Girl riding bike fastMany people ask us whether it is illegal to ride your bike on a state highway. Generally, it is acceptable. However, there are few exceptions to the rules. Be aware of the restricted routes before you ride. The Utah Department of Transportation’s Bicycle Suitability Map┬áis a great resource that shows exactly where the restrictions are.

For a quick overview and list of restricted routes, read the lists below.

Bike Route Restrictions

I-15

  • In Washington County, from Exit 4 in St. George City, all the way to Exit 10 in Washington City
  • In Iron County from Exit 57 in So. Cedar City to Exit 62 in No. Cedar City
  • Juab County to Box Elder County: From Exit 222 in So. Nephi to US-91 Exit 362 in Brigham City –at 1100 South
  • Box Elder County from Exit 376 in Elwood to Exit 385 in Riverside

Salt Lake County

  • I-80 from Exit 113 (5600 W SLC) to Exit 134 (East Canyon and SR 65)
  • Restricted through the entire length of I-215
  • Bangerter Highway (SR 154) restricted through entire length of highway

Safety

Don’t let these restricted roads keep you from getting out into the fresh air with your bicycle! Here are a few general safety tips to keep you and other vehicles safe on the roads you share.

8 Safety Cycling Tips that Will Ensure a Safe Ride

  1. Follow the Rules of the Road. By law, you as a cyclist are required to obey the same laws and signs as motor vehicles. This also includes riding in the same direction as automobile traffic.
  2. Be Predictable. You may or may not know this, but it is required by law to use hand and arm signals to obviously indicate to vehicles around you your intentions to stop, merge or turn. Try and ride in as straight a line as possible. Avoid sidewalks–neither motorists nor pedestrians expect bicycles on sidewalks, because pedestrians have the right-of-way. If you must ride on a sidewalk, ride at a walker’s pace, and be very careful of other pedestrians. (In the Salt Lake City Downtown Central Business District NO BICYCLING IS ALLOWED at all.
  3. Be Visible. Wear bright colored clothing. Or reflective clothing, especially at night. Make sure your bike is outfitted with good reflectors. Reflectors at night are also required by law.
  4. Be Alert.
  5. 5. Ride with Proper Equipment. ALWAYS wear a helmet! Make sure that the helmet properly fits on top of your head, if it tips backward or forward on your skull, it does NOT properly fit. The Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute (http://www.helmets.org/stats.htm) has staggering statistics. A study in New York City over the course of a decade showed clearly that helmets are a factor in fatal statistics. 74% of fatal crashes involved a head injury. 97% of all bicyclists who died were not wearing a helmet. Among serious injuries, only 13 % were wearing helmets.
  6. Especially at intersections, when the drivers of other vehicles have their attention strained. Cars turning do not necessarily have the vision or focus to see you. Vehicles exiting driveways also can be dangerous, as they are focused on oncoming traffic, they could easily not see you as they are looking towards cars. Make eye contact with drivers–assume they do not see you, until you are absolutely certain they do.
  7. Avoid hazards on the road: i.e. storm drain grates, manhole covers, oily pavement, gravel and ice. Cross railroad tracks at right angles. In the rain or wet road conditions, you should even avoid paint on the road, because the paint becomes slippery, and can easily catch a tire without enough friction and cause even the most experienced of cyclists to fall.
  8. Don’t listen to music or talk on the phone while riding. You should not have the mental distraction or the hearing impairment.

As you avoid the very few restricted roads around Utah, and if you keep this advice in mind, you will greatly reduce the risks involved with riding a bike on major roads. In the meantime, enjoy the MANY roads welcome to cyclists around Utah, and soak up the sun and fresh air!

For me cycling laws, check out our cycling laws page.

 

Image courtesy of Viktor Rosenfeld