Revived proposal to ease traffic restrictions for cyclists advances at legislature

(KCPW News)  Last year, with the clock ticking down on the legislative session, Rep. Carol Spackman-Moss (D-Salt Lake) saw her bill to let cyclists yield at stop signs and traffic signals hit its own red light.

“I was in the Senate, thirty minutes before midnight, and it was four down [the list], and I’m watching carefully and suddenly the Inland Port bill appeared above it and that’s all she wrote,” Moss told members of the Senate Transportation Committee on Thursday.
“So, here I am again.”
 
Rep. Moss’s proposal died in a pile of bills that didn’t get a final vote before the session closed. Her revived proposal would allow people on bicycles to treat stop signs like yield signs, and to stop and look both ways before proceeding through a red light.

Currently, cyclists in Utah are required to follow vehicle rules for stop signs and stop at red lights for 90 seconds, and then proceed through if the intersection is clear.

Avid Salt Lake City cyclist, and cycling advocate, Jim Green told members of the committee that for him, changing the law was a matter of safety. 

“[When I stop at a red light] usually what happens is cars come also and stop at that light and by the time it turns green I’m now having to share that intersection with many cars from both directions…some of which may not see me,” he said. 

“If on the other hand I can come up to that red light, stop, be sure that there’s no traffic coming the other way…if there’s an empty intersection, it is much safer for me to proceed through that intersection without having to share it.”

Those arguments were enough for members of the senate committee to move the measure forward with a favorable recommendation. The vote was 10-1. HB161 will next be heard on the Senate floor.

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