Ivins recognized as Road Respect Community

Mayor Hart taking leading a fun ride as a part of Road Respect, Ivins, Utah, May 29, 2014 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

IVINS – The fourth annual Road Respect Tour kicked off in Southern Utah Thursday with a 30-mile bicycle ride on the Veyo Loop followed by Ivins being designated a “Road Respect Community.”

Ivins Mayor Chris Hart with Road Respect plaque in hand, Ivins, St. George, Utah, May 29, 2014 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

“It’s actually pretty thrilling for me,” Ivins Mayor Chris Hart said. “We are very conscious of cycling interest in our area.”

The Road Respect tour is a joint effort between the Utah Department of Transportation, Utah Highway Patrol and Zero Fatalities to promote safe and positive interactions between cyclists and motorists. These organizations also work with cycling advocacy groups like Bike Utah and the Southern Utah Bicycle Alliance.

“We’re excited today that Ivins is becoming a Road Respect Community,” said Evelyn Tuddenham, of Road Respect, while presenting a plaque to Hart officially noting the city’s newly recognized status.

A Santa Clara-Ivins Police officer talking to young cyclists about safe riding, Ivins, St. George, Utah, May 29, 2014 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

What makes a Road Respect Community is not just having cyclist-friendly infrastructure – which Ivins has implemented over the years – but also passionate cycling advocates, Tuddenham said. Both Tuddenham and Hart credited John and Kai Reed for being cycling advocates whose influence has helped Ivins garner Road Respect recognition.

“When you move to a small community, one person can have an impact,” John Reed said.

After moving to Ivins from northern Utah in 2000, John Reed said he saw an opportunity to educate the city government regarding the needs of cyclists. The city was very receptive, he said, going so far as to implement cyclist-friendly infrastructure into the city’s general plan. City officials also jumped at the chance to earn a Road Respect designation when John Reed approached them about it.

Road Respect ambassadors, Ivins, St. George, Utah, May 29, 2014 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

“Myself and the City Council were very enthusiastic about it and determined to do what was necessary to earn that designation,” Hart said.

Their work has paid off.

Official recognition of the city’s efforts took place at the Ivins City Park at noon after cyclists and Road Respect ambassadors had completed the Veyo Loop, which is one of Southern Utah’s more popular cycling routes.

Phil Sarnoff, of Bike Utah, went on the Veyo Loop and said motorists the group encountered “were all very respectful.”

General reception of Road Respect in Ivins, and Southern Utah as a whole, has also been positive, he said.

Road rules featured at the Road Respect tour, Ivins, St. George, Utah, May 29, 2014 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

“The whole community seems to be pretty receptive of it,” Sarnoff said. “Cycling across the state is becoming so popular that communities are really starting to embrace the health benefits, the environmental benefits and economic benefits that come with having cyclists.”

There is a popular misconception that cyclists don’t pay taxes for the roads they use, Sarnoff said, but many cyclists own vehicles as well as bikes and pay for roads through their license and vehicle registration fees. Road maintenance funds come from the part of a city’s budget that is largely fueled by property and sales tax, he said.

A family bike festival was held at the Ivins City Park while the Road Respect ambassadors cycling group was on the Veyo Loop. The Santa Clara-Ivins Police Department and Safe Kids Washington County held a bike safety rodeo where children were taught how to ride safely, and 100 bicycle helmets were given away.

Hart also took a group of cyclists young and old on a three-mile fun ride around Ivins before returning to the park for the presentation of the Road Respect designation.

Horde of cyclists about safe riding, Ivins, St. George, Utah, May 29, 2014 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

During the presentation, Craig Shanklin, president of the Southern Utah Bicycle Alliance, reminded cyclists to “show respect” while on the road by following road rules.

“When you’re out there on the road, try and befriend the motorists and smile at them,” Shanklin said.

Wednesday night, a community forum took place at the Veterans Home where Hart and representatives of the Santa Clara-Ivins Police, Utah Highway Patrol and other groups gave presentations. The public was invited to discuss issues related to being a “bikeable” community.

Other Washington County locations previously visited by the Road Respect tour include Springdale and Hurricane. The event tour has also been hosted by St. George twice since its inception.

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Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

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