Every bicyclist in Utah should become familiar with the state laws that apply to bicycle riding. Following these laws will not only help you avoid getting tickets, but can also make your rides more safe.
This is a brief guide to some of the most important bicycle laws in Utah:
1. Obey traffic lights and signs just as you would if you were driving a car.
Utah law considers a bicycle to be a vehicle, and bicycle riders are subject to the same traffic rules that apply to cars, trucks, or any other vehicles on the road. That means stopping at red lights and at stop signs, yielding at yield signs, and following the usual rules for all other official traffic signs or signals.
2. Go with the flow.
Always ride your bicycle in the same direction as traffic, never against it.
3. Passing on the right.
You are allowed to pass other vehicles on the right if you ride off the roadway while passing.
4. When riding with other bicyclists, don’t have more than two bicyclists riding side-by-side.
Two bicyclists are allowed to ride side-by-side, but only if that doesn’t get in the way of traffic. Three or more bicyclists are never permitted to ride side-by-side.
5. You have two ways to make left turns.
You may use a left-turn lane to make your left turn, in the same way that a car or other motor vehicle would use the turn lane. You may also do the following: Starting from the right side of the road, drive straight across the intersection, and then stop at the corner. Wait until it is safe to cross the intersection to your left, then cross it, still keeping to the right side of the road.
6. Don’t forget to signal.
You must use hand signals when you turn, change lanes, or stop. You must signal at least two seconds before you do any of those actions. However, you don’t have to signal continuously if you need your hand to safely control your bike. Also, if you are stopped in a turn lane, you don’t need to signal again when you make the turn.
7. Know your hand signals.
For a left turn, hold your left arm and hand out horizontally. For a right turn, hold your right arm and hand out horizontally or your left arm and hand extended up. For a stop, extend your left hand and arm down. To signal that you are slowing down, use the same signal you use to indicate a stop.
8. Specific equipment is required for riding at night.
If you are riding any time between a half hour after sunset and a half hour before sunrise, you are legally required to have the following on your bike — a white headlight, a red taillight or a reflector, and side reflectors. The same requirements apply any time you are riding when it is difficult to see other vehicles that are 1000 feet away. All the required lights and reflectors must be visible for at least 500 feet.
9. Make sure your brakes meet the legal standard.
Your brakes have to be capable of stopping your bike within 25 feet when you are riding 10 mph on clean, dry, level pavement.
10. Always yield to pedestrians.
In addition to always yielding to pedestrians, you should always be careful and ride at a safe speed to avoid potential collisions with pedestrians. When you overtake pedestrians, you must give an audible signal.
11. Your bike is not a clown car — don’t pile people on.
Never carry more adults on your bike than the bike was designed to carry. You may, however, carry a child with you while you ride if the child is securely attached in a sling or a backpack.
12. Keep your hands free.
Don’t carry anything that would prevent you from using both hands to properly control your bicycle. In addition, you must always keep at least one hand on the handlebars.
13. With some exceptions, you should stay on the right side of the road.
You should generally ride as far to the right as you can, except when passing, preparing to turn left, going straight when there is a right-turn lane, riding when conditions on the right side of the road are unsafe, or riding in a lane too narrow to share side-by-side with other vehicles.
14. Bells are okay, but sirens are not.
It’s against the law to have either a siren or a whistle on your bicycle.