Personal Injury Attorney Ben Schwartz answers the question, why don’t cyclists stop at stop signs?
Hey, I’m Attorney Ben Schwartz,
Today we are going to do a viewer question from Tom, who resides just outside of Wilmington, Delaware. Tom wrote in and he said that on Saturday and Sunday mornings he sees groups of cyclists and they come down the street and they blow right through the stop sign. He’s concerned that they are breaking the law.
Basically, he wants to know, if I’m driving down the road in my car and I blow through a stop sign or roll through a stop sign, a police officer is liable to give me a ticket. Why did these cyclists get to ride down the road and roll through the stop sign with impunity?
Now this is a great question because you know I feel like this question is right up my alley and the reason I feel that way is that number one, I am an attorney and I handle personal injury cases. Most of the personal injury cases that I handle are from automobile accidents. Oftentimes they involve people that run stop signs a matter of fact. And second off, I am a cyclist and there’s probably a good chance that I am in that group of riders that rolls through the stop sign. Although I am not making any confessions on videotape that will be uploaded to the Internet.
So, this is a good question now the answer is that they don’t stop at the stop sign if they are not required to stop at the stop sign. Under Delaware law, which would apply if this stop sign is at an intersection outside of Wilmington, Delaware, or near Wilmington, Delaware. Delaware Law is Title 21 of the Delaware Code section 4196 A, and what this law says is that a bicycle operator approaching a stop sign at an intersection with a roadway having three or more lanes for moving traffic shall come to a complete stop before entering the intersection.
But then it goes on to say a bicycle operator approaching a stop sign at an intersection with a roadway having two or fewer lanes for moving traffic shall reduce speed. So essentially if this is on a roadway with two lanes of travel and they come up to the stop sign they’re not required to stop. They are required to roll through unless it would be unsafe to do so.
So now if you are talking about on a highway with three lanes, then they do have to stop at the stop sign, but I suspect if it’s in or near a residential development or neighborhood, I suspect it’s a two-lane road, one lane going this way, one lane going that way (hand gestures), with a stop sign. If that is what you are seeing and a group of cyclists rolls through that stop sign, then that is exactly what they are supposed to do.
Listen, I think this is a wonderful question! Folks, if you are watching this video and you have a question for me, send me an email. My email address is ben.schwartz@SchwartzandSchwartz.com
Thanks for watching!