'Idaho Stop' and new rules for bicyclists in Minnesota

In an effort to improve bicyclist safety, the Minnesota Legislature has passed the Bill Dooley Bicycle Safety Act, which will in part allow bikers to yield at stop signs and no longer require a complete stop – known nationwide as the "Idaho Stop." 

Also known as H.F. 677, the act is named for a long-time Twin Cities cycling activist and is rolled into the approved omnibus transportation finance package.

It would appropriate $10 million annually for the Safe Routes to School program and $25 million annually for the state’s active transportation program.

But it also permits a bicycle operator, after slowing and under reasonable circumstances, to proceed past a stop sign without stopping. Idaho adopted the law change in 2022.

A bicyclist would still be required to stop at a red traffic light, but they could continue through the intersection before the light turned green. They could also make a turn at a red traffic signal without stopping.

In addition to the new stop rules, cities will be authorized to set a speed limit on roads in the area of school speed zones, as well as, along designated safe routes to school corridors, regardless of which authority has jurisdiction over the road. A speed limit of at least 20 miles per hour is part of the requirement.

The bill also establishes both the Mississippi River Trail, and the Jim Oberstar Bikeway – from St. Paul to the U.S. border with Canada in Cook County - as designated state bicycle routes.

The new law changes go into effect on Aug. 1, 2023.