Salt Lake City Cycling

As the Salt Lake Tribune and other local news sites have reported, a large number of cycling accidents have recently taken place in and around downtown Salt Lake City (see here). Although Salt Lake City is becoming an increasingly bike-friendly place, the number of bicycle accidents is relatively high. Nearly all accidents have involved motorists’ negligence.

Despite Salt Lake City cyclists being well aware of proper cycling safety techniques—helmets, lights, reflectors, and signaling—they appear to not be enough. A large number of fatal cycling accidents in Salt Lake involved very experienced cyclists. Becka Roolf, Salt Lake City bicycle and pedestrian coordinator, explained one of the main issues:

Wider streets also encourage faster driving. And faster driving spells trouble for cyclists. The higher speeds mean more serious accidents with worse injuries. Compounding the problem is the fact that at higher speeds, cars travel greater distances before drivers can react. That means even more trouble for cyclists.

Another area with a large potential for accidents is an intersection. Even on streets where bike lanes exist, those bike lines don’t always extend to the middle of an intersection; the lines are faded or never existed. In a number of cases, the right-turn lane will overrun the bike lane. But even on streets with bike lanes, accidents still occur.

Sometimes, avoiding higher trafficked streets with higher speeds can be a reasonable cautionary measure for cyclists, but it’s not always possible. For bike-commuter Dave Rubiger, his 8-mile route to work must include Redwood Road. As a recent hit-and-run victim, Rubiger stated,

“They did not consider bicycles on Redwood Road,” Rabiger said. “But there’s really no good alternative.”

Increasing Bike Safety Infrastructure

According to the Journal of Transport and Land Use, the following, new initiatives have been recommended to help improve bike awareness in Salt Lake City:

  1. Adding more “Protected Bike Lanes,” especially downtown, much like the lane along 300 East
  2. Increased “mixed land usage,” meaning building projects to combine housing, commerce etc. which shows upticks in cyclists overall
  3. Shared Lane projects. In Minneapolis, the Hennepin shared-lanes project decreased accidents by 100 percent according to Alta Planning’s research.

Is Utah a Bike-Friendly Community?

Utah, as a state, was recently ranked 14th in the United States in terms of Bike Safety and overall friendliness. A complete overview of the state’s efforts to increase cycling awareness can be found here.

Christensen and Hymas advocates increased safety for the well-being of cyclists within the state of Utah. We have been personally responsible for drafting new cycling safety legislation in the past few years. Bicyclists need to be given all the support they need to ride safely. As personal injury lawyers, we know how difficult it can be when you sustain injuries during biking accidents. If you or someone you know has been involved in a cycling accident and experienced injuries, we recommend you call us at (801)506-0800 for a free consultation. You deserve to be compensated for the injuries, loss of income, and pain and suffering that you have received from another’s negligence.

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