By Dan Fazzini
HB 327 (2012 session), currently under review with the 2012 Utah State Legislature, will accomplish a few things:
1) It will allow operators of motorcycles and bicycles to proceed through an unresponsive signal after 90 seconds when it is clear.
2) It allows motorists to pass a cyclist by crossing the double yellow line or use the two-way center turn lane when safe.
3) Defines a bike lane and its use statewide.
4) Updates the definition of a bicycle.
5) Allows lights and reflectors on the rider to meet the visibility requirements.
The American Motorcycle Association, ABATE (a motorcycle group) and Salt Lake City are all in support of the bill. The opposition comes from AAA, UDOT, and the Department of Public Safety, all citing the possible decrease in safety.
On the issue of stoplights, the rider will have been at the intersection for some time. Unlike the situation where most accidents occur at intersections and those involved were both in motion, they will have had ample opportunity to assess the situation before proceeding and wait for other traffic to clear.
13 states have already passed similar (but less restrictive) legislation on unresponsive stoplights. To the best of my knowledge, none have been repealed.
On the passing situation, motorists all the time are choosing to endanger our lives by passing to close or too soon rather than utilizing part of the rest of the roadway to safely pass.
Currently at the time of this writing, the bill is still under review at the House Transportation Committee. Details can be found at www.safe-route.org about the bill and how to contact your representative.
It is important that everyone contact their representative and urge their support of the bill.