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Thornton approves measure allowing cyclists to roll through stop signs

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THORNTON, Colo. -- Bicyclists in Thornton no longer have to come to a complete stop at stop signs. The city just updated its traffic laws, which now allow cyclists to slow down -- but not completely stop -- at intersections.

The city claims to be the first in the Denver metro area to pass such a measure.

Darrell Austin, a traffic engineer for Thornton, said the "safety stop" has its roots in Idaho.

"We're trying to make Thornton a more bike-friendly city," said Austin.

The measure allows cyclists to yield at stop signs without coming to a complete stop. At red lights, cyclists have to stop. However, they can proceed through the intersection when clear.

"If you have a red light, you would have to stop and proceed if its safe to do so without waiting for it to turn green," said Austin.

Austin said that with a growing population and a rail line on the horizon, the need to adapt to a larger cyclist population is greater than ever. He said the measure could lead to success seen in cities where bicyclists crashes have decreased by 30 to 60 percent.

Correction: An earlier version of this article misspelled Darrell Austin's name.

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