May 25, 2015 6:37 pm

Toronto cycling advocates want ‘the Idaho Stop’ made law


WATCH ABOVE: Toronto cycling advocates calling for legal ability to run, roll through stop signs in residential areas. Mark Carcasole reports.

TORONTO — Cycling advocates are calling for a change to provincial government regulations to allow them to do “The Idaho Stop.”

It sounds like something out of Footloose, but the Idaho Stop is not a dance.

Story continues below

It is when a cyclist approaches a four-way or T-stop, and seeing no other vehicles or pedestrians in the vicinity, continues through, or slows to a rolling stop rather than a complete one.

It’s legal in the U.S. state of Idaho, hence the name, and Jared Kolb at Cycle Toronto hopes one day to adopt it as the Ontario Stop — at least in residential areas.

He says studies done in the U.S. back up the practice.

“One of the studies that is probably the most compelling showed a decline in the number of bicycle collisions by 15 per cent,” said Kolb.

“You bet,” said Kolb with a smile, when asked if he does the Idaho Stop.

“Most of the people that I know who ride bikes do it. When it comes down to it, if there’s a cyclist there, if there is a pedestrian, if there’s another driver, I come to a complete stop,” he assures. “But if there’s no one there, I’ll roll through.”

It happens pretty frequently.

Over the course of 15 minutes, a Global News camera caught about 15 cyclists rolling through a stop sign in a residential area near Dundas Street West and Shaw Street.

There were no near-misses or any other safety incidents during the roll-throughs.

“It’s not a bad thing to revisit these things over time,” says Yvonne Bambrick, author of The Urban Cycling Survival Guide.

As the streets get more crowded, she says it might be time to change the game, but cautiously.

“Any kind of law change would have to have a public education campaign as part of it,” said Bambrick.

Changing those rules would require changing the Ontario Highway Traffic Act, a provincial law.

Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca says his provincial government is planning to pass several amendments and additions to the HTA before summer recess, but “at this point in time we aren’t considering those specific changes to the Highway Safety Act.”

At this time, no one has formally brought the idea to Del Duca for discussion.

With all surcharges factored in, a cyclist caught not stopping at a stop sign faces a $110 fine. Blowing a red light on a bike will net cyclists a $325 fine.

© 2015 Shaw Media

Report an error


Want to discuss? Please read our Commenting Policy first.

Global News