Home>Articles>Bill that Allows Bicyclists To Yield at Stop Signs Headed to Governor’s Desk

Stop sign in Pasadena, California (Photo: Evan Symon for California Globe)

Bill that Allows Bicyclists To Yield at Stop Signs Headed to Governor’s Desk

AB 122 would only last six years as a pilot program

By Evan Symon, September 3, 2021 3:14 pm

A bill that would allow bicyclists to yield at stop signs rather than coming to a complete stop passed both houses of the California legislature this week, requiring only the Governor’s signature before becoming law.

Assemblywoman Tasha Boerner Horvath. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Assembly Bill 122, authored by Assemblywoman Tasha Boerner Horvath (D-Encinitas), would specifically require people riding bicycles to yield at stops signs if the intersection is clear. Bicyclists, when approaching a stop sign at the entrance of an intersection, are required to “yield the right-of-way to any vehicles that have either stopped at or entered the intersection or that are approaching on the intersecting highway close enough to constitute an immediate hazard, and to pedestrians, as specified, and continue to yield the right-of-way to those vehicles and pedestrians until reasonably safe to proceed.”

In addition, other vehicles would have to yield the right of way to the bicyclist if they had already yielded. AB 122 would only be a six year pilot program with an end date of January 1, 2028 with a report on the program due that year and would also not affect driver liability if there is an accident.

Assemblywoman Boerner Horvath noted in a statement that she wrote AB 122 to increase safety for bicyclists and to help encourage more people to cycle rather than drive.

“We must encourage smarter, safer, more efficient transportation options that help people choose to get out of their cars. This cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions,” explained Boerner Horvath (D-Encinitas) on Thursday. “AB 122 encourages safe riding in our state by allowing cyclists to spend less time in dangerous intersections.”

Her office detailed the safety reasons in more detail, adding that “Research and common sense make clear that complete stops at all stop sign-controlled intersections make bike trips slower and require more energy from the rider. Studies on cyclists’ stopping behavior also find that these full stops do nothing to improve, and can even reduce, rider safety — attributed mainly to the increased time cyclists spend in the intersection after a full stop compared to the safe yielding alternative.”

While the bill did pass with a majority of bipartisan votes, the votes against AB 122 (or abstained) were also bipartisan. During the Senate vote Monday, the bill passed 31-5 with 4 abstentions, with the Assembly voting later in the week 49-19 with 11 abstentions.

Proponents, Opponents of AB 122

Proponents of the bill, which include environmentalists, cyclists, and public health advocates, all expressed support, as being allowed to yield would allow a bicyclist to go past the stop sign line and be more readily seen by drivers.

“Assemblymember Tasha Boerner Horvath’s policy approach makes San Diego County, and California, safer for all residents,” said San Diego County Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Andy Hanshaw. “This reasonable practice of treating stop signs as yield signs will make intersections much safer for cyclists, pedestrians, and motorists, while reducing carbon emissions and encouraging bicycling.”

However, opponents attacked the bill for encouraging cyclists to ignore stop signs and other traffic laws. Also noted was its lack of necessity during this legislative session.

“Of all the things that we need in the state of California, we think that some bill allowing people on bikes to not make a full stop at intersections is important?,” stated Verne Miller, a neighborhood public safety advisor in Southern California, to the Globe on Friday. “This isn’t that big a change.”

“But for the sake of public safety, while some results have shown lower accident rates with a yield-to-stop law in place, often overlooked is the mental change, specifically in bicyclists. This may help convince them that they don’t have to stop anymore and are just free to go. Traffic laws are there for a reason, and laws like AB 122 could encourage them to go farther in going against traffic laws. It is very much a concern, especially for rider in their 20s and below.”

AB 122 is expected to be signed into law by the Governor later this month.

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13 thoughts on “Bill that Allows Bicyclists To Yield at Stop Signs Headed to Governor’s Desk

  1. I am a bicyclist and this is a nightmare about to happen. Bicyclists are supposed to obey by the same driver laws. This is going to create more confusion to drivers and people are going to get hurt. Why must CA make everything so difficult. Why can’t bicyclists just obey the rules of the road?

    1. Unequal application of the law is called anarchy. Just wait until gays, transgenders, illegal aliens, blacks etc., etc. also get exemptions from various laws.

  2. Yep… THIS is the most pressing problem in California…

    Everything else is just FINE…

    At least this bill isn’t as stupid as the Bay Area bills…sorta…. (It IS tone-deaf, however…)

  3. Service industry person here, spending much of every day driving.

    This is a nightmare in the works as it’s going to compound the likelihood of people getting injured or killed. Bicyclists as a group already ignore traffic laws, roadway courtesy, and personal safety. Vehicle drivers bear the brunt of the liability. This is going to be a nightmare in S.F., Marin, Sonoma, Yolo, and Sac. Counties where I have personal experience.

  4. Let’s push this a bit further let bikes RUN THROUGH RED LIGHTS – cars need to be able to see them and give them the right of way right? nothing bad could happen with bikes being able to break rules of the road. The laws being submitted seem to just be so one can put their name on something.

  5. Lets pass a bill to change all STOP signs to read PAUSE! That certainly would promote EQUALITY, isn’t that what we all want? We are in this “all together” right?
    Who paid this gal off to write this meaningless crap? I’ve known hookers that have more scruples than these whores!

  6. With all the issues facing the state of California, tone deaf Democrats like Assemblywoman Tasha Boerner Horvath are focused on silly legislation like this?

  7. There is empirical evidence that bicycle stop-as-yield reduces collisions and deaths involving cyclists. Cyclists are still required to stop if anyone else is in the intersection, this merely allows them to get out of the intersection faster when they would be the next to go anyways. Cyclists ignoring stop signs will remain illegal

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