Bicycle Safety

Salt Lake County published a proposed Bicycle Best Practice plan last year, which is available at http://www.pwpds.slco.org/zoning/pdf/130708_BBP_FINALwCOV.pdf for residents to review.  The Granite Community Council has discussed the plan with County Planning and Zoning staff at a meeting last year, but if you have comments, you can send them to Will Becker, wbecker@slco.org or send them to Mary Young.

The Council has established a Bicycle Working Group to work together with the County, Sandy, and UDOT on establishing more bike trails in Granite and identifying other ways of improving bicycle safety. Contact Mary Young, tmayoung@xmission.com or at 801-942-2491 if you’re interested in participating.

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More on Bicycle Safety:

I know it is very frustrating to many drivers that the law allow bikers to  ride two abreast — here’s a little context — a bike is a legal vehicle.  Two of us riders abreast makes us more visible to vehicles and also helps vehicles not try to pass unless there is ample and adequate space (three feet is the law!). I believe most cyclists try to ride two abreast ONLY when they will not slow traffic.

When riding with a group it is bike courtesy for the biker in the back to yell “car back” when a car approaches so that the forward riders can move into a single file position to let drivers pass. That being said, there are lots of new bikers on the road these days that are not educated and most drivers in Utah are unaware that legally a bicycle should be treated as an equal sized vehicle–to be passed only when there is no oncoming traffic–and that bikers have legal access to the full lane except when a bike lane is available.

That being said, bikers usually try to ride on the outside of the white line unless the shoulder is full of debris (small rocks are like boulders to a road bike tire) or uneven pavement such as the approach on Wasatch Blvd. heading north toward Big Cottonwood Canyon. There is a nicely marked bike lane that I never ride in because the pavement is so uneven it is difficult not to get caught in a rut and end up getting flipped off your bike, or swerving into traffic to avoid pothole and large crevices in the pavement–especially because you are riding around 30-35 mph downhill, it is dangerous to be in a poorly maintained bike lane.

An important thing to remember is that most cyclists are drivers, so they tend to drive/ ride more courteously,  being aware of difficulties of navigating certain traffic intersections on bicycles –that being said, there ARE several pro riding groups that have bad reputations and feel that they are the exception to the rules of the road because they are so just plain awesome!!

It would be truly awesome if we could encourage all drivers to get on a bike and ride to the grocery store or to a recreational activity–I believe that after a few bike rides, drivers would be more patient when a bike is approaching a left turn and trying to move from the far right shoulder into the turning lane where they are supposed to be, to make a legal left turn,  or when they have to wait for a few seconds for a slow biker to get through a narrow portion of the road or ride in the lane to avoid potholes and garbage in the bike lanes.  [Germany is an amazing example – all roadways are marked (traffic signals included) for cars and bikes to have a turn lane to navigate intersections.]

I have often heard people gripe about being stuck behind two abreast bikers headed up or down the canyons. What is the delay: 30 seconds- 1 minute????  Truthfully,  I’m sure I have delayed a car or two–not on purpose but only because my safety has required that I move into the lane or I’m riding two abreast,  and I haven’t heard the car come up behind me–a gentle honk or a holler out the window encourages me to move over and we are both safe and the driver has been inconvenienced only slightly.

I know bikers annoy cars and cars annoy bikers. The reality is that the roads belongs to both of us and we are going to have to be more considerate of each other.

My husband, Ken, is involved in a bike safety advocacy group that would be happy to send a rep to one of the [community council or County] meetings to try to educate drivers on bike laws–road respect I believe is the term they use. And to take feedback on how they can educate bikers too!

…we are trying to get 9800 S and 3100 E marked to protect all the runners and cyclists that pass through our neighborhood from Dimple Dell toward Little Cottonwood Canyon.

Thanks,

Jenifer Johnson

Granite, Utah

[Jenifer is a friend, neighbor, and street safety activist who has been working with members of the Granite Community Council, County, and Sandy to make our streets safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. If you have comments or questions, please send them to Mary Young, whose email is above.]

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