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Proposed legislation would allow cyclists, scooters to yield at stop signs and ban right turn on red in DC

Here's a closer look at the Safer Intersections Amendment, sponsored by Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh.

WASHINGTON — There’s a new move to ban right turns on red lights in D.C. to protect pedestrians. The same proposal would allow the so-called "Idaho stop" for cyclists and scooter drivers.

The "Idaho stop" is named for the first state to allow the practice in 1982. Cyclists and scooter riders would be allowed to roll through stop signs without coming to a halt, and to proceed through red lights after stopping first.  

The measures are spelled out in the Safer Intersections Amendment, a bill filed for consideration by the DC City Council, sponsored by Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh. 

“Allowing right turns on red is a safety hazard, increasing the likelihood of crashes, and putting road users at heightened risk of injury or death," Cheh wrote. "Allowing cyclists and other riders to maintain momentum and move more quickly through an intersection, while getting out ahead of traffic, reduces their exposure to traffic, making their ride more predictable and safer."

Groups like the DC Bicycle Advisory Council point to studies that show cycling injuries have actually declined in Delaware by 23% after that state adopted the Idaho Stop.

An epidemic of dangerous driving in the District claimed the lives of 40 in 2021 – half of them were pedestrians and cyclists, according to D.C.’s Department of Transportation.


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