Monday, August 10, 2009

Idaho Stop--Your Own Private Idaho?

Much buzz lately about the Idaho Stop. If you are not familiar, in Idaho apparently bike riders may legally treat stop signs as yeild signs.

Most bicyclists believe at some time or another (sometimes multiple times during a single ride) that they can safely break one of the traffic laws. The scenario is analogous to that of the jaywalker who knows he can scoot across ther street without getting creamed by that truck 500 yards down the road. According to the argument, bike riders and pedestrians each have a very strong interest in their own safety, and don't need a law to tell them not to do something foolish. As a wise friend of mine once observed, "cars hurt".

From the standpoint of a trial lawyer, I can say that a jury is not likely to be very sympathetic to a cyclist who rolls through a red light or stop sign, regardless of whether it is legal to do so. With all apologies to Fred Snyder of the B52's, it's best to avoid living in your own private Idaho.

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