Stop as Yield aka “The Idaho Stop”

The Idaho Stop is the common name for any law that allows people who are riding bicycles to treat a stop sign as a yield sign, and/or a red traffic signal as a stop sign.

It is often referred to as the Idaho Stop as Idaho was the first state to adopt the law. Examples of existing laws are shown in the appendix below.

 States with Stop as Yield Laws in Place

Arkansas                   Effective 2019

Colorado                   Effective for Local Decision in 2018, State Law 2022

Delaware*                Effective 2017

Idaho                         Effective 1982

Minnesota*              Effective 2023

North Dakota*         Effective 2021

Oklahoma                 Effective 2021

Oregon*                    Effective 2020

Utah*                         Effective 2021

Washington*            Effective 2020

Washington DC*     Effective 2022

*Stop sign as yield only, not stop light

 States Considering Stop as Yield Laws in Recent Years

California                  AB73

New Jersey               A 1541 Title 39

New York                  S 920 1231-a

Virginia                      HB 2262 46.2-903.1

 CalBike “Bicycle Safety Stop” Efforts

There have been efforts in California over the last few legislative cycles in enact this law without success. The California Bicycle Coalition (CalBike) is one of the groups pursuing the “Bicycle Safety Stop” Law in 2023. This would allow people on bicycles to treat a stop sign as a yield sign, and would require traffic control signals be obeyed. CalBike created this video to explain the stop as yield process.

 Impact Study Results

Studies in Idaho and Delaware show significant decreases in crashes at stop-controlled intersections after the law was put in place.

Idaho – Bicycle injuries from traffic crashes declined 14.5%

Delaware – Traffic crashes involving bicycles at stop sign intersection declined 23%

NHTSA Fact Sheet

In their document Bicycle “Stop-As-Yield” Laws and Safety Fact Sheet, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration included the following statements:

“Bicyclist stop-as-yield laws allow cyclists to mitigate risk to their advantage, increase their visibility to drivers and reduce exposure.”

“[T]here is no evidence showing bicyclist stop-as-yield laws have increased bike conflicts with other bikes or pedestrians.”

“When bicyclists can maintain a safe but precautionary momentum through an intersection, it allows continuous traffic flow.”

Ad Hoc National Stop as Yield Group

There is an ad hoc group of Stop as Yield advocates coordinated through CalBike. There are currently representatives from California, Illinois, New York, Virginia, Michigan, Texas, Colorado, Utah, North Dakota, League of American Bicyclists, and DC. If interested contact Walt ‘The Bike Guy’ at

 Current Arizona Law

  • Bicyclists riding in the road have the rights and duties of the driver of any non-motorized vehicle (§28-812)
  • The stop sign law (§28-855) and traffic control signal law (§28-645) require any driver of a vehicle (include non-motorized) to stop
  • Law does allow one to stop and ‘proceed with caution only when it is safe’ if the traffic signal is inoperable (§28-645) with mixed results for bicycle riders as a defense in court
  • Arizona does allow some local regulation of bicyclists, provided that ‘additional traffic regulations that are not in conflict’ with state law. (§28-627 §28-626)

The Coalitions of Arizona Bicyclists interpretation is that local ordinance cannot legalize Stop as Yield, and that state law change would be required. (This is not a legal opinion.)

Do you think stop as yield would be a good thing for people who ride bikes in Arizona?

Let us know by commenting below.



Examples of Stop as Yield Laws


49-720.  Stopping — Turn and stop signals. (1) A person operating a bicycle, human-powered vehicle, or an electric-assisted bicycle approaching a stop sign shall slow down and, if required for safety, stop before entering the intersection. After slowing to a reasonable speed or stopping, the person shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching on another highway so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time the person is moving across or within the intersection or junction of highways, except that a person, after slowing to a reasonable speed and yielding the right-of-way, if required, may cautiously make a turn or proceed through the intersection without stopping.

(2)  A person operating a bicycle or human-powered vehicle approaching a steady red traffic control light shall stop before entering the intersection and shall yield to all other traffic. Once the person has yielded, he may proceed through the steady red light with caution. Provided however, that a person, after slowing to a reasonable speed and yielding the right-of-way, if required, may cautiously make a right-hand turn. A left-hand turn onto a one-way highway may be made on a red light after stopping and yielding to other traffic.

(3)  A person riding a bicycle shall comply with the provisions of section 49-644, Idaho Code.

(4)  A signal of intention to turn right or left shall be given during not less than the last one hundred (100) feet traveled by the bicycle before turning, provided that a signal by hand and arm need not be given if the hand is needed in the control or operation of the bicycle.


