Under Utah Law, a bicyclist has all the rights under the motor vehicle code, but is also subject to the same rules, restrictions and penalties that apply to cars. In short, bicyclists are required to follow the rules of the road - similar to a motor vehicle. Utah Code Ann. 41-6a-1102, et seq., sets forth the rules for bicyclists. Here are some highlights:
- Generally, bicyclists should ride as near as practicable to the right-hand edge of the road
- Bicyclists may not ride two abreast
- Bicyclists shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians
- Bicyclists may not ride on the sidewalk - where prohibited by a traffic-control device or ordinance
- If a bicyclist is using a sidewalk (and it's permitted by ordinance), she has all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian
It's a good idea to check local city ordinances regarding riding bicycles on city streets and sidewalks. For example, under certain circumstances, a bicyclist may be permitted to ride on the sidewalk. We've had two recent cases, one in Salt Lake City, and another in Logan, where we consulted local city ordinances because our client had been riding on the sidewalk when struck by a car that was exiting from a driveway that crossed the sidewalk.
Unfortunately, bicyclists are often involved in accidents with cars. In many of those cases, the car insurance company will try and blame the bicyclist for causing the accident; therefore, it's important to know the rights and responsibilities of bicyclists. In the State of Utah, an initiative is underway to promote awareness and respect between bicyclists and motorists. I previously wrote about that initiative here. Above all, we want to make our roads safe for bicyclists and motorists. If you have questions about Utah Bicycle Law, please give our office a call at 801-264-6677.