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What should you know about California’s new stop-as-yield law?

AB 122, California’s new stop-as-yield bill, currently rests on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk, awaiting his signature that will officially make it a state law. As reported by ABC 7 Eyewitness News, the new law will allow you to treat stop signs as yield signs when riding your bicycle and when you deem it safe to do so.

The bill’s author, Assembly member Tasha Boerner Horvath, D-Encinitas, says that this law will serve two purposes: encourage “smarter, safer, more efficient transportation options that help people choose to get out of their cars [which] cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions” and encourage “safe riding in our state by allowing cyclists to spend less time in dangerous intersections.”

Success in other states

Nine other states have already passed similar laws and report a subsequent decrease in car-bike intersection crashes. The Delaware state police, for example, report a 23% drop in such crashes since their law went into effect 30 months ago.

Lack of universal approval

Despite AB 122’s wide margin of legislative approval – the Assembly passed it by a margin of 50-17 – not all lawmakers think it a good idea. For instance, Assemblyman Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale, calls it a “very toxic bill.” Not only does it apply to regular bicycles, but also to electrically-powered bikes that can travel at high speeds. In addition, Lackey and others fear that it will create confusion for motorists.

Pilot program

As written, the stop-as-yield law becomes a 6-year “pilot effort” if and when signed by Gov. Newsom. It will then face review before becoming extended.