Ever hear of the “Idaho Stop” law? If you’re a resident of Arkansas, you should become familiar with it. We’re the second state in the United States to legalize it.
The law – which got its name by being first implemented in Idaho – was first passed in 1982 and has since proven to be effective at mitigating bicycle accidents. In the following year alone, bicycle-related injuries fell by more than 14 percent.
In April 2019, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed Act 650 into law. The law will go into effect in July and will allow bicyclists to treat stop signs as yields and red lights as stop signs.
Ken McLeod, policy director for the League of American Bicyclists, explains, “This act is likely to improve the safety of bicyclists by promoting the use of side streets and lessening the time that bicyclists are exposed to dangers at intersections.”
Overview on the Idaho Stop
In order for bicyclists to preserve their momentum while riding, the law allows them to proceed through stops signs at reduced speeds called “rolling stops.” Bicyclists must only come to a complete stop when oncoming traffic is present. The law doesn’t, however, allow bicyclists to blow through stop signs at a high speed.
Portland videographer Spencer Boomhower explains the benefits of the Idaho Stop in the video below.
Legal recourse in the event of a bicycle accident
Arkansas residents often enjoy the health and financial benefits of commuting by bicycle. Others enjoy it as a hobby. However, it can be dangerous. Drivers don’t always show courtesy. They often either treat bicyclists as a nuisance or engage in outright hostile behavior.
In addition, many roadways in Arkansas are simply not designed to accommodate bicycle safety – especially on rural roads where cars aren’t able to leave an adequate amount of space when passing.
While the Idaho Stop may help promote safety for bicyclists at intersections, drivers are still required to uphold their duty of care. Unfortunately, bicycles are not recognized as vehicles under Arkansas law (§27-49-219), but bicyclists still have the right to access most roadways and follow the same set of rules as motorists.
In the event that you or a loved one was injured in an Arkansas bicycle accident, you can count on an attorney at McDaniel Law Firm to help you recover damages for injuries and financial losses. Contact our Jonesboro, Arkansas law office today to learn more.