Washington Senate gives go-ahead to the ‘Idaho stop’

OLYMPIA — Something that’s been legal in Idaho for nearly four decades might soon be legal in Washington. But only for bicyclists.

In what’s called an “Idaho stop,” cyclists could treat a stop sign like a yield sign and not come to a full stop except for traffic, railroad crossings and school bus stop signs, under to a bill sponsored by Sen. Andy Billig of Spokane.

“This practice actually keeps cyclists safe because they keep their momentum going,” Billig said, adding that cyclists would be able to keep more distance between themselves and motor vehicles.

Full stops by bicyclists also can be frustrating for drivers waiting for them to regain momentum, especially when there’s no other traffic, he said.

“It’s good to motorists, too,” Billig said.

Bicycle-related injuries decreased in Idaho after lawmakers in Boise adopted the law in 1982, Billig said. Arkansas and Delaware have adopted similar laws.

The bill was sent to the House on a 44-1 vote.