What is ISTEA? Who represents you locally or nationally when it comes to transportation issues? Is finding out too hard? Would you write a letter to your Mayor or Congressmen or County Commissioner in support of an advocacy position? Have you ever wondered who plans the transportation system? The EDC web page has contact information, lists platforms, lists links to transportation data, and provides links to leading bicycle/pedestrian advocacy groups.
Follow the link that lists email and mail addresses for Utah's congressman and local transportation coordinators.
One important link to the northern Utah communities along the Wasatch Front is the link to the Wasatch Front Regional Council. The WFRC coordinates transportation planning from Ogden to the Point of the Mountain.
Another link includes the report created by the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (Volpe Center), Research and Special Programs Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation for the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Maybe you remember when the investigative commission came to Utah in 1995. Find their report here.
Both of these links report stunning growth data for the Wasatch Front metropolitan area. They report on regional transportation working plans and identify future transportation expectations.
Each bicycle rider has an obligation to know the rules of the road. In most situations, municipalities consider the bicycle as a vehicle with the same obligation to follow the law as that of a motor vehicle. The basics apply: ride with the traffic, stop at stop signs, signal before turning, etc.
Publisher Dave Ward ought to be writing this article, after all, he is the attorney. Do the laws interfere with your riding experience? Ask Dave, he wrote an article considering that issue last year. Does it matter if you slide through a stop light? No one around to see, who cares, but, bet you don't do it if a car is coming or if a law enforcement officer is within view.
Bicycling while obeying the rules of the road creates predictability for other vehicle operators. This is a good thing, when one considers the consequences of an encounter with the average single occupant vehicle. Not pretty. Prudently obeying the traffic code while riding your bicycle increases your odds of succumbing to something other than an up-close-and-personal visit with a car fender.
When ordinance code is written, officials consider public safety, uniformity, enforcement, and common sense, however, there are some parts of the code that defy practicality or reality.
Utah Code part 22.214.171.124 specifically prohibits bicycle racing unless approved by the appropriate jurisdictions. Not withstanding, the average training descent of Emigration Canyon often bends this part significantly. UC 41.6.89 requires all bicycles to have brakes that stop your bike within 25 feet while traveling at 10 mph. So much for your track bike you use as a commuter or the average bike in the garage that has not seen the light of day in years. UC 126.96.36.199 requires that a turn signal be given continuously beginning at least 100 feet before the turn until the turn is completed and while stopped waiting for the turn. Fortunately, the part generously allows the operator to stop signaling if completing the turn requires two hands.
Salt Lake City Code part 12.80.07 prohibits riding on the sidewalks within the Central Traffic District (see part 12.04.09 for the boundaries, basically 4th west to 2nd east, North Temple to 5th South), law enforcement officers excepted. This section also prohibits riding a bicycle on a sidewalk if a bicycle lane is available.
Both state and city codes allow for riding two abreast so long as not to impeded the flow of traffic. You may ride your bike on sidewalks unless an ordinance specifically prevents operation. Pedestrians have the right of way on sidewalks.
Uniformity is one of the goals when multiple jurisdictions are writing code. Generally, if a municipality does not have a specific code item, the next higher jurisdiction applies. Conflict arises when code dramatically conflicts with accepted operating protocols. For example, bicycles, like any other vehicle, by code, must operate on the left side of the road. However, Salt lake City Code item 12.80.07 I. allows for 1. bicycling in either direction as long as you are within a bicycle lane and 2. allows for riding against the traffic on a one-way street. Clearly, this code conflict creates a dangerous and unpredictable situation for both motorist and bicycle rider. Pursuant to the research for this article, the Salt Lake City's Mayor's Bicycle Advisory committee has been advised of this conflict and has already contacted an official within the Salt Lake City Police Department in order to achieve uniformity.
Presumably, enforcement compliments the code items. Getting cited, in most cases, means dealing with a class B misdemeanor.
Remember, each jurisdiction can adjust the code as it applies to operating your bicycle. Salt Lake County's only designated bicycle route, Emigration Canyon, limits riding to single file.
If you wish to know the code that affects you, contact your local municipality or visit your local Library. The state of Utah and Salt Lake City, respectively, have published their code on the internet. Part 41 of the Utah State code applies to bicycles. Part 5 of the SLC code applies to
the selling of bicycles, part 12 applies to bicycle operation. One can find internet links to the State and City code at http://www.redrocks.com/edc.
,Transportation Planner - Wasatch Front Regional Council
How often have you leaned over the handle bars of your bike and said out loud, "Who put that grate there!" or, "When are they going to fix this road!" How about screaming to your buddy on the mountain bike about trail conditions or access. Well get off your saddle and make a difference. Voice your concern.
