As a member of Bike Law and a partner at Eisenberg Cutt Kendell & Olson, I am excited to celebrate Utah as an amazing place to cycle thanks to the hard work and dedication of a few great organizations and leaders in our State! Utah has much to celebrate with regard to the cycling movement. Organizations such as Bike Utah www.bikeutah.org have worked very hard to make Utah a bike-friendly state and to provide cycling opportunities to a wide-spread section of the state’s population. Recently, the League of American Bicyclists released its Bicycle-Friendly State rankings for 2015, and Utah moved up from number 8 to number 5! See those rankings HERE. Utah’s move up the rankings of bicycle-friendly states is largely due to the work and effort of Bike Utah.
In April, Bike Utah put on its annual Bike Summit which attracts a large gathering of cyclists as well as lawmakers, city and state political leaders, and management from Utah’s Transit Authority to discuss Utah’s progress in becoming a more cycle-friendly state.Bicycle Legend Gary Fisher was the keynote speaker and shared his vision for bicycle improvements in his home town area of San Francisco. Gary shared that the original plans for the Golden Gate Bridge included a double-decker design that provided two ways to cross the bridge, one built below the other. While that design was scrapped when the bridge was built, Gary is working to have the original design implemented and another crossing added to the bridge below the current lanes. The new crossing would be for cyclist and pedestrian traffic only and would include restaurants and shops for the cyclists and pedestrians to enjoy along the way.
Just as Gary Fisher is working hard in his home state to make improvements for cyclists, so too is Bike Utah working hard to improve and expand cycling opportunities in Utah. There is work in progress to create a dedicated bike path to cross the state from west to east, meandering in and through some of the State’s national parks and other recreational sites. UDOT is also very busy studying bicycle and pedestrian safety at various intersections throughout the state and is working to improve the safety of those intersections based upon their research of the factors that make those particular intersections dangerous. While great progress is occurring in Utah to make this an even safer place to cycle, very serious dangers still exist and cyclists need to be conscious and aware of potential safety hazards.
Our firm recently helped the family of a cyclist who lost her life as the result of a construction sign that was left in a bike lane. The sign was turned at an angle that made it impossible to see from a distance, and the cyclist did not notice the sign until she was upon it and it was too late to take evasive action. Her bicycle struck the leg of the sign causing a horrible crash that claimed the cyclist’s life. Tragedies such as this are avoidable and should not happen. A construction sign would never be left in the middle of a roadway, nor should it be left in the middle of a bike lane, but it was and a terrible tragedy ensued.While great efforts are being made to educate the public about sharing the road with cyclists, not everyone is getting the message. Some people are just oblivious to cyclists, while others are keenly aware of them but have a strong bias against cyclists being on the road.
This puts a heavy burden on cyclists to be extremely cautious and to expect and plan for the worst. Cyclists should not assume that they are safe on the roadways. Every cyclist should follow and abide by all traffic laws. Every cyclist should watch closely for hazards left in bike lanes, for motorists who are oblivious to cyclists on the roadway, and for those who simply refuse to share the road. By being vigilant and cautious, we can greatly increase our odds of having a safe summer of cycling. In the event you are involved in an accident, please be mindful of important things you need to know and call Jackie at Bike Law. I will be happy to help you navigate the claims process should the need arise.
Wishing everyone safe cycling as this fun season is upon us!