The City of Twin Falls changed its code requirements on Monday, Oct. 19 regarding rules for bicyclists approaching intersections. The change will allow cyclists to slow down — but not require them to stop, if safe to do so — at intersections with traffic lights or signs. City code that was adopted in 1982 had previously required cyclists to come to a complete stop.
Through the City’s public process to identify community needs for cyclists, questionnaires were distributed to gather input from the community on cycling issues. Among the issues identified by citizens was a request to review existing city codes as they applied to bicycling. Staff met with citizens and members of the biking community to discuss potential code changes, and it was determined that State and City codes addressed bicycle issues similarly with the exception of traffic control.
The State code requires cyclists approaching intersections to do the following:
1. Slow down, and if required for safety, stop
2. Yield the right-of-way to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching, if the approaching vehicle will create a hazard while they cross the intersection
3. Proceed after appropriately slowing and yielding without stopping
The proposal from the cycling community and the City of Twin Falls Parks and Recreation Commission was to adopt the State code, which would eliminated some of the confusion among cyclists who live in the community and those who are visiting from outside Twin Falls.
The recommendation was presented to the Twin Falls Traffic Safety Commission for approval. The Commission asked for additional research on whether the State Code’s position on stop signs and stop lights caused more accidents in Idaho. The resulting research did not show significant increase in accidents.
It was found that many cyclists were already following State code in Twin Falls and unaware of the City’s exception. No citations have been issued to cyclists in the City of Twin Falls for failing to make a complete stop at a traffic signal.
The City has been working to modify codes and create trails and facilities that better accommodate cyclists and other forms of active transportation, which is an objective that the public identified as a high priority in the City of Twin Falls' Strategic Plan.
The City of Twin Falls will continue to update its codes regarding bicycle safety and connectivity to accommodate the growing cycling community. Citizens are encouraged to stay involved and provide feedback, which will assist the City in serving its citizens.