bicycle and pedestrians

Often when we talk about cyclists, we focus on the fact that riders out there have the same protection on the road as vehicles. The flip side of this usually goes unmentioned, that cyclists also have the same responsibilities. KSL featured a story last week where reporter Mike Headrick caught cyclist after cyclist cruising through school bus’ stop signs, often at high speeds. With the weather warming up, more and more people are dusting off their bikes for a great summer of riding, and its vital that they understand the rules of the road for their safety and the safety of those around them.

We here at Christensen and Hymas have a great relationship with KSL, and they called me to help illuminate some of the things that are expected of cyclists. Now, except for a few notable exceptions, cyclists should follow all the same rules as vehicles. These exceptions include the ability to cross in crosswalks, pass traffic on the right, cross at a red light when they are unable to trigger the light to change, and ride on a sidewalk.  Now if there is a bike lane, use it! I know that sounds simple, but it often goes overlooked. If you are going slower than the flow of traffic, and there is no bike lane, stay as close the right side of the road as possible.

The reason vehicles must obey the law is for safety, but also so other people on the road know what to expect so everyone can share the road. The same goes for cyclists, and that’s the reason for KSL featuring this on the evening news. I’m positive most, if not all, of cyclists are not out there purposefully breaking the law, they simply are uneducated about what is required of them.

Some of the bicycle specific rules that many people don’t know about include

  • Just like vehicles, cyclists must always yield to Pedestrians
  • In Salt Lake County, cyclists must be licensed through the police department. It only costs $1, and helps in case of an accident or theft.
  • Also in Salt Lake County, parents are responsible for damages, tickets, etc. if their children break the rules. Educate them as well, it will lesson your liability, and make you kids safer bikers.
  • Just like cars, bikes must signal their turns. Some bikes now have blinkers but most don’t, so learn hand signals. Let other people on the road, know what  you are doing without having to guess.

When you are on the right side of traffic, use your left arm to signal, as this is closest to the drivers and will allow them to see clearly what you are doing. Straight out and parallel to the road is turning left, an upward facing 90° is turning right, and a downwards 90° is intent to stop. Using these signals will keep you safer, and let other riders and drivers know what to expect from you.

In Utah alone, there are over 900 accidents and 6 deaths a year from bicycle accidents. Many of these could have been prevented if everyone on the road knew and followed the rules. If you have questions about cycling laws, or have been injured in an accident, please call us here at Christensen and Hymas, (801) 506-0800, and we will speak to you absolutely free. We want cyclists out there to enjoy the road, and to be as safe as possible.


Image courtesy of  Andreas Kambanis

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