CHICAGO — While bicyclists are required to comply with all the same laws motorists have to follow in Chicago, a new study suggests they may be safer doing otherwise.
A study examining stopping at stop signs and stop lights confirmed what many have argued over the years: bicyclists just aren’t stopping. The study by the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development at Depaul University released Monday observed 875 cyclists at six intersections in Chicago, and found only one in 25 actually came to complete stops.
The majority of cyclists are making what’s known as an “Idaho Stop,” named after the state that legalized it. An Idaho Stop allows cyclists to treat a stop sign as a yield sign, and a red light at a signal as a stop sign- that they can proceed through after stopping and yielding to other traffic.
The study recommends the City consider legalizing these types of stops that most cyclists are already doing. It cites safety benefits seen in other states, including the year after it was implemented in Idaho, when cyclists’ injuries declined by 14.5 percent.
The study also mentions the fact that six cyclists were killed in Chicago this year between June and September, half of which were women struck by commercial trucks making turns. It cites a report by the Transport for London, which says women cyclists are more likely to be killed by trucks than men. It suggests that’s because women are more likely than men to obey signals, making them more likely get stuck in a truck’s blind spot.
The study also suggests that instead of fining cyclists who commit minor traffic violations.. It would be beneficial for cities to make them attend traffic safety courses, and educate them on the traffic laws and how they’re enforced.