crossing, the cyclist must stop and yield the right of way.
But when the intersection is visibly clear, the cyclist may ride through without stopping. It’s important to note that AB 122 would also apply to e-bikes, but it would not apply to California’s motorized scooters or motorcycles.
Here’s What CalBike Has to Say About AB 122
CalBike, the California bicycle safety organization, is sponsoring AB 122. That alone should tell you that the safety stop is considered a safe policy for cyclists.
The organization says all road users, not just cyclists, should support the legislation. According to CalBike, “This commonsense law is an essential first step in recognizing that bike riders use the road differently from car drivers, and we need to adjust our traffic rules accordingly.”
As proof, CalBike has presented research showing that in states that have already implemented the safety stop law, like Delaware, Washington, and Oregon, there has been a noticeable drop in bike-involved crashes. And on the flip side, according to CalBike, there’s no research showing that full stops at stop signs keep cyclists safer in any way.
They also point out that crime statistics show Black cyclists are more likely than other cyclists to be stopped for traffic violations. CalBike explains, “This new law will improve equity among California residents while protecting our most vulnerable road users from a long history of over-policing and traumatic criminalization.”
What Do Lawyers Think of AB 122?
Here at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers, we certainly can’t speak for all lawyers. However, many on our legal team are cyclists and as personal injury lawyers, we’re always interested in promoting road safety for everyone.
Here are some important points to consider about AB 122 from a legal point of view.
- Safety stop laws can free up court time and resources that are currently spent on minor traffic violations.
- Multiple research studies support the use of safety stops to prevent road injuries and deaths, including one that found cyclist injuries were reduced by 14.5%.
- California already has other bicycle-friendly laws, like the Three Feet for Safety Act, so this seems to fit in with existing California laws.
Our state has always been at the forefront of safety legislation related to bicyclists. We were one of the first states in the nation to pass a bicyclist earplug law. We also adopted a law requiring that all bicycles must have functional brakes so they can safely brake in traffic.
What do you think of AB 122? Does it seem like it will promote cyclist safety? If you’re primarily a motorist, do you think it makes sense for other drivers like you? What about pedestrians?
One thing is for sure: AB 122 is bringing a bunch of renewed attention to the issue of bicyclist safety in California. That has to be a good thing!
Safety Stop Bill AB 122 is currently in Assembly Transportation Committee hearings, then it will head to the full California Assembly. We’ll keep you up to date on whether the bill passes and if so, how it will impact everyone who shares the roads in California.
We Handle Your Accident Claim So You Can Focus on Your Life
After an accident, contact the attorneys at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many types of traffic injury claims, including bike accidents. We believe you should be able to focus on recovering from your accident while we handle the legal details.
We truly care about the people of California. Contact us today for a free online case evaluation.