SALT LAKE CITY — Bill allowing cyclists to proceed without stopping at stop signs and through red lights after a stop failed after a 2-3 vote in the Senate Transportation, Public Utilities, Energy and Technology Committee.
The sponsor of HB161, House Minority Whip Carol Spackman Moss, D-Holladay, said the bill was not only reasonable for cyclists, but also safe.
"This isn’t something they haven’t been doing cautiously and safely. I would never even sponsor this, as I have a couple times now, for cyclists if I didn’t think it would not only increase safety but it would increase respect between cyclists and motorists," Moss said.
She said the bill would encourage people to get out of cars and onto bikes.
Concerns included liability, reckless cyclists, drivers not being aware and the bill's application only to people who are 16 and older.
Sen. Jake Anderegg, R-Lehi, said in his city he has seen arrogance within the cycling community and bad relations between bikers and drivers, and he is wary this could cause more problems.
Jason Davis, Utah Department of Transportation deputy director, said the agency has concerns with the bill, which passed the House Feb. 12, and that UDOT has been working to make sensors at lights detect bikes more accurately.15 comments on this story
"Anytime someone goes through a red light we are concerned because we believe the safest time to go through a light is at intersections when there’s a green light," Davis said.
Jim Greene, a cyclist who commutes from Sandy to downtown Salt Lake City, said intersections are difficult for bicyclists because the shoulder they are riding on disappears on the roads that are built primarily for vehicles.
"In spite of everything I can do to be visible, there are times that I am just not seen, they’re just not looking for me, and so in my mind this is very much a safety issue," Greene said.