How Well Do You Know Utah’s Cycling Laws?

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By Ken Christensen and Russ Hymas –

Because of the dangers inherent in cycling alongside 3,000-lb vehicles, most cyclists become much more well-versed on the laws governing their conduct than their motorist counterparts. In fact, many cyclists have even found themselves in the awkward situation of educating law enforcement officials on some of the more recent cycling laws!

Are you a cycling-law scholar? Take the quiz below to test your knowledge. Keep in mind that some of the laws below are specific to Utah. So if you’re a cyclist in another state, be sure to check your local laws for the rules that apply to you.

TRUE OR FALSE:

    1. Motor vehicles may not park in bicycle lanes.
      1. False. Utah, like most other states, does not prohibit parking a car in a bicycle lane.
    2. In Utah, bicycles may ride “three abreast.”
      1. False. It is only legal for two cyclists to ride side by side as long as they do not impede traffic. If you slow down the cars behind you riding side by side, it’s not only courteous but required that you ride single file.
    3. You must wear a helmet when riding a bike.
      1. False. Utah, Wyoming, and Idaho do not have laws requiring cyclists to wear helmets.
    4. It is illegal in Utah to ride your bike with no hands.
      1. True. Utah Code 41-6a-1112 specifically states that all cyclists must have at least one hand on the handle bars at all times.
    5. A person under the age of 18 can ride their bike on a sidewalk in Utah.
      1. True. Until last year, it was illegal in some Utah cities to ride a bike on a sidewalk. Last year, the Utah legislature changed the law so children can ride on sidewalks anywhere in the state.
    6. Drivers pay for roads, so they should get priority.
      1. False. Drivers are not the only ones paying for road. Cars and cyclists have equal rights to the road. They should mutually share the road and obey the laws to create a safe environment for all.
    7. You can run a red light as a cyclist after waiting 30 seconds.
      1. False. If you are 16 years old or older, you can ride through a red light only if 1) the traffic sensors have not sensed you after waiting 90 seconds, and 2) there are no cars or pedestrians with the right-of-way near the intersection.
    8. You are approaching an intersection where four cars traveling in your same direction are waiting at a red light. You can legally pass the waiting cars on the right using the shoulder of the road, and proceed to the front of the intersection to wait for the light to change.
      1. True. Until May of 2013, it was illegal for a cyclist to pass cars on the right while riding up to the front of an intersection. But our attorneys, Ken Christensen and Russ Hymas, wrote legislation (HB324) that became law making it legal for a cyclist to pass cars on the right.
    9. Utah passed the “Idaho stop” law this year allowing cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs.
      1. False. HB58 passed the House of Representatives, but was not heard in the Senate before the end of the 2018 legislative session.
    10. Cyclists can make a claim under their car insurance if they are hit by a car.
      1. True. Many cyclists erroneously think their car insurance does not apply if they’re not in their own vehicle when injured. The opposite is true – coverages such as uninsured motorist (UM), underinsured motorist (UIM) and personal injury protection (PIP) benefits often provide the greatest safety net for cyclists when hit by a car.Cyclists can make a claim under their car insurance if they are hit by a car.

Ken Christensen and Russ Hymas are avid cyclists and Utah attorneys at UtahBicycleLawyers.com. Their legal practice is devoted to helping cyclists injured in collisions with motor vehicles. They are authors of the Utah Bicycle Accident Handbook and are nationally recognized legal experts on cycling laws and safety.

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