As an almost daily cyclist on Bismarck area streets, I am constantly amazed at the number of “North Dakota nice” motorists that stop when they are not required to and encourage me, on my bike -- and stopped at a stop sign awaiting safe crossing -- to cross a busy street. While this may seem polite, it can put a cyclist in danger as other cars may not be aware that a cyclist is crossing when the road is not technically clear. It encourages a cyclist to enter a traffic stream illegally from a required stop. And worse, it may encourage a young cyclist to assume that any car will stop for them.
The North Dakota Century Code states that traffic laws apply to cyclists. The code requires a driver (cyclist) stopped at a stop sign to yield the right-of-way to any vehicle approaching on another roadway that constitutes a hazard during the time when the driver is moving across the intersection and to enter the intersection when it is safe to do so.
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Please don’t stop being “North Dakota nice”-- especially to pedestrians -- but be aware that cyclists are vehicles and treat them as such! If everyone obeys the stop and right of way rules, we can all get safely through intersections with minimal delay and confusion.
Andrea Stomberg, Bismarck