Tracker Pixel for Entry

Rolling stops

by Tom Bixby | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Editorial | March 15th, 2017

As more people get around on bikes, the rules of the road should change to reflect a changed reality.

A proper bike lane has a raised portion such as a curb between the bikes and vehicle traffic. A bike lane without such a divider is not a bike lane. It doesn’t protect riders from drivers who text or young male drivers showing off.

We are unaware of any bike lanes in the U.S. The nearest one is probably in Vancouver, British Columbia, in a more civilized part of the world.

Cyclists don’t have a network of paths fully separated from car traffic, as in the Netherlands. They deserve all legal protection consistent with safety for all road users.

In 1982, the Idaho Legislature passed a law allowing bicyclists to treat stop signs and traffic signals as yield signs. In 2005, the law was amended. Idaho cyclists can still roll through a right turn at a traffic signal, but they have to come to a complete stop before they run a red light.

The exact wording: “A person operating a bicycle or human-powered vehicle approaching a stop sign shall slow down and, if required for safety, stop before entering the intersection. After slowing to a reasonable speed or stopping, the person shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching on another highway so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard.”

Some bicycle groups say bicyclists are safer when they don’t have to stop. They don’t spend as much time in intersections, where they’re most likely to be hit by a car. They are more able than motorists to perceive approaching danger, and with a much stronger reason to do so.

There are too many stop signs (boulevard stops) on the quiet streets that cyclists often choose. Cyclists use a lot of time and energy moving off from rest. They need to be in motion to avail themselves of the unique advantages of bicycles.

Forcing cyclists to come to a complete stop is wasteful. It takes more time, expenditure of energy, collision risk, discomfort, strain and overuse injuries.

Changing the law would do no more than legalize what bicyclists already do, as a result of “frustration, leading to pervasive noncompliance.” And cyclists that don’t stop are less exposed to the pollutants that accumulate at crossroads.

Research conducted at the University of California School of Public Health shows that removing boulevard stops lessens collisions by approximately half.

Idaho’s state law, again, allows bicyclists to yield rather than come to a complete stop. The researchers chose similar comparison areas without such laws. The Idaho accident rate was 30% better; Idaho bicycle injuries were 15% fewer.

Most motorists don’t like the whole idea. They say there would be confusion about the rules of the road and more bad behavior by cyclists.

There are two main traffic philosophies. The dominant one, traffic control, has a bible, the “Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices.” Its main thrust is safety through uniformity, and thus predictability: lots of rules and signs, signals and stop signs.

The main opposing philosophy is called shared space. Adherents propose removing “all or nearly all traffic controls,” relying instead on “safety through uncertainty.” If driving and cycling were more intense vigilance tasks, say proponents, road users would be safer.

Oh, really? We know a guy who was against seat belts in cars when they started being used. His reasoning was that if you know you could go through the windshield, you drive more carefully. Seat belts, he said, tempted drivers to take chances.

We have to admit that we don’t know the answer. Maybe it depends on the size of the city. In the bicycle capitals of the nation, Portland and Minneapolis, it might not work.

The safety-through-uncertainty philosophy, as far as we know, has only been tried in Langley, Washington, where drivers share the streets with bicycles and numerous golf carts. Results, so far, are inconclusive. We’d like to see an experiment in Moorhead or Fargo.

Should cyclists be allowed to roll through stop signs? Tell us what you think.

Gone but not forgotten

We’re upset that the Community Bike Workshop has been gone since last June.

People say that the city is too small to support a communal bike workshop; that the workshop moved twice in the last few years and could never pay a downtown rent; that without a profit motive it could never survive anywhere.

What do you think, Reader readers? Can the city support a community bicycle workshop? Will there ever be another one? How would you set one up?

Recently in:

News

A Battle Lost, A War Not Won

by HPR Contributor

by Jacques Harvieuxjacquesthejock@gmail.comAt first, optimism filled the air on Election Day at the Fargo Billiards and Gastropub. Earlier, Cole Haymond, the political strategist and campaign adviser for Legalize ND, expressed his…

Your operating system to be exact. That is Microsoft’s job. It is a tough job but Bill Gates signed them up for it many years ago. But Microsoft only supports each version of Windows for so long. For example, Windows 7 is…

November 8 – 11, Times VaryOak Grove Lutheran School, 124 North Terrace N., FargoSing along to your favorite Willy Wonka tunes at this delicious musical! Follow Charlie Bucket as he visits Mr. Wonka’s mysterious chocolate…

On Monday Dan Larson, a film student from Montana State University in Bozeman, swung by the office for an interview. This time I was on the other side of the questioning. Larson is currently working on a documentary about the…

Do Muslims and Christians have to wear gloves to play football?Gene and Matthew were both young teenagers when they realized they were gay. They finally met in the hallowed halls of Washington’s National Cathedral where leading…

FARGO - A collection of memories from High Plains Reader's annual Cocktail Showdown. Participants were judged on creativity, flavor, and presentation; and this year we added a new category. Like years before, each establishment was…

by Nataly Routledgenatalyroutledge@googlemail.comFARGO--I’ve been fortunate enough to grow up in Fargo during a time of growth and cultural development. One thing I’ve been holding out for while watching Fargo boom is…

When asked if Aaron “Heatbox” Heaton was ever formally trained to play an instrument he admitted to playing the tuba for seven years. Though during his senior year in high school he found his calling and it wasn’t the tuba.…

Cinema

Oh hi Mark…

by James Osborne

If you Google something, anything, about halfway down the page you’ll find the “People Also Ask” section. The results of this section are, not surprisingly, determined by the most commonly asked questions which leads users to…

by: Melissa Gonzalezmelissam.gonzalez@outlook.comFrom music, to sculpture, to grand scale murals, one local artist is working tirelessly to share his work with the community.The West Acres Mall is currently hosting its fifth…

by Stella Mehlhoffstellamehlhoff@gmail.com“Our mission is to invigorate civic conversation through intimate and transformative storytelling.” This statement posted on Theatre B’s website and tacked to their studio wall in…

Those who have been reading my articles for a while may remember when I interviewed Zachary Tooker about the Level Two Comedy Club at the Radisson in Fargo. While the club may have unfortunately closed, Tooker has not ceased…

Beer Snob

Warm up with a hot toddy

by HPR Contributor

by Ben Myhrebenmyhre35@gmail.com Fall is once again upon us. The leaves are turning, gardens have been pulled, and Summer’s heat has waned into Autumnal frosts. Along with the change of seasons comes a change of seasonal flavors.…

I’m a big man, I’m tall and powerful, but this also causes some issues in the body department. I suffer from acute scoliosis in my lower back, and pain radiates from this area on a daily basis. I have only ever had one massage…

By Melissa Martinmelissamartincounselor@live.comThink back to one of your worst small decisions. Then answer the following questions:How did you make the decision?What happened after the decision?When did you know it was the worst…

Okay, against my better judgment, again, I'm going to weigh in on the 2018 election, just a week hence. Here goes.I told Democratic-NPL Congressional candidate Mac Schneider last week that if Heidi Heitkamp wins re-election to the…