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Here’s why letting bicyclists yield — not stop — at stop signs may reduce accidents


It sounds counterintuitive. When a motor vehicle in Temecula glides into an intersection without coming to a complete stop at a stop sign, there is a good chance the driver will cause a serious car accident. But when a bike rider does it, the risk of injury in a collision with a car, truck or SUV actually seems to go down.

The history of the bicycle yield law

Idaho was the first U.S. state to pass a law allowing bicyclists to yield at stop signs. Rather than having to stop entirely before proceeding, riders there can treat stop signs as yield signs. If there is no crossing traffic or a vehicle turning left, the rider can go through the intersection without braking.

Research indicates that in 1983, the year after Idaho passed the law, bicycle accidents dropped 14 percent and have stayed around that level ever since. Several other states have enacted similar laws in recent years. Utah is the latest state to consider the change. California has considered letting bicyclists yield at stop signs, most recently in 2017, but so far has not changed its traffic laws.

Yielding is safer than stopping?

The idea behind letting riders yield instead of stop like motor vehicles must do is minimizing the time riders must spend in intersections. Traffic intersections are the most common places for riders to get hit by cars. By letting riders keep their momentum, the Idaho law gives them the ability to get in and out of the intersection much more quickly, reducing the risk of a crash.

What to do after a serious bicycle wreck

The safety problems that bicycle riders face in Temecula are complicated, and letting riders yield at stop signs might only address part of the danger. A rider who was hurt by a negligent motorist should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to find out what kind of compensation for their injuries they might be entitled to.