Cyclists follow many of the same rules as motorists. In most states, this includes stopping at stop signs.
However, a few states, including Oregon, have separate rules for how cyclists approach stop signs. In 2020, Oregon enacted a stop-as-yield law for cyclists.
What is the stop-as-yield law?
In most states, bicycles must come to a complete stop at a stop sign, just like cars. In Oregon, however, cyclists may treat a stop sign or a flashing red light as a yield sign.
This means that when you approach a stop sign or flashing red light on a bicycle, you may slow down to a safe speed and, if there is no cross traffic, proceed through the intersection without coming to a complete stop. However, you must yield to pedestrians and vehicles already in or approaching the intersection.
How does the law benefit cyclists?
Stopping at an intersection is more difficult for cyclists than for drivers. A bicycle relies on the cyclist’s physical strength to start moving, and it relies on momentum to stay in motion. When a cyclist comes to a complete stop, he or she loses momentum and must use muscle power to start again, which can disrupt traffic flow and lead to fatigue.
Yielding rather than stopping at stop signs allows cyclists to maintain momentum and balance and helps traffic move more efficiently. According to the NHTSA, stop-as-yield laws can reduce bicycle accidents and encourage more people to choose cycling over driving.
Cycling is a healthy and enjoyable activity for many Oregonians. The stop-as-yield law aims to encourage this activity and ensure safety on the road.