Must Bicyclists Stop?

The so-called “California Stop”/rolling stop is commonly done by motorists and bicyclists. It can often be safely accomplished, though the behavior is illegal because under California law a full stop is required. When challenged about the extent to which I ride a bicycle legally – especially related to stop signs – I disclose that I ride/drive my bicycles in the same manner that I drive my cars. This usually gets a nervous laugh response because the motorists in the audience, although irate about the behavior of “all those bicyclists” realize that they have rolled through stops too.

The League of American Bicyclists League Cycling Instructors are to teach that vehicle traffic laws apply to bicyclists too, that a full stop is required, AND that the important behavior for everyone’s safety and efficient travel is looking/scanning for and yielding to other approaching road users. Someone can legally complete a full stop and then still fail to yield!

I don’t think we/I should or can successfully object to equal treatment/enforcement – police ticketing bicyclists as well as motorists for unsafe rolling stops. Maybe someday pedestrian and bicycle (clean) travel might achieve superior status and right-of-way over motor vehicle operation. In the meantime, I’d prefer to focus my/CABO efforts on fair and increased education and enforcement toward bicyclists AND motorists who fail to yield — rather than targeting those who creep through carefully.
And, there are too many instances of installation of a Stop sign when no sign or a yield sign would be more appropriate. Right?

Jim Baross, CABO President

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About Jim Baross

I bicycled across the USA from East to West in 1976 leading groups of bicyclists for the “Bikecentennial ’76 “event and again in 2007 riding this time from West to East with my two sons. I was first certified as an Effective Cycling Instructor in 1986 by the League of American Bicyclist and have been an active League Cycling Instructor for the League since then. In 2002 I gained acceptance as a Cycling Instructor Trainer and since then have conducted 11 training seminars for certification of League Cycling Instructors held in San Diego, San Jose, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Sacramento, Morgan Hill, Fairfax, and Palo Alto. I completed the San Diego Police Bicycle Skills Menu Course in 2003 and I have been an expert witness for bicycling crash incidents. I presently serve on several bicycling advisory committees and advocacy organizations. Chair - Bicycle-Pedestrian Advisory Working Group for the San Diego regional association of governments since 1995 Vice Chair - California Bicycle Advisory Committee for the State Dept of Transportation, a member since 1992 President - California Association of Bicycling Organizations Board member - California Bicycle Coalition California State Ambassador – League of American Bicyclists Co-Chair California Strategic Highway Safety Plan, Challenge Area 13, Improving Bicycling Safety Conferences, seminars and similar events at which I have attended and presented bicycling safety information and training include the following: Speaker/Presenter, Calif. Office of Traffic Safety, Summit “What to do about all these bicycles in Traffic”, 2009 ProWalk-ProBike Conference, Seattle WA., 2008 Attendee/Speaker, League of American Bicyclists, Bike Education Conference, Wisconsin and New York City, 2002 & 2007 Velo Mondial, Amsterdam. 2000 Speaker/Presenter, Calif. Office of Traffic Safety’s Summit “A Vision for Roads to Traffic Safety”, 2000 Speaker Autovation conference, San Diego 2005 Chair, California Strategic Highway Safety Plan, #13 - Improve Bicycling Safety Presenter, California Strategic Highway Safety Plan Summit, 2008 Anaheim Attendee, League of American Bicyclists, National Bike Summit, Washington, DC, 2006 & 2008 Presenter, Walk/Bike California Conferences, Oakland 2003, Ventura 2005, Davis 2007 Speaker, Making the Connection International Trails and Greenways Conference Presenter, Safety N Kids, Conference, “Children Learn Best by Good Examples From Those They Trust”, 2006 Speaker, ITE Conference 2006 Dana Point, Calif., “Engineering for Bicycling, From a Bicyclists Point of View” Exhibitor/Speaker, Lifesavers, National Conference on Highway Safety Priorities, 2004 References familiar with my bicycling background and experience include: Kathy Keehan, Exec Director San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, Ph: 858-487-6063, Email: Stephan Vance, Chair Calif. Bicycle Coalition and SANDAG Senior Planner, Ph: 619-595-5324, Email: Ken McGuire, Chief Bicycle Facilities Unit, California Dept of Transportation, Ph: 916-653-2750, Email: Preston Tyree, Director of Education, League of American Bicyclists, 1612 K St., NW, #800, Washington, DC 20006, Ph: 202-822-1333 x 227, Email:

One thought on “Must Bicyclists Stop?

  1. clintbradford

    I have always been embarrassed by and irritated with cyclists who DO know better that blow red lights and stop signs. Club riders are notorious for doing this. I see examples of this every weekend here in the Riverside area, and, unfortunately, down in the greater San Diego area when visiting.

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