Should Montana Adopt This Popular Law From a Neighboring State?
Earlier this year, I witnessed an accident that made me even more concerned for the bicyclists of Missoula than I already was.
My spouse is an avid commuter and mountain biker, so I've been well aware of the risks of cycling for a long time. But it wasn't until I watched the car in front of me hit a man on a bicycle, that the dangers of riding a bike in town really sank in.
Missoula's trail system and bike lanes are fantastic--like gold-level fantastic, but there is a law that pertains to bicycles on the books in Idaho, and it sounds like it's actually helping to keep everyone safer on the road.
What is the "Idaho Stop" Law?
Idaho has special regulations for cyclists that allow them to treat a stop sign as a yield, and a red light as a stop. You can read the language of the law here.
Now, you might be thinking that regulations like that would lead to more accidents but actually, studies have shown the opposite is true. An article from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration noted that injuries from bicycle/car crashes declined in Idaho, and after Delaware took on a similar law they saw a decline in crashes, too.
The video below provides a nice summary of the law and its benefits.
It's interesting to see that 10 states have similar laws. Even if Montana didn't adopt a law like this, I wonder if this could be enacted at the municipal level. For how many people commute by bike in Missoula, it seems like a regulation worth looking into.
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