October 8, 2021
If a new proposed bill becomes law, California cyclists may soon be able to roll through stop signs when they feel it is safe to do so.
Assemblymember Tasha Boerner Horvath, D-Encinitas, who backs AB 122, said the “stop sign as yield sign” policy has been shown to make cycling safer in other states while also encouraging more people to ride.
“We must encourage smarter, safer, more efficient transportation options that help people choose to get out of their cars. This cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions,” Boerner Horvath said. “AB 122 encourages safe riding in our state by allowing cyclists to spend less time in dangerous intersections.”
According to Boerner Horvath, the no-stop when safe to cycle policy is currently the law in nine other states. She pointed to data from Delaware that showed a 23% decrease in intersection cycling crashes in the 30 months after that state adopted the new policy.
While the bill passed the assembly, support was not unanimous. Several people in the Assembly spoke out forcefully against the change, asserting that it could confuse drivers and potentially create more collisions.
“This to me is a very toxic bill,” said Assemblyman Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale. “Because it has to do with public safety. It’s going to create confusion for motorists. Not that they’re not confused already.”
Lackey pointed out that the bill would also apply to electric bikes that can travel at higher rates of speed.
The bill passed by a 50-17 vote and now sits on the desk of Governor Newsom. Should he sign the bill, it will create a six-year pilot period during which the change will be evaluated. Once that period elapses, a review would take place.
Until then, California cyclists would be free to travel through quiet intersections without making unnecessary stops.
Gary Brustin is a lifelong cyclist and a specialist in bicycle accident law. In fact, these are the only types of cases he accepts. If you’ve been injured in a collision, we urge you to contact Gary for a complimentary consultation.