What the HAYnes? Bicyclists get to turn left on red, it’s the law

HUMOR – On Wednesday a new law took effect in Utah which allows motorcycles and bicycles to turn left at red lights. The law requires riders to wait 90 seconds and check that the intersection is clear before proceeding.

The reasoning behind this law is that apparently many cyclists find themselves stuck at traffic lights because their two-wheelers do not register with the traffic sensors. The law is effective for a one-year trial period, after which it will either be chosen to stay or bid farewell via a televised rose ceremony, much like those on “The Bachelor.”

Not really –  although, I am of the opinion that it would be infinitely more amusing to follow the lawmaking process if there were more dramatic ceremonies, angry throwing of champagne into Senators’ faces, or competitions based on feats of strength in the House of Representatives. Imagine how interested and informed voters would be if C-SPAN played out like an episode of reality television. That is what this country needs – more phoniness in politics.

But that is a discussion for another day.

This new bicycle/motorcycle law has a lot of motorists laying on their metaphorical horns. They do not want to share the road with bikes. They want to run red lights, too. They just want to get home as quickly as possible to change into their sweat pants, watch “Survivor: Caramoan,” and eat an entire bag of Lay’s barbeque chips for dinner. They do not want to get stuck behind a bicycle, especially in a turning lane.

Unfortunately for them, the letter of the Utah law sees things differently. It states, “ … a person operating a bicycle, a vehicle or device propelled by human power, or a moped has all the rights and is subject to the provisions … applicable to the operator of any other vehicle.”

Translated into English, this says that bicyclists have the same rights and have to follow the same traffic rules as regular human beings, except that as of Wednesday they are allowed to turn left at a red light like they are masters of the universe. Not that I am jealous.

Utah law also states: “A person may not operate a motor vehicle at a speed so slow as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic ….”

According to my interpretation, this means that there are probably roads that are unsuitable for your bicycle unless you either ride like Lance Armstrong or you love being honked at and run into the sagebrush.

The bottom line is we could all stand to exercise a little more patience, a little more understanding, and a boatload more courtesy on the road. This goes for drivers, bicyclists, motorcyclists, rollerskaters, those weirdoes on Segways, as well as those people who cross the street really slowly, like I have all the time in the world and I am not missing the entire series finale of “The Office” because they won’t pick up the pace.

Maybe I could stand to be a little more courteous and patient myself.

Related posts

Truck vs. bicycle accident on Brigham Road

Southern Utah Bike Summit to unite cyclists, liaise with governments and planner

UDOT to spend $1.6 million on SR-18 for road cycling enhancements

New bicycle lanes to be added in downtown St. George

New rumble strips on SR 18 worry cyclists

Analysis: Let’s get ready to rumble

Road Respect car and bike program coming to St. George

Analysis: Come race day or highway, a case for generosity on wheels

Calling all cyclists, it’s time to give your bike a check-up

Elise Haynes chronicles family life in her blog Haynes Family Yard Sale. Any opinions stated in this column are her own and not necessarily those of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

Left turn on Red


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1 Comment

  • All bike riders May 17, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    Neener, neener, neener, we didn’t even ask for that one, but thanks.

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