By Turner Bitton — After the close of the 2018 legislative session I caught up with Representative Brad Daw to talk about his experience as a commuter cyclist and legislator. Representative Daw has represented District 60 in the Utah House of Representatives since 2005 with a two year period between 2013 and 2015. District 60 is largely compromised of Orem and has historically been an area with significant growth.
Representative Daw has developed an interesting profile as a legislator and is known for working on policies ranging from the regulation of payday lenders to medical cannabis. He serves on the Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee, House Government Operations Committee, House Health and Human Services Committee, Health and Human Services Interim Committee, and the Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Interim Committee.
Here is our discussion.
Cycling West: You have a reputation for being a cyclist and supporting cycling issues on Utah’s Capitol Hill. Is it accurate to say so? Can you share your personal experiences with cycling?
Brad Daw: I do support cycling issues. Like any other legislation there’s always a balancing act, but in general I want Utah to be a place that welcomes and supports cyclists.
I have a bum knee from a severe childhood accident so running is off the table for me. But fitness is important to me and I wanted to embrace an activity that would challenge me without causing undue wear and tear on my knee. Bicycling turned out to be the ideal solution.
CW: I understand that you commute to work by bicycle. If this is true, what route do you take, and what is your motivation for commuting by bicycle?
BD: I do ride in to work more or less twice a week. My ride is the Murdock Trail from on end to the other. It is pretty ideal that I live in Orem and Adobe is at the other end of the trail. I like the commute for numerous reasons but the for me commuting is a great twofer. I get to do something productive beyond just having a workout. I get to actually get somewhere that I need to be for the day.
As a side note, I do not ride home. 20 miles in a day is a good workout for me. I take the FrontRunner home.
CW: I know that you live in Utah County but have you ever commuted to Capitol Hill by bicycle before?
BD: I did once this last session. I think I sent you the route I took in Strava. It was a 47 mile ride and I had a great time doing it. Here’s my bike in my parking spot at the capitol.
[Editor's Note: Utah's Idaho Stop Bill passed and was signed into law in 2021 and is now in effect, but without the red light portion which is covered in part by another section of the code. Cyclists can go through red lights after waiting for 90 seconds in certain circumstances.]
CW: During the legislative session the Utah House of Representatives passed House Bill 58 – the so-called “Idaho Stop” – which allows cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs, and stop lights as stop signs. You voted for the legislation and I’m wondering if you have any thoughts on the bill.
BD: Well I just did it this morning. The fact is that if the road is clear I have no problem crossing and I do it all the time.
CW: You have served in the legislature since 2005. Do you feel the environment related to cycling issues has changed? If so, how and what has the impact been on cycling issues?
BD: There’s much more of a push on two fronts. One is simply clearing the way for more long distance bike paths like the Murdock and Jordan River Trail. And there is also more of an awareness of competitive cycling. The Tour of Utah is becoming a very big event and I hope it leads to more events both amateur and professional.
CW: Lastly, are there any issues or legislation you expect to see in the 2019 session related to bicycles? Do you plan on sponsoring any specific legislation related to cycling? Is there anything you would like to share with your constituents or our readers?
BD: I’m not aware of anything specific. Most of this seems like it would come under the heading of community and economic development. But if there needed to be some legislation I would most likely want to help it along.
I’ve always loved biking and hope to be able to do it for a long time and would encourage your readers and my constituents to get out and give it a try.
If you have an idea or individual subject for a commuter column in the West, please email [email protected]