NAPERVILLE, Ill. – State Rep. Janet Yang Rohr, D-Naperville, is continuing to work to make Illinois more accommodating to bicycles while implementing public safety measures.
“When bikes first became widely-used, they were successful in part because they offered a low-cost, low-maintenance alternative to the more common transportation method of the day: horses. Today, bikes offer those same benefits over cars, with the notable addition that riding a bike produces no pollution, and they deserve greater recognition,” Yang Rohr said. “It is disappointing that my legislation won’t progress further this year, but I am pleased to have focused the conversation, and will continue to fight for change going forward.”
Yang Rohr authored House Bill 4267, a bill which would allow bicyclists to treat “Stop” signs as “Yield” signs. Unless bike riders encounter pedestrians, cars, or other hazards, they would only have to slow down when approaching stop signs, not come to a complete stop. This measure has already passed in some form in seven other states; first in Idaho, which coined the term “Idaho stop” for this situation.
The goal is to move bikes through an intersection while there is no traffic, as opposed to requiring them to come to a complete stop. While the bikes are stopped, vehicles may be approaching and riders have no momentum. It places them in the intersection longer where the majority of accidents occur. Numerous studies on the effects of this rule have returned evidence of a substantial decrease in accidents as a result: Idaho saw a 14.5 percent decrease in bike injuries and accidents following the passage of its law, while the “Delaware Yield” resulted in a 23 percent drop.
“‘Stop as yield’ laws have been unequivocally shown to improve public safety and save lives,” Yang Rohr said. “This is an opportunity to make our communities safer, and I hope to work with my colleagues to make sure we take advantage.”