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:

BISMARCK – The Dakota Access Pipeline developer agreed to plant trees to reach a settlement over two misconduct allegations while constructing the pipeline on Wednesday. A total of 20,000 trees are to be planted by December 31,…

photo by Meg Luther Lindholm.Ibtissem (pronounced Ib-tiss-em) Belmihoub is both enjoying her time in Fargo as a doctoral student in Rhetoric, Writing and Culture at NDSU and a community volunteer. She is currently the Project…

Wed-Fri, September 27-29, 8pm; Sat-Sun, 2pmComstock Theatre, Concordia College, 901 8th St S, MoorheadIt is October, 1517, at Wittenberg University in northern Germany, where students and faculty begin another academic year. A…

Our opinion: We’re more than the sum of our partsOver the weekend I was telling a friend of mine that one of the most valuable things a person can gain in life is perspective. My time at the High Plains Reader has gifted me just…

What kind of characters would charge $99 for a case of water?In the days before the solar eclipse safety glasses sold for $8.95 for a five-pack of certified glasses. The day before the eclipse the price was raised to $59. During…

The moment of truth has arrived. After seven weeks of sampling and judging some of the finest libations in the area the results for this year’s Cocktail Showdown have arrived. Christopher Larson, Raul Gomez and Sabrina Hornung…

Brand new and satisfying in so many waysI ventured into Tru Blu on Sunday at noon. As soon as I entered I was immediately astonished by the interior. It’s gorgeous! The brown tufted booths and dark wood give the impression that…

Fall is arriving, and that of course means that the new season of the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra’s “Masterworks” series sponsored by Sanford Health is right around the corner.In the last couple concert seasons they…

Rom-coms are a staple of modern movies and have been for well over a century. This summer two very different variations on the genre spotlighting iconic 20th-century superstars made their Blu-ray debuts from Kino-Lorber. One is a…

The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are presented by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. This nonprofit organization described their mission as “To identify students with their exceptional artistic and literary talent and…

‘Heathers’ hits the Empire stage in Grand ForksBefore the pink-clad Plastics or Cher’s group of popular beauties in “Clueless,” the shoulder pad-wearing, croquet mallet-wielding Heathers ruled the halls of Westerberg High…

Humor

​Talking to strangers

by Sabrina Hornung

“I don’t have a tour, like, on the back of a sweatshirt,” comedian Paula Poundstone says. “I go out every weekend. This weekend I went out Friday, Saturday and Monday. Mostly it’s Friday/Saturday or Thursday through…

Up here where it’s north of normal, we can pretty much count on our first cold snap to hit right about now, and the 90 degree day we JUST HAD seems like a distant memory. Goodbye pool parties, BBQs and the patio hang sesh. Hello…

Essential oils. They are all the buzz lately. It seems everyone has heard of them or is purchasing them. Some people know how to use them; others are just interested in the wonder of their complex scents.Essential oils are as…

Live and Learn

​The other shoe

by HPR Contributor

By Elizabeth Nawrotnawrot@mnstate.eduI look up from my hotel lobby breakfast astonished to see a framed print of Wassily Kandinsky's "Mit und Gegen,” a masterpiece of color and composition that just happens to be my favorite…

By Robert Franklin, Esq.parents@nationalparentsorganization.orgIn North Dakota, a child’s chances of spending meaningful time with each parent following divorce have less to do with his parents than what county they divorce…