11.30.2009 by Elizabeth Ziegler
(KCPW News) State Representative Carol Spackman Moss is introducing a bill to revamp Utah’s bicycle traffic laws. It would allow cyclists to yield at stop signs if the intersection is clear, rather than come to a complete stop. Moss, a Democrat from Holladay, says this would promote cycling and make it safer.
“If we want people to use bikes as alternative transportation, if we want this to be a bike friendly place, because people speak about Utah more and more and move here for recreational activities, we ought to make that something that we really focus on, making cycling safe,” Moss says.
Moss’s bill might also allow bicyclists to treat stop lights like stop signs, allowing them to go through on a red light. A similar law has been on the books in Idaho for decades, but in Utah, bicyclists must follow the same rules for traffic signs as automobiles.
Utah Bicycle Coalition President Ken Johnson supports the concept of Moss’s bill, because he says it would codify what is already happening at intersections. He says it’s a myth that allowing rolling stops at intersections will encourage cyclists to be reckless.
“When you’re rolling into an intersection, you’re much more inclined to look for things that are going to hit you because you know that a collision will be very significant,” Johnson says. “And so the idea that cyclists are just going to start blazing through stop signs with not even looking or caring what’s going on I think is not true.”
Johnson also wants to see the Legislature increase the number of dedicated bike lanes, and improve education about bicycle traffic laws.