When you think about the word ‘vehicle’ you might think about the minivan in your garage, the truck in your neighbor’s driveway or that sports car in your dream. But did you know that Utah Law defines a bicycle as a ‘vehicle’ and requires cyclists to act as if they are driving a ‘vehicle’? The below Utah bicycle laws provided by the Utah bicycle accident lawyers will help keep you safe while riding.
If you are getting ready to break out the bicycle this spring, remember the following laws:
- As a vehicle, you must obey traffic signals, stop and yield signs, and all other traffic control signals and signs. The Utah Legislature considered changing this, but it did not pass.
- You might feel more comfortable seeing cars come toward you, but Utah law requires you to ride in the same direction as traffic. Remember, you are not a pedestrian. You are just another vehicle.
- When riding your bike, you must ride as far to the right as possible. The only exceptions are:
- When you are passing another bike or another vehicle;
- When you are preparing to turn left;
- When you are going straight through an intersection past a right-turn –only land;
- When you are avoiding unsafe conditions on the right-hand edge of the roadway; and
- When you are traveling in a lane that is too narrow to safely ride side-by-side with another vehicle.
- Riding with friends? If so, just remember that you cannot ride more than two abreast and then only if you would not impede traffic.
- If an off-roadway bike path has been provided and is available, you may be required to ride on that path and not on the roadway.
- Do you need to venture over and make a left turn? You have two options. You can use a left turn lane, just like other vehicles, or you can stay on the right side of the road, go through the intersection, and then stop. When it is safe, you can cross and go in the new direction and stay on the right side of the road.
- Don’t forget your hand signals! You must always signal if you intend to turn right, left, change lanes or stop.
- You want cars to share the road with you. In turn, you need to share the way with pedestrians. Always yield to pedestrians and if you are preparing to pass them, give them an audible signal such as “on your right!”.
- Never ride where bicycles are prohibited.
- Never carry more people on your bike than it was designed for unless you are carrying a child in a backpack or a sling.
- It’s common sense, but do not grab onto other vehicles moving along the roadway.
- Racing is for official events only! So don’t challenge a friend to an impromptu race on the parkway.
- Remember: it’s a vehicle and the same rules apply – two hands on the, well, handles. Do not carry packages or anything that prevents you from fully controlling the bike.
- Going for a moonlight ride? Or maybe getting your exercise in the wee small hours of the morning? Then do not forget your taillights! You need a white headlight, red taillight or reflector, and side reflectors, all visible for at least 500 feet any time you ride earlier than a half hour before sunrise, later than a half hour after sunset, or whenever it is otherwise difficult to make out vehicles 1000 feet away.
- Check out those brakes! If you expect to travel at 10 miles per hour, you need to be able to stop within 25 feet.
- You might want to let everyone know you’re there, but stick with the good old fashioned bell. Sorry, Utah law prohibits sirens or whistles.
- Ready to get off your bike? Time to look for parking spaces. The good news is that you may park your bike on a sidewalk along a roadway anywhere it is not expressly prohibited or where it would impede pedestrian or traffic movement. Your bike does not have to be parallel to the curb, but may be parked at any angle.
- If you are riding with a friend who ends up being slow, yes, you can pass them. Maybe even tease them a little while you do so. But you may not pass within 3-feet of a moving bicycle.
Now that you know the laws, get out and get going!