Cycling advocates call for ‘rolling stops’ at intersections

Cycling advocates in the Greater Vancouver area say it may be time to look at allowing rolling stops for people riding bicycles into traffic intersections.

According to Erin O’Mellin, a spokeswoman for HUB, an advocacy cycling group in the Greater Vancouver area, Idaho is an American state that allows cyclists to execute rolling stops when pulling up to an intersection stop sign.

She says by allowing cyclists in Idaho to legally roll through stop signs has not caused more accidents.

“The issue does come up time to time and we point out rolling stops have shown to be quite effective in Idaho,” said O’Mellin.

She said the idea is to allow the cyclist enough leeway to slow down but not come to a full stop.

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“It is not that the cyclist can just blow through a stop sign,” she said on Tuesday.


O’Mellin feels the time is coming for legislators to look at allowing cyclists to obey the stop sign much like a yield sign.

“You would still have to look and yield the right of way – it would be just not a full stop,” she said.


In Idaho, O’Mellin said there is no indication the rolling stop sign traffic law has caused havoc on the roads.

Rolling stops have been allowed in Idaho for 30 years.

“They found no increase in collisions or safety concerns,” she said.


Allowing cyclists rolling stops may not be popular with drivers, points out O’Mellin.

By allowing cyclists to simply slow down, they can keep their balance while maintaining a rolling stop, which can be safer she points out.

Changes in B.C. would have to be made to the Motor Vehicle Act.

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Cyclists now by law are to make a full stop at traffic sign just like vehicles.

Other states in the U.S. are considering passage of a law that would allow bicycle riders to treat stop signs as yield signs.

These “rolling stops” would allow bike riders to preserve some of the momentum they need for efficient travel.


Gladys Hawley, 90, is the co-ordinator of the Semiahmoo Mall Walking Club. She worries about cyclists hitting pedestrians if the law is changed.

“I think it will put pedestrians at risk,” she said. “The cyclists hardly stop now.

“Our cities aren’t geared for this. The cyclists get on their bikes and could care less.”

And while some cyclists would like to see the rolling stop, walkers and vehicle drivers panned the plan.


In Facebook postings, residents living in the Greater Vancouver area questioned the proposal of a rolling stop for cyclists.

Tim Weeks wrote: “Cyclists for some reason think they don’t have to obey road rules.”

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Zondac Gibson wrote: “As long as they don’t put the responsibility for the extra accidents on the drivers, then fine.”

Norm R. Key wonders if it is going too far. “Cyclists presently have to follow car rules or pedestrian rules. Adding another set of rules? What could possibly go wrong.?

Josh Hall called it “an accident waiting to happen.”

Romeo Thom noted: “Sure I approve it. I could use the entertainment watching cyclists get hit and starfishing through the air.”

Shannon Luchies writes that pedestrians may be hit if there are changes for cyclists. “or for that matter running into pedestrians who think the cyclists are supposed to stop.”

Jeanna Gale, an elderly woman writes about her narrow misses with people on bicycles. “I’ve been almost hit when I was crossing at a crosswalk. I walk with a cane and none of the cyclists would stop from the flashing lights at the cross walk.”

Commuter Maddie Lawson posted:”Why should they be able to do this? If I’m driving my car and did this I’d get a ticket…. so NO.”