A bicycle qualifies as a vehicle in regards to all traffic codes and rights-of-way. That means that all cyclists must come to a complete stop at a stop sign before proceeding through intersections.
California legislators aim to adjust this with a bill that recently passed in the Senate Transportation Committee
The Safety Stop bill
According to Streets Blog, the Safety Stop bill adjusts California law so that cyclists may treat stop signs as yield signs. This does not allow cyclists to “blow through stop signs”, but would let them conserve some of their momenta depending on the circumstances.
In the event of another vehicle stopped at or driving through the intersection, the cyclist must yield the right of way until the intersection is clear. To all vehicles, if there is a cyclist stopped at or biking through an intersection, they must also yield to the cyclist.
Reports show that other states adopting these laws see increased safety and no increase in accidents or complaints.
One bill aimed to decriminalize jaywalking, with or without a bike. This would not stop authorities from issuing tickets to those people blocking active traffic, but would hopefully change arbitrary enforcement. Another bill focused on providing camera enforcement for bus lane violations in case a vehicle delays the bus schedule. Despite the lack of a license plate, bikes still qualify as a vehicle and these cameras may catch cyclists as well as drivers.
The next checkpoint of committees may or may not have passed these bills by the time of this posting, as the legislature is now on Summer break. It is important for cyclists to continuously update their awareness of the ever-changing landscape of cyclist law.