[49-720, added 1988, ch. 265, sec. 209, p. 679; am. 2005, ch. 205, sec. 1, p. 615; am. 2019, ch. 84, sec. 6, p. 209.]

Washington, DC

A rider approaching a stop sign may go straight through the intersection or make a turn without stopping; provided, that the rider:

(1) Is traveling at an appropriate speed to reasonably assess and avoid hazards;

(2) Determines there is no immediate hazard; and

(3) Yields the right-of-way to pedestrians and to other traffic lawfully using the intersection.”

DC Code § 50–2201.04d.(a)


Subd. 4a.Stopping requirements.

(a) For purposes of this subdivision, “in the vicinity”

means located in an intersection or approaching an intersection in a manner that constitutes a hazard of collision during the time that a bicycle operator would occupy the intersection.

(b) A bicycle operator who approaches a stop sign must slow to a speed that allows for stopping before entering the intersection or the nearest crosswalk. Notwithstanding subdivision 1 and section 169.06, subdivision 4, if there is not a vehicle in the vicinity, the operator may make a turn or proceed through the intersection without stopping.

(c) Nothing in this subdivision alters the right-of-way requirements under section 169.20.

The provisions under this subdivision do not apply when traffic is controlled by a peace officer or a person authorized to control traffic under section 169.06.


8 Responses to “Stop as Yield aka “The Idaho Stop””
  1. Jim Graham says:

    The “Idaho Stop” is how most bicyclists in Arizona ride now, legal or not. It should be legalized in Arizona absolutely. It should be stipulated in the law that the cyclist is to determine that it is safe to proceed before rolling through a stop sign. Blasting through a stop sigh without making this determination does not conform to this stipulation. As to rolling through a continuous red traffic light I can see the justification for this as there are too many intersections where a lone cyclist can not trigger the traffic light to change. As a rule though I think cyclist should stop at red traffic lights and I think most do currently.

  2. Ben Dugdale says:

    I would like to see both stop-as-yield and red-light-as-stop-sign in Arizona.

    I consider stop-signs a minor annoyance but find extended needless waits at deserted red lights that prioritize arterial routes maddening, especially at high temperatures. I also dislike the need to mount the curb in order to trigger an otherwise-inoperative stoplight using the pedestrian button. Activating stoplights in this way is especially problematic on a loaded bicycle or a tandem but I have nearly crashed doing it and seen others crash doing it under the best of conditions. Red-light-as-stop-sign would bring welcome relief from these issues!

  3. Dale Petersen says:

    This law makes total sense. When we sit at demand lights waiting for cars to make the light change and there is no traffic seems duke. I do hope that the law can be adapted!

  4. Ken Thayer says:

    Make the law legal in Arizona since that is how most of us ride already. I have been riding n Az. for 43 years and I allow any vehicle larger than myself and my bike to go ahead. I give everybody the right of way. If there is no cross traffic then proceed with caution.

  5. HH says:

    Because of the higher visibility by cyclists seeing automobiles and ability to hear vehicles as well, which auto’s don’t have, we should pass that law. I believe that I already ride the way that most cyclists ride with eyes and ears and not traveling 30, 40, 50 MPH on smaller streets and 60-70-80 MPH on main roads (like 7th Ave). As a driver as well I get passed many times when driving and I am not a particularly slow driver. But I do understand the handicaps of driving in an enclosed car. Whether this bill gets passed or not I will ride the way I do. I do slow down and observe the situation even if I have the right of way. You just can’t trust those drivers.

  6. Lynn Mushorn says:

    There are several areas around Scottsdale where the police lie in wait for cyclists at stop signs who do not “put a foot down” to signify a complete stop, even when there is not a car to be seen. If this is all our law enforcement has to do we are in a sorry state. As road riders we should be allowed to accept responsibility for our own safety and act accordingly. Stop signs should be treated as yield signs for us and the myriad red lights on minor arterials that can only be triggered by a car should be treated as a full stop and go when safe to do so.

  7. Jeff says:

    Looks like unanimous support for stop as yield. I also appreciate the red light as stop addendum and think there would be just as much support for that. If CAZBike wanted to circulate a letter across the states local and regional groups to gather/gauge support I think it’s worthwhile effort.

  8. M Larin says:

    I think that a complete stop is important, and it seems even more important given the rise of e-bikes, the poor state of the roads, and horrible drivers. My interpretation is that no one here has advanced a “safety” position especially for red lights.

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