24 February 2011

Will Utah finally get the "Idaho Stop Law"?

Rep. Carol Moss is once again trying to get the Traffic Code amended to allow cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs. Last Year, Rep. Moss tried to pass HB 91 - also commonly known as the "Idaho Stop Law" because of Idaho's status as the only state to allow bicycles to treat stop signs as yield signs - but it failed with a tie vote.

HB 155 proposes to amend the Traffic Code to allow bicycles to treat stop signs as yield signs, as long as they yield the right-of-way, and determines that it will not interfere with the other vehicles on the road.

Here is the Traffic Code, with the proposed amendments highlighted.

41-6a-1105. Operation of bicycle or moped on and use of roadway -- Duties, prohibitions.

(1) A person operating a bicycle or a moped on a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride as near as practicable to the right-hand edge of the roadway except when:
(a) overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction;

(b) preparing to make a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway;

(c) traveling straight through an intersection that has a right-turn only lane that is in conflict with the straight through movement; or

(d) reasonably necessary to avoid conditions that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand edge of the roadway including:

(i) fixed or moving objects;

(ii) parked or moving vehicles;

(iii) bicycles;

(iv) pedestrians;

(v) animals;

(vi) surface hazards; or

(vii) a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.

(2) A person operating a bicycle or moped on a highway shall operate in the designated direction of traffic.

(3) (a) A person riding a bicycle or moped on a roadway may not ride more than two abreast with another person except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles.

(b) If allowed under Subsection (3)(a), a person riding two abreast with another person may not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic and shall ride within a single lane.

(4) If a usable path for bicycles has been provided adjacent to a roadway, a bicycle rider may be directed by a traffic-control device to use the path and not the roadway.

(5) (a) A person operating a bicycle approaching a stop sign shall stop before entering the intersection.

(b) Notwithstanding Subsection (5)(a), a person operating a bicycle approaching a stop sign may cautiously make a turn or proceed through the intersection without stopping if the person:

(i) slows to a reasonable speed;

(ii) yields the right-of-way to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching on another highway so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard;

(iii) has reasonably determined the movement can be made safely and without interfering with the movement of any vehicle or pedestrian; and

(iv) is 18 years of age or older.
Let's hope it passes this time.


HB-155 has failed again. It was voted down in the Senate 11-11. Some of the senators felt that it was a double standard to allow cyclists an exception for stop signs, even though it has been proven to increase cyclist safety to allow them to treat stop signs as yields. Take a look at the story on KSL for more information.

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