Why The “Idaho Stop” Is A Bad Idea


Background Reading:

Cyclists have a very bad habit of either doing what they complain of in motorists or choosing remedies for use on motorists that they hate for themselves. Case in point is the newly minted term for almost getting your butt plastered when a motorist rushes through a Yield sign. Read about it below:

The No-Contact Crash

What to do if you’re forced to evade a careless or aggressive driver

By Bob Mionske

Source: Bicycling Magazine

Road Rights© Illustration: Harvey Campbell

Road Rights
© Illustration: Harvey Campbell

A reader recently asked an interesting question. If a car causes a cyclist to crash, but doesn’t actually collide with the rider, is the driver still at fault?

In a recent incident, a husband-and-wife tandem team ran into an abutment after a driver violated their right-of-way. Police officers told them, incorrectly, that it was “not legally an accident because there was no collision between bike and car.” The officers refused to take contact information from a witness even though the driver admitted fault at the scene. They also informed the couple that it was their responsibility to control the bike. In another incident, a driver failed to yield before ­making a right turn and nearly struck a­ cyclist. The rider crashed, and wonders if his insurance company will pay.

Although neither vehicle touched the cyclists, the drivers operated in a way that caused a crash. In fact, the only ­reason there was no contact was because the ­cyclists took evasive ­action. Here’s how to avoid this kind of situation, and how to handle it if you do hit the pavement.

Ride Defensively
Be extra vigilant near intersections and driveways, where drivers are more likely to violate your right-of-way.

Play Detective
While you may be able to file a successful­ claim after a no-contact crash, you will find it harder if you don’t have evidence of the driver’s negligence. Witnesses can provide valuable proof, so make every effort to get contact information from any bystanders who saw what happened.

Record Your Ride
You may have seen the YouTube clip of the Colorado driver who harassed two cyclists by following them and honking. He was eventually ticketed, thanks in part to that video.

Research and assistance by Rick Bernardi, J.D.


“You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

— Matthew 7:5 – New American Standard Bible (©1995)

The “Big Lie” that Randy Cohen tries to sell is that when a cyclist treats a traffic control intended to results in a “full stop” as a Yield Sign that it is nobodies business but his own. Bicycling Magazine has come to the rescue with a clear and concise description of what it means when someone “violates your right of way“. What better description could be given to the actions of a cyclist who ventures out into an intersection on a red light and proceeds to wander into the lefthand turning lane of traffic approaching from the right. Any motorist seeing you would no doubt either brake sharply or swerve to avoid collision. That my friend could result in a “No-Contact Crash“.

I had this happen to me one evening when traveling down a one-way street (Jackson) heading into the downtown area. A cyclist heading south along Racine decided to make a righthand turn into the lefthand lane on Jackson so he could reach his condominium housing just behind Helix Camera. Yikes! I had to brake because I was suddenly confronted with a rider heading towards me in a lane where he should not have been.

Now of course if you (as a motorist) complain about this sort of thing (say in print) and your name is John Kass then Ron Burke decides to castigate you for calling out this type of behavior. But take a gander at what Bicycling Magazine has to say about a cyclist who is calling out motorists for the very same activity:

Cyclists won the right to the road in the 1880s; they have been defending their hard-fought gains from challenges ever since. Now, with Bob Mionske’s Road Rights blog, cyclists get all the latest on bicycle law, and the social and political issues involved.

Sounds pretty lofty right? But this is par for the course among members of the Church of Urban Cycling. They are always on the prowl for the splinter in a motorist’s eye while they are blind to the beam in their own.