Stolen bikes will be easier to recover.
The Utah Legislature wrapped up the 2016 session in mid-March. A number of bicycle related bills passed this session including a bill to make it easier to recover a stolen bike from a pawnshop, an electric bike bill, and a trails related bill. Money was also allocated to finish the Jordan River Parkway and a section of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. A recap of each bill is below.
A key bill that passed was the ‘Pawnshop Amendments’ bill (Senate Bill 157 – sponsored by Sen. Thatcher and Rep. Snow). The bill makes it easier for victims of bicycle (and other types) theft to recover their bikes from pawn shops. A key provision of the bill is that if the cyclist can prove the bike is their’s (and has filed a police report), they will no longer need to pay the pawn shop to get their bike back.
House Bill 52 – Office of Outdoor Recreation Amendments (Grant Program)
House Bill 52, Office of Outdoor Recreation Amendments, will provide $1 million in one time funding for outdoor recreation infrastructure projects. These projects can include trails and trail amenities. Rep. Patrice Arent and Sen. Ralph Okerlund sponsored the bill, which passed overwhelmingly and is on its way to Governor Herbert for his signature. The bill will create a grant program based on a pilot project that started in 2015. Municipalities and non-profits can apply for funds. Sadly, the original bill would have provided $5 million in funding, but this was cut to $1 million in a substitute bill by Sen. Okerlund. Of this, $300,000 is allocated by this statute to the “Kanab Trail at the Jackson Flat Reservoir”. Powerful Sen. Mike Noel is also the Executive Director of the Kane County Water Conservancy District which oversees the Jackson Flat Reservoir where the trail will be located. At press time, we were unable to find any more information on the trail, although we are aware that Kane County is working on a new trails system.
Electric Assisted Bicycle Amendments
Senate Bill 121 governs electric assisted bicycles. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Todd Weiler and Rep. Johnny Anderson. Considerable dialogue with the ebike industry and bike advocates took place and led to several substitute bills. The bill finally passed the senate and house (74-1) and is on its way to the governor for his signature. The key provision of the bill is that a driver’s license is no longer required to operate an electric bike. This will allow those who either never received a license, or who have lost their license to ride an ebike on the streets. Secondly, the bill explicitly allows ebikes on trails in Utah. How will this affect riding? This is an issue that has not been studied well, so time will tell. It does allow for a local municipality to regulate their use. This will allow Park City, which has a trial program in place, to regulate where ebikes can be ridden.
Jordan River Parkway
The Jordan River Parkway took a huge step towards completion in the 2016 session. The Legislature appropriated $1,230,000 to build the last bridge in Salt Lake City between North Temple and 200 South. The total cost of this section of the Jordan River Parkway will be $6.64 million. With the funding from the legislature, it appears as though only $50,000 is left to raise. There are three gaps left in the trail: 200 S to North Temple, 14400 South to 15000 South, and 15900 South to 16500 South. The latter two are funded already with the 14400 gap due to be completed in 2017 and the 15900 gap to be completed this spring. The 200 South ‘Jordan River Last Bridge’ project is slated for completion in late 2017.
Bonneville Shoreline Trail
The Bonneville Shoreline Trail in Davis County will receive $150,000 to complete the NEPA process (National Environmental Policy Act assessment) and for construction and matching grants. The trail will be 310 miles in length when complete and stretch from Santaquin, Utah to Idaho.