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News >  Idaho

Bicycle safety bill resurfaces

Josh Wright Staff writer

BOISE – After her original bicycle safety bill created a flurry of protests, a Senate committee introduced Sen. Joyce Broadsword’s new measure Monday that has the backing of bicyclists and law enforcement officials.

The Sagle Republican’s new bill would require cyclists to stop at red lights, then yield to oncoming traffic. The cyclist is free to proceed after yielding.

In a public hearing last week, many Treasure Valley cyclists expressed concern over SB 1058, which would have forced bicyclists to stay stopped at red lights until the light turned green. The Senate Transportation Committee killed that legislation.

“We’ve reworked it to the blessing of law enforcement and the bicycling community,” Broadsword said. “Everybody that I’ve spoken to is in favor of it.”

The compromise was first suggested last week by Sen. David Langhorst, D-Boise, after cyclists complained that nonresponsive traffic lights, which have magnetic sensors set off only by large vehicles, would make the law cumbersome.

Others said it would be more dangerous if they had to wait for the light to turn green because traffic builds up at intersections, and then can turn into cyclists when both start off at the same time.

“You never can do anything about the reckless cyclist,” said Kevin Bayhouse, a Boise cyclist who takes an active role in the Bike Advisory Committee for the Ada County Highway District. “Most bicyclists are going to judge the situation properly. At least from what I’ve seen, that’s true.”

Before rewriting the bill, Broadsword said she talked to the Idaho Transportation Department about changing the sensors in traffic lights to benefit bicyclists. “They have the technology to do it, but it wouldn’t be overnight,” she said after the hearing.

Law enforcement officials, including the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department, have approved the new version of the bill, Broadsword said.

“They want to make the law as clear as possible,” she said. “It wasn’t clear before. Now it’s safer.”

The Senate Transportation Committee will now schedule a hearing on the new measure.

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