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Bicycle bill rolls on through

Sen. Joyce Broadsword’s compromise bill on when bicyclists should have to stop for red lights cleared the Senate today on a 29-3 vote, with the only surprise by that point being that anyone voted against it.

From a brouhaha that had cyclists swarming committee hearings and safety concerns clashing, the issue has been settled way down by the latest bill, SB 1131. It’s a compromise between law enforcement and the bicycling community, Broadsword told the Senate. Rather than the earlier bill, which ordered cyclists to wait at red lights until they turn green, the new one requires cyclists to stop, but then allows them to proceed as long as they yield to traffic. Signals, Broadsword explained, “don’t change for a bicycle, and they don’t want to wait there all night.” In the earlier committee hearings, bicyclists also argued that it’s not safe for them to wait until signals turn green because that puts them with the traffic, rather than separate from it, and cars are likely to turn right and hit them.

The only votes against the bill came from senior GOP Sens. Dean Cameron of Rupert, Denton Darrington of Declo and Bart Davis of Idaho Falls, none of whom said why they opposed the bill. It now moves to the House.

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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