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Yielding at Stop Signs May Become New Law for Cyclists in SF

San Francisco is considered to be the second most densely populated city, just behind New York City. Not surprisingly, the city has a major cyclist population. In response to the need for improved bicycle laws, city leaders are considering a new controversial proposal that would allow cyclists to roll through stop signs, so long as the coast is clear. Passing this ordinance would make San Francisco the largest city in the U.S. to allow bicycle riders to yield at stop sign.

Prior to the proposed change being brought forward, San Francisco law enforcement cracked down on cyclists, issuing 204 citations to cyclists who failed to stop in just two days this past summer. Upset over the target on their backs, 100 cyclists showed up to a community meeting to protest the crackdown. Officials agreed to suspend the crackdown-which was issued in an attempt to reduce the number of fatal traffic-related accidents in the city.

Increasing Risk for Cyclist

San Francisco has been working on implementing their plan to improve road safety for the last few years. Their goal is to minimize the number of fatal traffic accidents that take place in the city. If the new ordinance were to pass, some believe it would create more risk for cyclists and potentially increase the number bicycle accidents and fatalities. Despite their efforts to improve road safety, the number of cyclists killed in San Francisco increased last year. While traffic-related deaths in general went down, cyclists continue to be at serious risk.

Safety vs. Convenience

The yield-to-stop sign ordinance has been at the center of controversy in the past. In fact, the city's mayor, Edwin Lee, recently stated that he would veto the ordinance if the City Council were to approve it. He claims that he is not willing to compromise on safety in order to improve convenience for riders. This could present more challenges for cyclists who are trying to essentially level the playing field for road safety, convenience, and accessibility.

If SF riders are continually penalized for rolling through stop signs, it will likely draw more attention to the issue, regardless of whether or not it is in the best interest of safety.

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