Bicycle Safety Stop Bill (AB 122) Passes California Senate

Stop Sign AB 122

Bicycling advocate CalBike (California Bicycle Coalition) has shared the news regarding the Bicycle Safety Stop Bill which allows people on bikes to treat stop signs as yields, including giving the right of way to pedestrians has ecently passed the California Senate.

On August 30, the California Senate passed the Bicycle Safety Stop Bill (AB 122, Boerner Horvath, Friedman, Ting) with a bipartisan 31-5 vote. The bill allows people on bikes to treat stop signs as yields, including giving the right of way to pedestrians. More than 75 organizations across the state signed a letter in support of the bill. 

CalBike is thrilled that the Senate has shown its support for commonsense biking. A recent study in Delaware found that collisions involving bicycles at intersections decreased by 23% after the state made the safety stop legal. If the Bicycle Safety Stop Bill becomes law, California will join a long list of states that have implemented the safety stop: Idaho, Delaware, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Delaware, Arkansas, Utah, Oklahoma, and North Dakota. None of those states have reported any safety problems after implementing this rule.

Assemblymember Tasha Boerner Horvath, the bill’s original author said, “We know from the example of other states that when riders are allowed to yield at stop signs, they choose safer streets and will spend less time in dangerous intersections. It’s time for California to live up to its values and start encouraging — not penalizing — smart riding in our state.”

“Bicycling is good for California in so many ways: it improves our health, our economy, and our environment. We’re grateful to the thousands of Californians who encouraged their State Senators to remove this nonsensical obstacle to safe and reasonable biking,” said Dave Snyder, Executive Director of CalBike.

The Bicycle Safety Stop Bill doesn’t change existing right-of-way laws. People on bikes will still have to take their turn at intersections. AB 122 makes it legal for bike riders to slow down at intersections, wait for other traffic to clear, then proceed without coming to a full stop. It will improve predictability at intersections and mutual respect among road users. CalBike has created a video to explain how the bicycle safety stop works.

Unnecessary laws that are disregarded can become a pretext for unfair enforcement. CalBike hears complaints every year about punitive sting operations that have nothing to do with safety, and are sometimes used as a pretext to stop Black and Latinx people. These police interactions too often have tragic results.

Photo by Anwaar Ali on Unsplash

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