House committee unanimously passes 'Utah Yield' bicycle bill

Today the House Transportation Committee voted unanimously to pass H.B. 58, “Traffic Control Signs for Bicycles” which would revise traffic control regulations related to bicycles. (FILE Photo:{ } SBG)

(KUTV) -Bicyclists may get to forgo a 90-second wait time at stop signs and treat them as yield signs with Tuesday's unanimous passage of House Bill 58.

The House Transportation Committee passed the “Traffic Control Signs for Bicycles” bill that revises traffic control regulations related to bicycles to help law enforcement focus more on pressing traffic hazards.

Not only is the wait time eliminated in the newly proposed law but bicyclists are also allowed to treat red traffic signals as stop signs with what Rep. Carol Spackman Moss has labeled the “Utah Yield.”

She added that the law needs to be changed because traffic signals throughout the state are designed for cars and not bicyclists.

“All too often when bicyclists stop at a red light, they have to wait and wait because they’re not heavy enough to trigger the road sensors," Moss stated in a news release. "Many people commute by bike to work, and they’ll just have to go through the light, and some have been cited for doing that. We want to encourage a bicycle-friendly road system that makes bicycling safer, faster, and easier will help to encourage more ridership.”

The news release cited studies from other states with “Stop As Yield” regulations reporting no increased risk for car-bicycle accidents. One study from Idaho measured a 14 percent decrease in motor vehicle-bicycle crashes, the news release stated.

Bill supporters claim the proposed traffic control bill for bicyclists additionally encourages more people to use bicycling as a mode of transportation to help address the state's poor air quality. A news release stated roughly half of Utah's poor air quality is credited to motor vehicle emissions.

The bill now goes to the House floor for consideration.