The Star last week counted cyclists at stop signs and found: " We watched 159 cyclists approach a busy intersection. Only 21 came to a full stop." Despite making motorists crazy and being illegal some make a counter-argument for the rolling stop, also called the Idaho Stop:
The rolling stop – or, in some cycling circles, the Idaho Stop – is as popular as it is illegal, and there are those who will tell you it's also perfectly safe. Bambrick, among other cycling supporters and bloggers, is advocating its legalization, citing common sense and a compelling precedent.
Cyclists in Idaho have been legally permitted to treat stop signs as yield signs since 1982. And though the Idaho law was brought in by legislators to help relieve the pressure on a crowded traffic-court system, cycling-savvy proponents of its further spread argue it would make cycling more efficient, more appealing and ultimately more popular. In places bent on curbing car usage, it's a compelling argument.
There was a flurry of letters supporting and opposing the Idaho Stop. One argued "zero tolerance" and that bicycles are vehicles under the Highway Traffic Act:
In this, the police should set an example and prosecute more often. The "zero tolerance" policy has been proven to work exceptionally well in the few places it has been pursued rigorously.
Joe LaFortune (commenter on this forum), argued that rolling stops by cyclists are no big danger compared to motorists doing the same. Cyclists need to maintain momentum yet are relegated to quieter residential streets with an abundance of stop signs.
While the offence may be identical for both vehicle users on paper, it really is not the same thing. Cyclists in Toronto tend to use one-way residential streets for the bulk of their riding, avoiding main roads whenever possible. Traffic is simply too heavy and too fast on major arterials and motorists regularly fail to afford cyclists the space they are legally entitled to, making it unsafe except for experienced cyclists.
Residential streets, the preferred routes for many if not most cyclists, feature stop signs at every cross street for the most part, but there is usually little or no cross traffic. A cyclist rolling through a quiet intersection is capable of stopping within a meter of applying brakes as the average bike is only travelling at about 15 km/h and weighs less than 10 kilograms.