DENVER — Colorado lawmakers are once again considering a bill that would allow bicyclists to roll through stop signs.
House Bill 22-1028 would implement the "Idaho stop" in Colorado, otherwise known as a safety stop.
Here’s how it works: when a cyclist approaches an intersection, the bill calls for them to slow down to 10 miles an hour then check for cars, pedestrians, and other road users before proceeding through the intersection. They would not be required to come to a complete stop.
“We wouldn't be doing this if it wasn't going to make people safer,” said Rep. Matt Gray, D-Broomfield. “We're not inventing something new, and not a single state that's implemented this has reported higher accident rates. In fact, they've all reported lower accident rates.”
For stoplights, the cyclist would be required to come to a complete stop, check the intersection for cars and other road users and then proceed through the intersection without needing to wait for the light to turn green.
“Intersections are by far the most dangerous places for cyclists, people walking, people using wheelchairs, and so this legislation would allow them to get out of the intersection faster and avoid that conflict,” said Jack Todd, the director of communications and policy for Bicycle Colorado.
A number of states have already enacted similar legislation, including the stop’s namesake, Idaho, as well as Arkansas, Delaware Oregon and Washington.
Several towns and counties across Colorado have also enacted similar ordinances including Aspen, Berthoud, Breckenridge, Dillon, Englewood, Summit County and Thornton.
“We have inconsistent laws, from county to county, on how to treat intersections,” said Rep. Edie Hooton, D-Boulder. “What this bill does is it creates uniformity around the state on how a cyclist may proceed through an intersection.”
The bill has bipartisan support, however some Republicans who represent rural areas expressed concern with the idea during the floor debate Friday.
“I would tell you I think this is an unsafe bill. I think there’s a stop sign for a reason. It means stop. Stop. Look around. Make sure that you’re not going to have a problem with the section,” said Rep. Richard Holtorf, R-Akron. “What if it’s not safe? What if there’s a vehicle coming through when you clean somebody’s clock and then they’re dead?”
The bill passed the second reading in the House. It has one more vote to go there before heading over to the Senate.