OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma State Senate passed a bill to better ensure the safety of bicyclists.
House Bill 1770, written in the Oklahoma House by Rep. Mike Dobrinski, R-Okeene, and in the Senate by Sen. Darrell Weaver, R-Moore, allows bicycle riders to treat stop signs as yield signs and red lights as stop signs.
The legislation states a person riding a bicycle would still have to yield to cars, pedestrians and other crosswalk users that are already at the intersection, according to a State Senate news release.
Bike riders are required to make a complete stop at intersections with stop lights before entering the intersection and “yield the right-of-way to all oncoming traffic that constitutes an immediate hazard during the time they are moving through the intersection,” the news release states.
The bicyclist can proceed through the intersection with caution if they determine there is no immediate hazard.
Bicyclists who treat stop signs as yield signs help improve traffic flow because there is less wait time for vehicles and less time in the intersection for bikes, according to Weaver, who said accidents will also be reduced.
“Idaho, Delaware, Arkansas, Colorado, Oregon and Washington already have stop as yield laws on the books. In Idaho, the year after the law passed, they saw a 14.5 percent decrease in the injury of bicyclists. In Delaware, they saw a 23 percent drop in crashes involving bicycles at stop sign intersections 30 months after they passed their stop as yield law,” Weaver said. “I’m confident this bill will make bike riding safer in Oklahoma.”
The legislation updates state law on hand signals used by bicyclists and makes it illegal for drivers to honk when passing a bicyclist, or animal-drawn vehicle, if danger of a collision is not imminent.
“This bill will improve safety for our bicyclists who share the road with motorists and pedestrians, clarifying the responsibilities for each traveler. As the anniversary of Historic Route 66 approaches, which will bring a great number of cycling enthusiasts to our state, it was important to have these updated safety measures in place,” Weaver said.
The bill returns to the House for further consideration.