Instead of just yelling out loud about the road conditions. Make a phone call to the appropriate City Engineer or UDOT Region Safety Engineer about the condition. Better yet, instead of calling and chewing ears thinking something will be done to appease YOUR need, try creating a roadway condition report of your favorite route to submit to authorities.
Take your commuter or recreation route and inventory it from end to end. Note the pavement conditions, how rough or broken is the surface? Is it just for a short distance, at an intersection, or for the distance of your ride. What are the roadway obstacles and constrictions? Are the sewer covers flush with the pavement, are storm drains a wheel trap, or is street parking a problem? Do lateral constrictions exist narrowing the travel way? Constrictions might cause an auto/rider conflict such as an old bridge or roadway alignment change. Does the roadway need to be swept? Try to assess the route for all riders and abilities, not just you. Talk to other people on your route and get their input.
Develop a report and submit it to the authorities. Listed below are contacts for State roadways. Region 1 UDOT Safety Engineer, Mont Smith, 399-5921 ext 323, has responsibility for the region from north of Farmington to the Idaho State line. Region 2 Safety Engineer is Ritchey Taylor, 975-4811, his region of responsibility extends from Farmington south to the Salt Lake/Utah County line. Also try Jan Yeckes at 965-3897. She is the UDOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator.
Mountain bike trails can also benefit from your advocacy. Outline a section of your favorite trail. Note deficiencies in the trail. Could water bars be installed to control erosion? Is the trail over used? Are bike/hike/horse conflicts common? Again, document your concerns and present them to the appropriate authorities. This could be the county parks and recreation department, the city, or maybe the Forest Service.
Get involved in trail improvement. Call the USFS Trails Volunteer Hotline, 943-3624 Michael Dee, to donate muscle power. The Forest Service does trail maintenance projects Wednesday through Saturday. They provide the materials - you provide muscle. Also, call Marv and Kathleen Stoddard at 485-6975, to help out on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. Currently, they are scheduling with the Forest Service to extend the Shoreline Trail up to the Davis/Salt Lake County Line from City Creek Canyon. Most work is done on Saturday morning from 8:00 am to 12:30 am.
Above all ride responsibly. On the road, a bike is subject to the same motor vehicle laws as an auto. That means signal your turns, obey traffic signs and signals. The same goes for auto operators to respect the road use of bicyclists. Be tolerant of bikes on the roadway and pass only when it is clear. Assume the bike operates as a car on the roadway. Contact the League of American Bicyclists (LAB), 1-800-288-BIKE, about bicycle education programs. They provide Effective Cycling classes through certified instructors covering road etiquette and safe riding techniques.
Mountain bikes share the trail not own the trail. Keep your speed in check and maintain control. Just remember that everyone else has the right-of-way on the trail. Hikers and horses have right-of-way. Upon approach of either - talk to them and let them inform you of their intent on the trail. Especially so with horses. Make contact with the rider and let them tell you what to do. They know how their horse should react to being near a bike. When it comes to a bike to bike conflict, the uphill rider has the right-of-way. If you are interested in knowing more about trail rules and etiquette contact the International Mountain Bike Association. (IMBA). Locally, try the Utah Mountain Bike Association (UMBA) for trail issues. Call Kneel Robinson at 322-3312 to get involved.
Join a biking club and band together with your issues concerning road use and roadway conditions. Check with local bike shops in your area about clubs to ride with.
I'm not going to promise that you will get what you specifically want, however, voice your concern and get involved. An element of my job is to develop projects which further alternate (non-auto) modes of transportation. Bicycling is one alternative. Call me with any questions and I'll see what I can do to help. Tim Boschert, 292-4469.
It is important to know that the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) is currently up for reauthorization.
ISTEA, the nation's surface transportation law, made important changes in the way federal dollars fund local projects. ISTEA gave localities the option to flex federal dollars from road construction to other transportation solutions.
By allowing localities such flexibility, ISTEA enables transportation solutions that best meet a range of community needs. ISTEA enjoys wide support from bike clubs, environmentalists, pedestrian safety advocates, local governments and low-income and disabled rights groups.
But it also has powerful opponents and are often those who profit from roads, even at the expense of our communities.
The highway lobby has targeted bike and pedestrian enhancements and is fighting to eliminate them as an option for ISTEA funding. In addition, the highway lobby is working to exempt certain highway construction from environmental regulations, specifically from NEPA review.
Roads are our primary mode of transportation. But roads are not the sole solution to meeting transportation needs. Concerned Americans should contact their representative and senators to urge support for a strong ISTEA which includes the right to flex money from roads to pedestrian and bike enhancements and which does not weaken environmental standards.