OLYMPIA — A state law designed to make intersections safer for bicyclists goes into effect on Thursday.
The “Safety Stop” law, passed by the state Legislature in March, allows cyclists to treat stops signs as if they were a yield sign, permitting them to roll through an intersection if it’s clear.
Bikers are still advised to slow down to a reasonable speed for road conditions and yield the right of way to any vehicle in the intersection or one close enough to present a hazard.
Washington will be the fifth state — the other’s being Idaho, Delaware, Arkansas and Oregon — to sign a piece of Safety Stop legislation into law. The law was lobbied for by Washington Bikes, a statewide bicycle advocacy organization, and received widespread bipartisan support from legislators in Olympia.
The law, also known as the “Idaho Stop,” was sponsored by Sen. Andy Billig (D-3rd, Spokane) and Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (D-34th, Burien).
“There’s a reason this law received huge support from both sides of the aisle in Olympia — it makes sense and it makes the roads safer,” Washington Bikes’ state policy director Alex Alston said in a press release.
When Idaho became the first state to pass a “Safety Stop” law in 1982, bicycling injuries in the state dropped 14% the year after its passage. And a 2010 study done by Berkeley researcher Jason Meggs found that bike safety was about 30% better in Idaho cities than comparable peers.