bike on the roadAs of July 1, 2013, six new bicycle-related laws were enacted that will help everyone on the roads be more safe and ultimately, help everyone share the road more responsibly.

HB294 and HB297

Both bills give motorists more options to drivers, when passing a cyclist going the same direction on the road when their speed is not reasonable. They will now allow motorists to cross the double-yellow lines into oncoming traffic and also use the center turn lane to pass a cyclist or  slow moped.


This bill updates the definition of a bicycle while allowing the rider to equip themselves with certain lamps and reflective material so it will meet certain night time equipment requirements.  Bicycles are required to have both a front light, rear light, and reflectors from a half an hour before dawn and a half an hour after dusk, or when low light conditions are present.


This bill allows both motorcycles and bicycles to be able to proceed with caution through a red light after waiting 90 seconds and it is clear that the light is not detecting their presence. It allow goes over when roadway authorities may reasonably prohibit use of certain roadways while also providing clearly marked safe alternate route for cyclists. Side note: You may still be ticketed for running the light; however, you may appeal your ticket by going in and arguing your case to a judge. This is known as an affirmative defense.


The bill clarifies that a bicycle may pass on the right of another vehicle if they can do so safely.


Known as the Vulnerable Road User Law,

  • defines what is is to be a vulnerable user of a highway.
  • prohibits a driver of a vehicle from operating their vehicle within three feet of a vulnerable user of a highway.
  • a driver may not intentionally, knowingly or recklessly attempt to distract a vulnerable user of a highway for a purpose that is not related to public safety.
  • covers penalties for distracting a vulnerable user or forcing them off the roadway for reasons not related to public safety.

Vulnerable User: “a pedestrian, including a person engaged in work upon a highway or upon utilities facilities along a highway or providing emergency services with the right-of-way of a highway; a person riding an animal; a person operating any of the following: tractor, skateboard, roller skates, in-line skates, a bicycle, an electric assisted bicycle, a moped, a motorcycle, or a manual wheelchair.”

If a violation to any of these rules is made by a driver, and they resulted in bodily injury, drivers may be subject to a class B misdemeanor.

These six new laws are overall, great news for cycling in Utah. The laws will make the roads much safer for everyone and help share the road more responsibly when it comes to passing and being passed.

If you have been injured in a bicycle accident because of someone else’s recklessness, call Christensen & Hymas at (801) 506-0800 for a free consultation to get the compensation you deserve.

Image courtesy of Flickr