Running stop signs is far too common in town. As noted on the stop signs page, vehicles — which includes bicycles — are required to stop at stop signs. Rolling through stops (the famed “California Roll”) is illegal and unsafe. The offender puts everybody at risk, especially pedestrians.
Some people might argue that rolling through a stop while bicycling can be safe, especially if there are no cars approaching the intersection. This is rather similar to a pedestrian not stopping before using the crosswalk, since the cyclists’ senses aren’t damped by hundreds of lbs. of metal and glass like the motorists are, thus enabling complete observation of the intersection. Strictly speaking this is true, but many cases of rolling stops are performed when there is plenty of other traffic around, approaching from the right or left, or oncoming, which can lead to accidents.
Failing to stop before driving through an intersection with a stop sign is a moving violation. The standard ticket is up to $140, if a police officer catches you. Bike traps often result in many people getting caught. Frequently, a police officer will camp outside Holmes Junior High (and possibly other schools as well) after school has ended and ticket young’uns by the dozen.
Compared to New York though, our situation is relatively tame, since the vast majority of cyclists there don’t stop at red lights. Yeah, seriously, what the hell?
If you witness a vehicle running the stop sign while playing the stop-clap game, don’t clap for them — boo them on!