"Stop' may no longer mean “stop” if a new bill aimed at protecting bicyclists becomes law.
California Assembly Bill 122 would allow bicyclists to yield at stop signs if the intersection is clear. Bill supporters said it would allow a cyclist to get a head start into the view of a stopped car and be more visible. It would also encourage cyclists to travel on smaller roadways, as opposed to larger roadways regulated by stop lights.
“I thought it was very good for us,” cyclist Kelly Kiefer said. “[Drivers] just look for each car. They don’t pay too much attention to the cyclists. The cyclist pays more attention to the car.”
“It just eliminates some of that unpredictability for the cyclist and makes it safer for them,” said Andy Hanshaw, who is the executive director of the San Diego County Bike Coalition. “If the intersection is not clear, rules of the road are going to apply.”
Hanshaw said similar laws in seven other states have been proven statistically to save lives.
“We need more of it,” Hanshaw said about laws that protect bicyclists. “What we’ve seen and what we’ve talked about recently in the news is too many tragic cycling fatalities.”
Kiefer hoped it would make it easier for drivers to see her.
“They don’t pay attention to all their surroundings," Kiefer said. "Sometimes they just go. We have to be more aware of our surroundings than they are.”
The bill has worked its way through committee. It could be considered by the California State Senate as early as this week.