August 28, 2018 – Andrew Danly was out on a ride on August 25, 2018 on Highway 14 near Cedar Breaks, Utah while his friend Michael Conti waited to photograph him on his bike. Danly was racing in the Hoodoo 300 bike race, a long distance 300 mile solo ride through some of Utah's most beautiful roads. He received an unwelcome cloud of black exhaust in what appears to be an example of “Rolling Coal”.
Conti happened to be in the right place at the right time to capture the following images of a pickup truck apparently emitting a large cloud of black exhaust in the direction of his friend.
Conti summarizes the incident in a Facebook post:
“WELCOME TO UTAH. This is something that unfortunately happens to all cyclists out on the road. All of us cyclists have WAR stories about some A..hole that rolls coal on us or intentionally tries to run us off the road. You can see in the third picture that this was intentional and the kids were looking back to make sure they covered my friend Andrew Danly “Metal” in black exhaust. I was lucky enough to be in the right place with a great camera to capture this and turn it into Utah Highway Patrol. I was using a long lens and the kids were shocked when I was standing in the middle of the road giving them the universal bird.”
Conti contacted the Highway Patrol, “basically it’s not illegal they say. They were bothered I called. I’m persistent.”
Video of the incident:
Utah does have a statute that should apply to this in all cases but only applies to gasoline engines, 41-6a-1626: https://le.utah.gov/xcode/Title41/Chapter6a/41-6a-S1626.html
(2) (a) Except while the engine is being warmed to the recommended operating temperature, the engine and power mechanism of a gasoline-powered motor vehicle may not emit visible contaminants during operation.
(c) A person who violates the provisions of Subsection (2)(a) is guilty of an infraction and shall be fined:
(i) not less than $50 for a violation; or
(ii) not less than $100 for a second or subsequent violation within three years of a previous violation of this section.
The penalties are relatively light for this, with only a $100 fine for the first infraction.
An effort by Rep. Angela Romero in 2018 to increase the penalties and add Diesel engines failed in the legislature. (https://le.utah.gov/~2018/bills/static/HB0171.html )
Conti would like to see the law changed, “It seems like even with the evidence we have they don't seem to want to do anything. It's dangerous for the rider.”
Conti just finished 5th overall in the Race Across America. He commented, “Going across the country it happened multiple times between people trying to hit me or rolling coal. They are picking on a person who can't match their speed or chase them down. Cyclists deal with this all the time. I don't know why.”
[Editor's Note: Cycling Utah has contacted Rep. Romero to ask her to bring the bill back again in 2019.]