This is from the Raccoon River Valley Trail in Iowa: Ouch! Bicyclists ticketed $195 each for ignoring RRVT stop signs!
The ticketing officer said:
“It’s the law, but even more important, this is a safety issue. I don’t like giving people tickets for something like this, but I also don’t want to be pulling anybody off the grill of a Chevrolet truck, either.
Since I’m a bike rider myself, I understand that a lot of people have their shoes clipped into their pedals, and it breaks up all your momentum to stop. If there’s no traffic, I don’t really need to see somebody come to a complete stop with their foot down on the trail, but I expect to see them slow way down and get a real good look before they proceed.”
So even law enforcement officers seem to be a little fuzzy on the details. Strictly enforce the letter of the law, or permit safe and reasonable behavior?
The normal behavior of walkers, runners, and bicyclists is to slow down at road crossings, look, listen, and then proceed if safe. If they can’t clearly see or hear, then they’ll slow way down and prepare to stop if necessary.
Most people consider this to be sensible. Yet it is illegal in most places.
Would replacing stop signs with yield signs where rail-trails cross lightly-traveled rural roads make sense? Or would enacting the Idaho Stop law be a better approach?
Or should we continue on the current path of occasional and inconsistent enforcement of a law that criminalizes safe and reasonable behavior?
Post tags: Rail Trail