Between 2016 and 2018 traffic collisions with bicyclists nationally killed 455 riders and injured scores more. Even in light of these facts California Lawmakers are seeking to make the road more dangerous for riders by allowing riders to roll through stop signs. For Pat Hines, founder of traffic safety group this is personal. While training for the 1984 Olympics Hines and a friend rode through an intersection believing they had enough time to cross and her friend was killed by an oncoming vehicle. Both Hines and her friend were very experienced riders.
Hines was “in shock” when she learned the California Legislature voted in favor of AB 122 which would allow bike riders to roll through stop signs. The bills author Tasha Horvath from Encinitas says the bill creates predictable behavior for drivers to follow. Opponents say that the stop sign is part of “the glue” that holds together the social contract between bicyclists and motorists. Hines and others argue the bill will teach cyclists, particularly children, not to respect stop signs. “We have to keep that social contract in place” Hines said.
The author acknowledged her bill is counter intuitive with different rules for bicyclists than for cars. “Bicyclists are not driving a deadly weapon. In the same was a car can kill a bicycle cannot” said Tasha Horvath. Hines says that Horvath is using highway safety data from Delaware, Idaho and Washington State to support AB 122 while California has more drivers on the road than those other states will ever have and she understands first hand what’s at stake.
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