On Monday Utah cyclists began riding from Beaver to St. George as part the Road Respect Tour that concludes in Logan on Saturday. Cycling with the group during the 518 mile tour is Evelyn Tuddenham with the Utah Department of Transportation. UPR's Kerry Bringhurst talked to Tuddenham at the start of her second-to-last day on the road.
KB: You've basically been chasing the Road Rally throughout the week. Where are you right now?
ET: Right now we're in Park City. We're heading down Provo Canyon to Orem, then we're going from Orem through Utah County. We have a short stop in Alpine, and then we're over the mountain to Draper for a big event this evening.
KB: This has been to help promote safety between bicyclists and motorists. One of the things you've been pushing is to help individuals realize the laws regarding road respect and car and bike safety. There are certain myths, one being that cyclists can only ride in the shoulder, on the right hand side of white line. Is that true?
ET: That is not true. Bicycles are considered vehicles. They are allowed to take the lane. Particularly if they are going the speed of traffic or if there is debris on the shoulder of the road. They like to stay on the shoulder of road because they feel safer there, but motorists should be aware that cyclists can take the road anytime.
KB: When I was growing up I was told by my parents to ride on the opposite of the road, toward the traffic so that motorists could see me coming. We no longer do that, right?
ET: That's correct. You are supposed to ride with traffic. If the motorists consider that the bicycle is a vehicle just like they are then they expect to see it on the road, moving in the same direction as they are. It's a matter of predictability.
KB: What about riding single file? Is that something cyclists are required to do?
ET: The law actually states that they can ride 2 abreast unless they're impeding traffic. So if they're on a roadway and traffic has to go around them and move into the other lane so they're actually putting themselves at risk, then they're impeding traffic. Or if they're in a situation where there's a lot of traffic on the road, and they're riding more than 1 abreast, then they're also impeding traffic and they should start riding single file in those instances.
KB: Let's say I'm a motorist and I find that I can pass safely. Do I need to give a cyclist a certain amount of space?
ET: The law is that you should give a cyclist 3 feet. Sometimes that's not possible, so you should stay as far away as you can. 3 feet is what's stated in the law.
KB: Who decides whether bicyclists are allowed to ride on the sidewalks?
ET: It's the city that makes that rule. You need to know the laws and rules in your particular city. Most of the cities and towns in Utah do allow bicycles on the sidewalk. What I like to caution people about, though, is that jumping from the sidewalk to the street is extremely dangerous because it makes you unpredictable to the motor vehicles so they don't know what to expect. Predictability is key to safety on the road.
KB: Some other safety tips for cyclists : Stay visible. Stay out of driver's blind spots. Always use hand signals. Be predictable.