The Park Record editorial, June 1-3, 2011 | ParkRecord.com

The Park Record editorial, June 1-3, 2011

Mutual respect should be the number one rule of the road

There have already been reports of bicycle/car conflicts. On Facebook last month a local resident reported being shot with an Airsoft gun by a man in a passing pickup truck. The impact could have thrown him off his bike or into oncoming traffic, but the cyclist was lucky — this time.

So next Monday’s Share the Road Event, hosted by ColeSport, is coming not a moment to soon. The 17-mile noncompetitive ride, which commemorates a member of the Park City cycling community who was fatally injured when he was hit by a car in 2006, is meant to remind both drivers and riders that their safety depends on mutual respect and awareness.

As soon as the weather warms up (soon, we hope), Summit County’s roadways will fill up with mountain-bound RVs, cars, horse trailers, motorcycles and bicycles. The result isn’t always pretty. Add a slew of road construction projects and tempers are bound to flare.

It is therefore important to review the rules of the road as they pertain to motorized and nonmotorized vehicles.

According to Utah Code, once a cyclist enters a roadway, he or she must abide by all of the same traffic laws that apply to drivers. That includes stopping at red lights and stop signs, signaling, yielding to pedestrians and using head and taillights from dusk to dawn.

Riders are also limited by law to riding no more than two abreast and are required to stay as far to the right as possible or in designated bike lanes, unless using a left turn lane.

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For their part, drivers are supposed to leave a three-foot margin when passing cyclists and are expected to maintain a proper lookout for both pedestrians and cyclists.

Thanks to its beautiful mountains, lakes and fresh air, Summit County’s summer season is becoming a bigger draw every year. That is putting more pressure on its scenic byways and inevitably brings cyclists and vehicles into closer contact. The Summit County Council is hoping to alleviate some of the potential for conflicts by widening the shoulders along State Road 32 near Kamas and is hoping to install more trails in the Basin and bike lanes where possible. But those won’t be completed in one year. Park City, too, has been adding bike lanes and off-road trails. So, in order to ensure everyone arrives at their respective destinations safely and calmly, let’s all make an extra effort to "share the road" this summer.