Time and time again in local editorials, op-eds, and comment sections, there’s the complaint that bicyclists don’t come to a complete stop at stop signs. This is despite the fact that it’s safe for someone on a relatively slow, lightweight device with near-360-degree visibility to treat a stop sign like a yield sign.
It’s extremely common for bike riders to decelerate when approaching a stop sign and check to make sure there’s no vehicular or pedestrian cross traffic before proceeding through the intersection, rather than putting a foot down. In fact, this harmless, momentum-saving practice is completely legal in the Potato State, so it’s known around the country as the “Idaho stop.”
Meanwhile, it’s dangerous by comparison to do the same thing when piloting a fast, multi-ton vehicle with blind spots. And yet, as video shot this summer by a Ravenswood Manor resident at Wilson and Francisco and posted on DNAinfo shows, it’s very common for drivers to roll through stop signs.
Now we’ve got additional footage shot by Streetsblog Chicago reader J. Patrick Lynch that suggests this kind of driver behavior is the rule, rather than the exception, at four-way stop signs. He shot the video Monday at 6:30 p.m. at Adams and Aberdeen in the West Loop.
By my count, a full 39 of the 61 drivers of the vehicles visible in the video — that’s 64 percent — failed to come to a complete stop. Most of these non-complying folks slowed down before entering the intersection, but a few scofflaws didn’t seem to hit the brakes at all. When you’re in control of a machine that can easily kill someone, that’s a fairly reckless thing to do.
“I felt this was another good highlight of absurdity of motorists who complain about cyclists who don’t come to complete stops,” Lynch said.