Respect is something taught early in life, along with sharing and taking turns. These behaviors may come easy to some individuals, while others seem to need a little more encouragement in order to get along and play by the rules.
SUCH BEHAVIORS NOT ONLY APPLY TO A children’s playground, but also on Utah’s roads. With multiple roadway users, including motor vehicles, bicycles, motorcycles, and pedestrians everyone needs to share the road, take turns, and ultimately show respect for one another on the road. Respect is a two-way street-when you give respect, you get respect; and nowhere is that truer than on Utah’s roads.
The Utah Department of Public Safety in cooperation with the Utah Department of Transportation have partnered together to promote a program focused on car and bike safety. “Road Respect, Cars & Bikes Rules to Live By” is a grassroots campaign designed to raise awareness and improve interactions between bicyclists and drivers on Utah’s roads. The campaign originated in 2011 with media advertising, a bike tour, and community events referred to as “Road Respect Rallies”. Public response from these efforts was positive. People were paying attention to the campaign messages such as motorists giving cyclists three-feet when passing, and for cyclists to ride single file when impeding traffic. In fact, last year, a statewide survey showed that 43% of respondents were aware of the Road Respect program and of those respondents, 96% were aware of the Road Respect message. These results are pretty impressive for a first-year campaign and show that progress is being made in education and awareness of Road Respect.
The Utah Highway Patrol’s support was greatly appreciated during the course of the tour. Of the 30 experienced cyclists, seven were State Troopers. Additional support was received from state and local law enforcement on the roads as riders made their way from town to town.
TAKING IT TO THE STREETS
A bike tour took place June 4-9, 2012 traveling through more than 40 cities and towns with events in communities along the way; where a group of 30 experienced cyclists, representing law enforcement, public safety, transportation and bicycle advocacy groups pedaled over 520 miles in six days sharing the Road Respect message. These cyclists served as a moving billboard demonstrating how to follow the rules of the road. Communities hosting events embraced the Road Respect message where children participated in bicycle rodeos and bike safety clinics, adults enjoyed the classic car shows, and all participants learned the rules of the road and pledged to be safe, predictable and aware on the road. Support received from law enforcement, Mayors, local dignitaries, and community members contributed to the overall tour success.
Tour stops included Beaver, Cedar City, St. George, Panguitch, Richfield, Moab, Vernal, Roosevelt, Park City, Orem, Alpine, Draper, Salt Lake City, Bountiful, Uintah, Riverdale, Ogden, Brigham City, and Logan.
The Utah Highway Patrol’s support was greatly appreciated during the course of the tour. Of the 30 experienced cyclists, seven were State Troopers including Colonel Daniel Fuhr, Lieutenant Mike Loveland, Sergeant Shane Nordfelt, Sergeant Shane Kiesel, Troopers Eric Presott, Blaine Prescott, and Larry Mower. Additional support was received from state and local law enforcement on the roads as riders made their way from town to town.
This enthusiasm and cooperation reflects a new era for bicycling in Utah. Each year the League of American Bicyclists- the Country’s leading bicycle advocacy group, publishes ranking on bicycle friendliness for each state. These rankings are highly anticipated and scrutinized by bicyclists across the United States. In just one year, Utah rose from 31st in the rankings to 13th for bicycle friendliness. This is due to many factors including better reporting of bicycle infrastructure, efforts by our cities to include bicycles in their transportation plans and laws that promote safety. But the biggest factor was the launch of the Road Respect campaign, which is the first of its kind in the country. Its success demonstrates the value that many Utahns place on bicycling and bicycle safety.
Cyclists and motorists are not two distinct groups. Utahns, like most Americans, own a car and a bicycle and use both for transportation and recreation. All roadway users should know the rules of the road as they apply to both cyclists and drivers. Safety tips and rules of the road for both groups are listed below:
WHEN YOU RIDE
• Your bicycle is considered a vehicle and you have the same rights, rules and responsibilities riding as when you are driving.
• Ride like you would drive – communicate with other road users by being predictable. Always make eye contact and signal your intentions prior to turning right, turning left, changing lanes
or coming to a stop. Avoid swerving, riding against traffic or ignoring traffic signals and signs.
• Always wear a snug fitting helmet. Your helmet should sit level on your head and the chin straps should be tight when you open your mouth wide.
• Always use lights at night and wear bright clothing that increases your visibility to motorists.
• Ride as far to the right as practicable and as road conditions allow.
• Ride single file when impeding traffic.
WHEN YOU DRIVE
• Watch for bicycles, motorcycles and children in traffic. They are smaller and harder to see than cars or trucks.
• Don’t underestimate the speed of a bicyclist. Many cyclists can easily travel at 25-30 miles per hour. Do not pass a bicyclist on a narrow two-lane road when oncoming traffic is near.
• Give at least three feet of space when passing a bicyclist, or more if traveling on a high-speed road.
• Broken glass, potholes, debris, parked cars, garbage cans, and drain grates can be dangerous to cyclists. Recognize these situations and give cyclists enough room to maneuver around these trouble spots.
• Do not blast your horn when approaching a bicyclist – you could startle the rider and cause a crash.
FIRST KNOW, AND THEN SHARE THE MESSAGE
• When riding or driving, demonstrate proper respect by following the Rules of the Road. When you give respect, you get respect. And nowhere is that truer than on Utah’s roads, where drivers and cyclists meet in potentially life-threatening situations thousands of times a day.
Check out Road Respect on Facebook , Twitter, and at www.roadrespect.utah.gov to learn safety tips, access available resources for bicycle safety and to support the campaign.