Yesterday was a big day in Minnesota, but it wasn't because of the legalization of recreational marijuana. Bicyclists were smiling ear to ear in some parts of the state yesterday as that was the first day they didn't have to stop for a stop sign! That's right, bicyclists in Minnesota do NOT have to stop for stop signs.

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I had heard about this becoming a law, but to be honest it slipped my mind until I saw a social media post from a Minnesota police department, in which it was educating possibly bicyclists about when they are required to stop for a stop sign, and when they can just roll right through.

The Faribault Police Department had a really good explanation behind the law change, and what it means for bicyclists and those sharing the road with them.

Sure, adult-use cannabis is now legal in Minnesota, but have you heard about the new “Idaho Stop” law? Let us enlighten you about this new law that was passed within the larger Transportation Bill at the State Legislature.
In short, folks on a bicycle don’t need to come to a full stop at a stop sign, so long as there is no other traffic. Cyclists must yield – to the point they can stop if traffic is approaching – but don’t need to come to a complete halt.
While the yield is only applicable with stop signs – not traffic lights – those on bikes can treat traffic lights as a stop sign, as long as there is no traffic, but only after coming to a complete stop.
So why the change?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, after the state of Idaho adopted the law in 1982, bicyclist injuries from traffic crashes declined by 14.5% the following year.
In 2017, Delaware adopted a similar, limited stop-as-yield law, known as the "Delaware Yield.” The NHTSA found that traffic crashes involving bicyclists at stop-sign intersections fell by 23% in the 30 months after the law’s passage, compared to the previous 30 months.
As a result, many states followed similar laws.
In summary, the NHTSA determined that, based on the current research and data available, these laws showed added safety benefits for bicyclists in states where they were evaluated, and may positively affect the environment, traffic, and transportation.

The bill, known as H.F. 677 allows bicyclists to go through a stop sign on the "left side of a dedicated right-hand turn lane."

In addition to the stop sign change, the bill also adds "a total of $70 million in appropriations for the fiscal years 2024-25 biennium for programs administered by MnDOT."

That money will be used for safe routes to school and be put into the active transportation fund.

The next time you are rolling up to a stop sign take a look around for someone on a bike, and keep your head on a swivel.

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