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California Gov. Newsom vetoes stop sign bill for cyclists

Gov. Gavin Newsom has vetoed a bill that sought to allow cyclists to slow down and roll through a stop sign intersection when there is no other traffic, instead of coming to a complete stop.

Bike groups including the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition and California Bicycle Coalition had been advocating for the “safety stop” bill on the premises that states with similar bills have seen decreases in bicycle-involved accidents.

Cyclists are often at their most vulnerable at intersections, where they are stopped and sometimes less visible to drivers or as they resume travel through intersections at slower speeds.

Eris Weaver, executive director of Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition, said she was “bummed” but appreciated the veto message Newsom wrote, explaining his decision.

In the message, Newsom wrote he worried passing the bill would decrease cyclist safety, especially children “who may not know how to judge vehicle speeds or exercise the necessary caution to yield to traffic when appropriate.”

Reaction to the veto was split among the local biking community, Weaver said.

“It seems too counterintuitive to so many people. There are still quite a few cyclists who were not necessarily in favor of it,” Weaver said.

Weaver expects the bill will come before the Legislature again and when it does, there will likely be more supporting data from other states that have similar laws, Weaver said.

“Lots of things don’t pass the first time or the second time, and we keep coming back,” Weaver said.

You can reach Staff Writer Emma Murphy at 707-521-5228 or emma.murphy@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @MurphReports.

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