It's safer for cyclists to roll through stop signs: Cycle Toronto
A Toronto-based cycling advocacy group is lobbying the Ontario government to change a provincial law to allow bikers to do an "Idaho stop," or a roll stop, on residential streets.
Jared Kolb, the head of Cycle Toronto, says the city should follow in the footsteps of the northwestern U.S. state, where cyclists are allowed to treat stop signs as a yield.
"The rationale behind this is that bicycles are momentum-based vehicles," Kolb told CTV Toronto on Monday. "All the energy, all the work in cycling is in starting and stopping."
Under Ontario's Highway Traffic Act, cyclists are required to treat three- and four-way stops on low-speed, residential roads as complete stops.
So far, the push to change this law has the support of many local cyclists, who argue a roll stop is safer and may help to lower the rate of bicycle crashes.
"Most people who are responsible cyclists are doing an Idaho stop," Toronto Bicycling Network spokesperson Joey Schwartz said. "In Idaho, when it was first brought in, cycling incident and collisions actually went down 14.2 per cent."
According to a 2003 City of Toronto study, vehicle-cyclist collisions at intersections controlled by stop signs can result in "serious consequences."
The study, which examined more than 2,500 crashes between Jan. 1, 1997 to Dec. 31, 1998, said there were 65 reported collisions during that two-year period where either a driver or cyclist disobeyed traffic rules. Of those crashes, two were fatal. There were 10 cycling fatalities in total during the study period.
In Idaho, cyclists are also not required to wait for the traffic signal to turn green before riding through an intersection. Cyclists must come to a full stop at a red light, however, may pedal through the before the signal changes if it's safe to do so.
Kolb says his group is not pushing for the Ontario government to introduce similar changes to the province's cycling laws. He says they are only looking to loosen the rules.
Meanwhile, law enforcement officials say stop signs are not suggestions, stressing that until the laws change, an "Idaho stop" is not allowed at Ontario stops.
With a report from CTV Toronto's Natalie Johnson