Too many bicyclists approach larger vehicles the same way they approach bullies—either by staying under the radar in hopes that their tormentor will get bored or by confronting the party they see as aggressive and asserting their rights. A timid bicyclist will go to great lengths to be as unobtrusive as possible, preferring that other drivers do not even know that they’re on the road. They don’t want to impose on a motor vehicle operator by riding in an actual lane, so they subtly dart in and out, mostly out of sight until they catch someone by utter surprise. The self-assured rider on the opposite end of the spectrum, on the other hand, will likely ride brazenly in the center of a traffic lane, insist upon absolute courtesy from other drivers, and then take liberties normally reserved for pedestrians [who jaywalk], going whenever there is room for them and turning when the coast is clear, regardless of the color of the traffic light. Both types of bicyclist are annoying to car drivers, and both are likely to be bicycle accident victims.
As it happens, the law requires that bicyclists meet drivers somewhere in the middle by remaining visible and obeying the same traffic laws car drivers are beholden to. The Utah Department of Transportation’s Bicycle Commuter Guide states that “when cyclists follow traffic laws they travel in a predictable fashion, clearly communicating their intentions to other road users.” Motor vehicle drivers are better able to respond to those bicyclist actions that they can anticipate in a way that does not result in a bicycle accident. Conforming to traffic regulations is the surest way to ensure safety on the road.
For the particulars of Utah bicycle laws, safety tips, statistics on Utah bicycle accidents, and information on bicycle accident lawsuits, call 1-800-LAW-BOOK to request a free book written by Russ Hymas of Christensen & Hymas. Or, if you have been injured by the driver of a larger vehicle in spite of your observance of the law, Christensen & Hymas also offers free consultations at 801-506-0800.