Provo cyclists: we need your help! You can help us pass H.B. 155, the law that allows Utah cyclists to yield at stop signs, by contacting your state senators today or tomorrow.
This bill passed the House by a slim margin (39 to 33) and is expected to be controversial in the Senate; just a few phone calls / emails from supportive constituents can make a difference today.
I just got off the phone with the Senate offices and it looks like H.B. 155 is currently in committee there. Assuming the committee approves it, the ordinance will be read into the Senate as soon as tomorrow and will be voted on shortly.
All you need to do to make a difference is email or call your senator (or go through the whole list if youâ€™re feeling particularly helpful). They welcome contact from the people they represent at any of the email addresses or phone numbers listed here (Even if it is a cell number, please feel free to call. They have chosen to list that number publicly for you to do so. Seriously.)
When emailing or writing, it is okay to keep it short. Just tell them that you would like to see them support ordinance H.B. 155 and explain why you are in favor. It only takes a couple of minutes to make a big difference.
For more information about H.B. 155, read the detailed write-up Zac did earlier this week. And, check out these “Idaho Stop” law articles from Salt Lake City Weekly, The Salt Lake Tribune, The Deseret News, and Treehugger.
Letâ€™s make Utah an amazing place for cycling!
photo credit: peapodsquadmom
Thanks for the heads up Jamie. I called and emailed my representative.
Thanks guys! This could be great!
My email to Senator Madsen was returned undeliverable. I then found you can submit a comment from the Utah Senate website (http://senate.utah.gov/) directly to a specific senator.
Thanks Phil for the added information.
Good to know, Phil. I’m not sure if it is overall more effective for us to email them or comment through the form.
I sent out a short message to all of them via email and haven’t seen any responses (although they’re probably busy and may not respond even if they read it). Has anyone heard back from the senators they contacted?
Well the Senate killed the bill for the second time in a row. The biking community had little presence on the hill, and the Senators voted it down. One cyclist in Senate committee spoke angrily against the bill, and the rest of us could not stem that tide. Or as Senate President Waddoups stated, “there are more irresponsible bikers than there are responsible bikers”. That pretty much sums up the attitude towards bicycle riding on the hill. Go buy a used Hummer instead.
HB155 was defeated in the 2011 Utah legislature. This bill would have allowed cyclists 18 years or older to treat stop signs as yield signs, similar to legislation that Idaho has had for 29 years. This yearâ€™s version of the bill did not include the 2010 versionâ€™s stop light provision that would have allowed cyclists to legally move through an unresponsive stop light. We also added the age restriction at the request of bicycle advocates. We had hoped a simpler, leaner bill might have been more to the legislatures liking. We were wrong.
There were a number of reasons that the legislators gave to turn back this bill but prominent among them was the comment uttered by Senate President Michael Waddoups during a Senate committee hearing in which he flatly stated that â€œthere are a lot more irresponsible bikers out there than there are responsible bikersâ€. Most legislators contend this legislation would simply encourage cyclists to fly through stop signs and stop lights with impunity, ignoring the fact that the onus is on the bicyclist to confirm there is no coming cross traffic before entering the intersection. In their view, we are already irresponsible, this bill would just make us more so.
On the other hand our argument has been that the reason virtually all cyclists do not come to a full, dead stop at stop signs in which there is no incoming traffic is because we have learned it is the safest tactic and most energetically economical. The goal for all cyclists on the road is to avoid cars because when cars and bikes meet, we know who loses. My goal in approaching an empty intersection is to confirm it is indeed empty with no oncoming traffic and then to get across it before any cars do show up.
Another primary reason we cited in support of this bill was that continuous starts and stops which quieter and safer streets have due to their plethora of stop signs puts many cyclists on much busier, and inherently more dangerous, streets that have far fewer stop signs. Statistics tell us the most deadly of bicycle accidents occur when we are struck from behind by an approaching car. Riding on streets with lots of fast moving cars simply increases the odds that you will get hit and not see it coming.
Clearly the vast majority of the members of the legislature have little sympathy for the plight of cyclists on the roads. This bill, in their eyes, simply gave cyclists license for increased bad behavior. But perhaps we have gone after these bills the wrong way. Maybe we should be aiming at the bottom line of health care expenditures the state is responsible for. We know of the health benefits of a daily bike ride, do they? What is the ultimate cost to the health care systems from inactive, obese individuals versus active, healthy cyclists? Maybe this is an avenue of dialogue we can develop with the legislature to enhance their awareness and appreciation of the cycling community.