Wouldn't it be nice if we had to only slow down when there is no other traffic? That's the rationale behind the Idaho Stop. An excerpt from Bike Portland's FAQ:
What would this law do?If we make it easier for a 200 pound rider and bicycle combo to get around, perhaps we can convince more people to get out of their 4,000 motor vehicle and ride a bike instead.
This law would make it legal for bicyclists to treat stop signs like yield signs. A cyclist approaching an intersection controlled by a stop sign, would be permitted to roll through the stop sign after yielding the right of way if there are other vehicles at the intersection.
Would cars have to stop and wait for bicyclists?
No, this law change would allow a cyclist to slowly approach the intersection and proceed only if the intersection was clear and it was safe to continue. The law does not grant a cyclist permission to take the right of way from another vehicle.
Why is it called "Idaho-Style"?
In 1982, the Idaho legislature passed a law that allowed bicyclists to treat stop signs as yield and not always come to a complete stop.