Location: IA

Iowa Rail-Trail Stop Sign Enforcement

Via BikeIowa.com:

You've been warned... Bicyclists ticketed $195 for ignoring RRVT stop signs

You’ve been warned… Bicyclists ticketed $195 for ignoring RRVT stop signs

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?


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About The Author

By Randy Rasa, editor/webmaster at Kansas Cyclist, the web's premier Kansas cycling information site, featuring authoritative guides to Kansas cycling clubs, bike shops, organized bike rides, touring, trails, and much more. [learn more]

3 responses to “Iowa Rail-Trail Stop Sign Enforcement”

  1. Paul Johnson says:

    I’d prefer the Yield Sign approach, the Idaho Stop is a band-aid to bad traffic control design.

  2. Mike Fuhrman says:

    The police officer is right. Bikers should slow down enough to check both ways and be prepared to stop for traffic. Motorists have a hard enough time trying to anticipate what bicyclists are going to do and blowing through stop signs doesn’t help.

  3. Keith Holcomb says:

    That does not even look like a legal or regulation stop sign, in size or installed height. And it might not be, just like stop signs in parking lots or fast food driveways.
    For $195 it might be worth checking into.