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File #: 23-1162    Version: 1
Type: Resolution Status: Approved
File created: 7/11/2023 In control: City Council
On agenda: 7/13/2023 Final action: 7/13/2023
Enactment date: 7/13/2023 Enactment #: 215781
Title: That the Chief of Police adopt a policy of de-prioritizing enforcement against cyclists who treat red lights as stop signs when it is safe to do so (the “Idaho Stop”) in recognition of the compelling United States Department of Transportation data supporting this practice.
Sponsors: Ben Ewen-Campen
Indexes: Police
Attachments: 1. U.S. DOT Fact Sheet, 2. StreetsBlog Article 2022 Idaho Stop
Related files: 23-1250, 23-1317, 23-1178
Agenda Summary
title
That the Chief of Police adopt a policy of de-prioritizing enforcement against cyclists who treat red lights as stop signs when it is safe to do so (the “Idaho Stop”) in recognition of the compelling United States Department of Transportation data supporting this practice.

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Official Text
WHEREAS: Somerville should prioritize its public safety resources according to a fact-based understanding of road safety; AND

WHEREAS: In March, 2022, the United States Department of Transportation’s (U.S. DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a Fact Sheet which concluded that “many States have enacted bicyclist stop-as-yield laws to enhance safety and protect cyclists. Based upon the current research and data available, these laws show added safety benefits for bicyclists in States where they were evaluated, and may positively affect the environment, traffic, and transportation.”; AND

WHEREAS: Idaho first legalized the so-called “Idaho Stop” in 1982, which allows cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs, and red lights as stop signs, when no pedestrians are present, and observed a 14.5% decrease in cyclist injuries from crashes the following year; AND

WHEREAS: Since that time, seven other states have legalized this practice, and data analysis based on these states shows consistent improvements in public safety; AND

WHEREAS: Such laws “do not negate a bicyclist’s responsibility to yield to other traffic before crossing an intersection or to follow all work zone traffic rules,” and furthermore “a naturalistic study of bicyclists in Florida’s Tampa Bay area found that bicyclists highly complied with general traffic rules (88.1% in the daytime, 87.5% at night). In contrast, drivers were mostly noncompliant with the law on yielding to bicyclists’ right-of-way... Additionally, there is no evidence showing bicyclist stop-as-yield laws have increased bike conflicts with other bikes or pedestrians,” according to this U.S. DOT Fact...

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