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story.lead_photo.caption FILE — After a session on riding formation, safety and route planning led by Buster Brown, right, six bicyclists leave downtown Rogers on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2009.

Bicyclists will be able to treat stop signs as yields and red lights as stop signs under a bill signed into law this week by Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a change supporters said would make cyclists safer while also improving traffic flow.

Hutchinson signed Act 650 into law on Tuesday, and it will go into effect on July 1.

Joe Jacobs, the chairman of the governor's Advisory Council on Cycling, said in a statement issued by the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism that the new law amounts to a safety improvement for cyclists because they will "be able to move through before traffic begins to flow during light changes."

Morgan Lommele, director of state and local policy for the group PeopleForBikes, said in the statement that studies show cyclists are "safer when they are able to get a head start at intersections, and they become more visible to the drivers behind them."

Jacobs said the benefits extend to traffic flow as well "as cyclists will no longer need to hold up traffic at the lights or stop signs."

"Cars and trucks won’t be stuck behind them as they start moving and will be better able to make the next timed light,” he said.

The statement noted that the law "does not change any right of way for vehicles using the roads and all other traffic laws still apply."

Arkansas is the second state to add a law that covers both stop signs and red lights. Only Idaho, which passed its version in 1982, has also addressed both.

State Sen. Missy Irvin, R-Mountain View, who co-sponsored the bill along with state Rep. Jay Richardson, D-Fort Smith, called the new law a "win for everyone in the state."


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Archived Comments

  • MaxCady
    April 3, 2019 at 12:14 p.m.

    I've never seen a cyclist treat a stop sign like it was even there. All these Lance Armstrong wannabes crack me up.

  • jwheelii
    April 3, 2019 at 1:06 p.m.

    After over a hundred years of bicycles in the streets being required to adhere to the same traffic rules as motorcycles, cars, and trucks, this will take awhile to be expected by other drivers. I can see some real problems here.

  • BuzzDog
    April 3, 2019 at 1:28 p.m.

    I’m not a “Lance Armstrong wannabe” as Maxcady says, but someone who needs to get off of his keister once in a while to stay healthy, as do many others in the second-most obese state in the nation.

    This law makes sense, as long as my fellow cyclists are careful and responsible. 50 percent or more of the time when I’m riding, I am at a red light or stop sign with no cars to be seen in the other lanes, as I tend to avoid heavily trafficked areas and I’m blessed to live in NWA, where the trails allow you to ride for miles without being exposed to car-carrying roads. Even if I have to cross a road with zero cars on it, there’s more risk to me falling if I come to a full stop, forcing me to dismount and mount my bike, or if I have to start an uphill climb from a full stop without some forward momentum.

    Cyclists come in all shapes, sizes, and attitudes, and like motorists, most I’ve met over the years are very responsible. Don’t let the bad apples spoil the whole bunch!

  • drs01
    April 3, 2019 at 1:56 p.m.

    Bad law thanks to the spandex lobby. Biclycles, tricycles, electric wheel chairs, scooters, mo-peds and motorcycles should have to follow the same traffic laws as those lazy fat a**es in automobiles. Then we all follow the same rules of the road and there is no confusion.

  • MalcolmWill
    April 3, 2019 at 3:31 p.m.

    The order of traffic movement at a 4-way stop, is supposed to be based on the order in which vehicles stop. If a cyclist doesn't have to completely stop, how does a driver know when the cyclist will attempt to cross the intersection? Furthermore, the idea of "left turn on red" just makes me cringe.

    April 3, 2019 at 4:29 p.m.

    You can expect the injury/death rate of cyclists to go up. Traffic rules should apply to all - so that everyone knows what to expect and what to do. This is dumb. If they can't ride on the roadways following the rules of the road -- stick to trails.
    BuzzDog says " I am at a red light or stop sign with no cars to be seen in the other lanes" -- Hmmm - I could say the same in my car. Do I get to ignore traffic laws and common sense just because I want to ?
    Good darn luck. There is gonna be a big backlash to this once the few cyclists who do follow the rules start 'running' signs and lights and drivers have even more to dodge.

  • NoUserName
    April 3, 2019 at 5:42 p.m.

    In defense of Buzz, I've heard stories about traffic lights that rely on sensors not recognizing bikes and remaining red until a car happens by. So in some respect, I understand somewhat the change. That being said, rules of the road should apply to ALL. Don't like it? Use the trails.

  • WillieHeckaslyke
    April 3, 2019 at 6:34 p.m.

    Organ donor sponsored perhaps... no good will come of this.

  • LR1955
    April 3, 2019 at 6:49 p.m.

    I see red light runners every day so I’ve started waiting a second or two after I get the green, while in a car. I’d recommend cycles use this new law sparingly.

  • levystevy
    April 3, 2019 at 7:02 p.m.

    It could be a good law and it could be a bad law. Time will tell. My wife and I are avid cyclists and my wife last year had a horrific accident in June on a rural road with no motor vehicle involved. We take chances everyday, I hope this law expedites both automobiles and bicycles in traffic. It’s not the end of the world. Remember when they repealed motorcycle helmet laws???