Bill advances to allow bicyclists to roll through stop signs, red lights

(Francisco Kjolseth | Tribune file photo) Bicyclists make their way through downtown Salt Lake CIty traffic. The Utah Department of Transportation is working on a policy that covers bikes and pedestrians.

A bill to allow bicyclists to legally roll through stop signs and red lights easily cruised through a House committee on Tuesday.

The House Transportation Committee voted unanimously to endorse HB58 and sent it to the full House for consideration.

It would allow bicyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs, and red lights as stop signs. In short, it would allow cyclists to roll through a controlled intersection if no other traffic is present. Idaho and Delaware already have similar laws.

“Cyclists do this anyway, and have for a number of years,” said Rep. Carol Moss, D-Holladay, sponsor of the bill. She said studies on Idaho’s law said it has not increased problems, but actually reduced the number of crashes and their severity.

She said allowing cyclists to keep momentum where possible allows them to more safely and quickly clear intersections.


Allow bicyclists to legally roll through red lights and stop signs when no other traffic was present in an intersection. - Read full text

Current Status:

Filed Law Introduced in House House Committee House passage Senate Committee Senate passage Governor's OK

Moss said it is wise for laws to reflect actual practice and allow police to focus on more important laws. Also, she said cyclists are too small to have sensors detect them at some traffic lights, “so they could sit there for up to 10 minutes.”

Several cycling groups supported the bill and said it could help increase ridership and decrease air pollution.

“Pass this law and you will attract more high-tech businesses,” because many people who work for them hope to commute by bicycle, Jim Greene, a bicycle commuter, said.

The Utah Police Chiefs Association opposed the bill. Val Shupe, its executive director, said having different laws for motorists and bicyclists creates misunderstanding on the road, and his group fears it could lead cyclists to be too careless around intersections.