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Cyclist's death lends somber air to Road Respect Tour stop in Salt Lake City

Published: Tuesday, June 14 2011 5:39 p.m. MDT

Cyclists ride into Sugar House park Monday, June 13, 2011 as they take part in the Road Respect program. UDOT urges motorists and cyclists to get along and follow the rules of the road. The group is riding from Logan to Hurricane during the program.

Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Every year on average, six bicyclists are killed on Utah roads, and there are another 850 accidents involving cyclists and motorists.

“That’s an incredible amount of conflicts we have out there,” said Carlos Braceras, deputy director of the Utah Department of Transportation, which is sponsoring the ongoing Road Respect Tour.

Monday, 25 professional cyclists biked 92 miles from Logan to Salt Lake’s Sugarhouse Park on the first leg of a weeklong tour of the state to generate public interest in motorist-cyclist safety.

The death of 24-year-old Salt Lake City cyclist Brynn Barton in a hit-and-run accident a week ago Tuesday lent a somber air to the rally and urgency to its message.

“The death of the young woman last week … is the kind of horror we do not want repeated,” Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker told the crowd of orange and black clad cyclists.

Barton had been following all the safety rules, but was still killed, Becker said.

“We cannot say it often enough; we cannot say it strongly enough — everyone on the road needs to respect everyone else on the road,”

Tour riders passed near the site of the young nurse and cycling enthusiast’s death — at 800 South and 700 East.

Becker said that same day a member of his staff who was cycling had been hit by a car.

The message is to cyclists and motorists alike: Know the rules of the road. And show each other respect.

For motorists:

• Cyclists have the same right to the road as motorists. Roadways are multiple-use — not just for cars.

• Give at least 3 feet of space when passing a bicyclist. If traveling on higher-speed roads, give more space.

• If there isn’t enough room to pass — wait until there is.

• Watch for bicycles in traffic; they are smaller and harder to see.

• Pay attention. Avoid distractions.

• When driving near a child on a bike, be prepared for the unexpected.

For cyclists:

• When not impeding traffic, ride no more than two abreast. When a car is coming, ride single file.

• Obey all traffic signs, signals, and lane markings. If you want the respect of motorists, you must show respect for traffic laws.

• Ride predictably in a straight line. Don’t swerve in and out of parked or stopped cars.

• Ride on the right side of the road with the flow of traffic. Stay as far to the right side of the bike lane or roadway as safely possible.

• Make eye contact with motorists when making a turn, so each party is aware of one another.

The tour began Monday morning in Logan, arriving around 2:30 p.m. at Sugarhouse Park. Tuesday morning riders faced an uphill stage to Park City and ended the day in Provo.

The tour is scheduled to end Saturday in Hurricane.

E-mail: lbrubaker@desnews.com

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