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Bike bill would allow Utah cyclists to treat stop signs like yield signs

FILE -- Riders compete in Stage 4 of the Tour of Utah in Salt Lake City on Friday, Aug. 16, 2019.

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Utah cyclists may soon be able to treat stop signs like yield signs if a new bill is passed by the state Legislature.

Utah cyclists may soon yield, instead of stop

The bill would allow cyclists to roll through stop signs if there is no danger to themselves or others in the intersection that have the right of way. The piece of legislation is being sponsored by Representative Carol Spackman Moss, who has brought forward a similar bill in the past.

Moss has the support of “Bike Utah” and their executive director Crys Lee, who recently spoke to the House Transportation Committee.

In that meeting, Lee cited the Utah Department of Public Safety’s 2019 crash data, which shows that 50% of bicycle and automobile crashes occurred when the car was turning right or left at an intersection. According to Lee, over the past 10 years, people on bikes were 30 times more likely to be involved in a crash at a stop sign than a yield sign.

“While many here may be concerned that invoking this vote would decrease cyclist safety, studies do support that it actually will improve bicycle safety,” says Lee.

Moving onto the full House

Speaking to the committee, Moss says the bill simply aims to legalize what most cyclists do anyway.

“It’s often dangerous, particularly if it’s on any kind of an incline because to get that momentum going again, it takes a lot of energy and then you see them kind of wobbling sometimes,” she explains.

Not everyone is on board though, including Representative Merrill Nelson.

“It seems to me like one of your reasons for the exception here is that, if the intersection is clear… why not just let them glide through? Why couldn’t we apply that same exception to vehicles?”

In the end, the bill was recommended 8-3 for consideration by the full House.