By Beth Germano, WBZ-TVBy Beth Germano

BROOKLINE (CBS) – The town of Brookline is debating some changes to the laws that bicyclists have to observe on the road. Just like cars they have to wait for green lights, and stop at all stop signs. But so-called “Idaho stops” would relax that a little bit, and some bicyclists say it would be safer.

“Idaho stops” are named for the only state that has adopted new regulations. Bicyclists could consider a red light a stop sign, and a stop sign a yield sign, which means roll through cautiously ahead of cars.

Cyclist Matt Long says it’s not always easy sharing a red light with cars and wouldn’t mind getting ahead legally. “I think rather than fighting for a spot in between cars you’d be out ahead so you might increase safety a little bit,” said Long.

Cynthia Snow, chairwoman of the town’s bicycle safety committee agrees. “Very often cars don’t see bicycles. Idaho stops give bicyclists a little more discretion in determining the safest way to get through intersections.”

There’s no green light yet to the change. It’s up for discussion in Brookline which posed the question on Twitter and received nearly 200 responses. The town has also been more aggressive in recent months enforcing the rules of the road for bicyclists.

Mia Geurts says she was recently cited for running a red light, but doesn’t think Idaho stops are the answer. “It’s probably safer to follow the motor vehicle laws since you’re on the road with motor vehicles. That’s what they’re expecting you to follow,” said Geurts.

Brookline police chief Dan O’Leary says the town has been trying to back up enforcement with education instead of monetary fines. He sees a consistency problem with Idaho stops that will compromise safety. “You can’t do it in one community and not another,” he says. “People won’t know where they are and there will be confusion.”

Brookline is watching the signs before it makes a mad dash to be first.


Beth Germano

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