San Francisco Bicycle Riders Demonstrate the Idaho Stop at the Bottom of a Steep Hill

A “California Stop” occurs when a driver or cyclist slows down for a stop sign, but does not come to a full stop at any particular instant. This certainly is an aspect of traffic culture in San Francisco and it’s one that’s tolerated by the SFPD. For example, motorcycle-riding cops will sometimes lie in wait on Pierce as car after car commits a California Stop coming down Alamo Heights on Fulton. Maybe ten people go through without incident but then somebody rolls through at 7 MPH and the driver gets pulled over. Just watch the police themselves cruising around in cars and on bikes to see how fast they go past the red octagon, depending on traffic, visibility, time of day, etc. California Stops aren’t tolerated as much in other places, such as the small towns of Marin County. And, oh yes, this approach is also known as an “Oklahoma Stop” in other parts of the country.

OTOH, an “Idaho Stop” occurs when a cyclist doesn’t slow down at all for a stop sign.

Thusly, near Twin Peaks:

Look for Idaho Stops in the Lower Haight area, where many fixed gear riders maintain the same pace whether cycling past stop signs or not.

Some people in San Francisco want Idaho Stops to be legal in San Francisco.

Would that be a good thing?

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