Minnesota to legalize ‘Idaho Stop’ this summer
It will soon be legal for bicyclists in Minnesota to go through a stop sign without first coming to a complete stop.
It was part of the transportation bill that passed at the Minnesota State Capitol.
It’s often referred to as the “Idaho Stop Law.”
“Hardly anybody stops at a stop sign but we want to make sure we clarify that,” said Dorian Grilley, executive director of the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota.
It means that bicyclists in Minnesota don’t need to come to a complete stop at stop signs if there isn’t traffic nearby. Grilley says many people already do this now, just thinking of it as a yield sign.
“It’s still a stop sign if there are other vehicles around that you need to yield to,” Grilley said.
A similar law started in Idaho in the early ’80s, hence the name. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there was a decrease in intersection crashes involving bicycles right after the law took effect.
“This is not a license to blow through this stop sign right here at 20 miles per hour without even looking and expecting everybody else to stop for you, that’s not the case,” Grilley said.
It’s important to note that this only applies to stop signs. A red traffic light means cyclists still have to come to a full stop.
Visibility and maintaining momentum are just two of the benefits for cyclists, according to the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota.
“Remember, bicyclists and pedestrians are the most vulnerable users out there,” Grilley said.
“Ultimately, we are going to be in the most pain if we get hit,” said Heather Pound, a Shoreview woman who loves to cycle.
Pound says she believes many cyclists already treat stop signs as yield signs but believes there is still plenty of responsibility for both drivers and cyclists.
“I think the important thing for me is that there is still ownership on the driver and the bicyclist that you are aware of your surroundings and looking for cars as much as cars are looking for bikers,” Pound said.
The change will take effect on Aug. 1.