State lawmakers are pushing a bipartisan effort that would make Arizona the second state to let bicyclists yield at stop signs.
If the measure garners enough support, Arizona House Bill 2211 would join Idaho in allowing bicyclists 16 and older to yield at stop signs rather than come to a complete stop.
Bicyclists will still have to stop if there are any cars at the intersection.
Cyclist Ryan James said the bill would reduce the amount of fines bicyclists receive.
“It would make yielding legal, which is what a large percentage of cyclists do when no cars are present anyhow,” James said.
Other student cyclists said the bill would only work in some cases.
Sustainability major Amra Mallick, president of the Arizona State Cycling Community, said cyclists and vehicles should obey the same rules while on the road because cyclists have a vested interest in their own safety.
Kinesiology junior and Arizona State Cycling Community secretary Anil Patel said the bill wouldn’t make riding safer.
“More bike-vehicle accidents would probably happen,” Patel said. “This kind of thing would probably only work at small, 4-way-stop intersections.”
According to the bill, if a car and a bike were involved in an accident, it will automatically be presumed that, unless proven otherwise, the bicyclist failed “to yield the right-of-way.”
The House Transportation Committee approved the bill on Jan. 26.
The House Military Affairs and Public Safety Committee must still approve the bill before it reaches the full House.
One of the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Daniel Patterson, D-Tucson, served on the House Military Affairs and Public Safety Committee in 2009.
Patterson sponsored House Bill 2479 and House Bill 2130 after he was elected. Both bills attempted to grant cyclists the ability to yield at stop signs.
Patterson, an avid biker, said it’s important to protect both cyclists and drivers in order to improve public safety.
There were 1,900 bike-related crashes in Arizona in 2010, according to an Arizona Department of Transportation report.
Nearly 1,600 of those accidents involved injuries and 19 involved deaths.
Patel said bike-related transportation on campus would improve if the House approves the bill.
“It would make travel on the surface streets that loop into campus a bit faster and somewhat safer for bikers,” Patel said.
Reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org