New bicycle lanes to be added in downtown St. George

ST. GEORGE – New dedicated bicycles lanes will be marked for use in the coming weeks in downtown St. George.

In a work session of the St. George City Council, Cameron Cutter, transportation service manager, and Monty Thurber, associate traffic engineer, detailed where new bicycle lanes would be created, as well as discussed where future lanes could be implemented.

Within the coming weeks, Cutler said, the following streets would be striped for bicycle lanes:

  • Diagonal Street from Main Street to Bluff Street
  • 300 West from Diagonal Street to 300 South
  •  300 South from 300 West to 600 East

Preexisting bicycle lanes exist at Lava Flow Drive, Tuweap Drive, Tonaquint Drive, the Bloomington Drive loop, and parts of SunRiver.

Areas in green mark where preexisting bicycle routes exist in the downtown area. Bicycle lanes will be marked on Diagonal, 300 West, and 300 South. | Graphic courtesy of the City of St. George

Bike lanes versus bike routes

An extensive network on bicycle routes currently exists in St. George, but Thurber explained cyclists on the route still had to share the road with motorists. The routes are also not as extensively marked as bicycle lanes.

“I’d rather have a separate bike lane,” said Gil Almquist, city council member.

Unlike the routes, the bicycle lanes are clearly marked with stripes, Thurber said.

Cutler added the bike lanes may also be a different color from the road in order to help motorists and cyclists differentiate where the lane was and where it wasn’t.

Sgt. Craig Harding, traffic unit supervisor for the St. George Police Department, said the rules regarding bicycle lanes were “pretty straightforward.”

  • Vehicles cannot travel in the bicycle lane.
  • Cyclists cannot travel outside of the bicycle lane.
  • Motorists must give cyclists three feet of space (where possible).
  • Cyclists must travel on the right-hand edge of the bicycle lane.

Traffic laws regarding bicycles can be found under the Utah Traffic Code.

Future prospects

Thurber said the implementation of additional bicycle lanes would be done in a “piece meal” manner as funding becomes available.

Bicycle lanes have been proposed for the following streets:

  •  600 East from 300 South to 600 South.
  • 600 South from 600 East to 800 East.
  • 900 East from 700 South to 900 South.
  •  900 South from 900 East to 1100 East.
  • 2450 East from Red Cliffs Drive to Riverside Drive.

Aside from painting stripes for the lanes, Cutler said it would be necessary to widen the shoulder on certain roads by three-to-five feet. On roads that couldn’t be widened, he said parking along one side of the street may have to be sacrificed in order to make allowance for the bicycle lane.

Related Links

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com
Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright 2012 St. George News.

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13 Comments

  • Murat July 13, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    As a cyclist it is my right to travel on the main roadway I will disregard these bicycle lanes. They are reminiscent of “free speech zones.”

    • BobBentBike July 14, 2012 at 7:44 am

      Good for you, Murat. Don’t let local constables enforce made up laws on you.

  • BobBentBike July 14, 2012 at 7:43 am

    Sgt Harding is making up laws. Three of his four “laws” are not in the Utah Code, which is THE authority on bicycle laws in Utah.

  • BobBentBike July 14, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    I’ve heard the “cars stay out; bikes stay in” myth for bike lanes but the “ride in the right edge of the bikelane” hogwash is completely novel. sgt Harding should trademark it so no one else can use it. Thanks for giving us the link to Chapter 6a, Mori. But why didn’t you used it to check the uninformed Sargeant’s statements?

  • -Mike- July 14, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    Maybe you two should actually read the code before you make yourselves look stupid… Specifically section 41-6a-1105. Three of the four laws ARE in there, and the remaining one is a given, being “cars can’t drive in the bike lane.” As a rider, myself, I’ll take the bike lane when I can. Remember, Bob, like you said, the state code is THE authority. Good work.

  • Sharing the Road July 14, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    Well the Sgt got only 1 of 4 right:….. (I can understand in the field how they get all the laws confused, but he should have brushed up on this news event)

    Vehicles cannot travel in the bicycle lane. –(wrong, it is a travel lane, Utah law does not specify this – Thank you Rep. Moss! for sabotaging the bill to fix this last year)

    Cyclists cannot travel outside of the bicycle lane.– (WRONG)

    Motorists must give cyclists three feet of space–. (Yep, sort of, but I’ll bet he doesn’t see 3′ necessary if they are in a separate lane, Utah law doesn’t differentiate that it is 3′ regardless of lane of travel)

    Cyclists must travel on the right-hand edge of the bicycle lane.– (absolute wrong, only as far right as practicable, which may meal leaving the lane for parked cars, other cyclists, double parked, debris etc.)

  • Tardo July 14, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    Dropouts like Murat will state the argument that cyclists can and will use the main roads as much as they want. Tell that to the insurance companies who get dropped on damage and hospital bills from an accident where who the hell knows where or what the cyclist was thinking. I have a relative who was an investigator for an insurance company that was checking into a car vs. cyclist accident here in St. George, and he said all the witnesses were about as helpful in the details as blind mutes.
    .
    When their reckless abandon gets someone or themselves hurt, or heaven forbid causes in accident that would be their fault, they will assume the victim and the city will have to side with them. Clearing up ‘rules’ like this may just be smoke and mirrors as accidents that happen between car and bike will be hard to distinguish, from a bystanders or witnesses viewpoint, who may actually be at fault.

  • Mike H July 15, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    All of these comments serve to show why motorists often have animosity towards cyclists. I just don’t get what happened to common courtesy. Cyclists come off as arrogant and belligerent where road rules or safety are concerned. An example of this attitude was Friday morning at around 8am I had the joy of watching 4 cyclists on Snow Canyon Parkway fill the outside lane. They were not riding in single file and 3 of them were riding abreast. People had to go into the other travel lane as none of them would give quarter, specifically the fellow riding on the inside. He acted as if we were all inconveniencing him whilst we made our morning commute. There was no reason they had to ride like that other than arrogance.
    I’m not really sure if some of the comments on here are facetious or not. I rather hope they are though. Otherwise they serve as just more reminders of the arrogance and attitudes of entitlement that are so prevalent in this area.

  • BigBill July 15, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    When I wear a white shirt, tie and a backpack, everyone just waves and is very courteous on the roads. Would it be cheaper to hand out missionary riding outfits?

  • Steve July 16, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    I’m glad to see St George making the effort to add more Bike Lanes and multi-use trails. For an outdoor community, I have felt for some time that more Bike lanes, routes and multi-use trails are needed in the community. Maybe one day all the little pieces of existing trails will be connected.

    For the most part motorist are courteous and have given me plenty of room while riding or running. However, there is a strong correlation between cell phone use and rude drivers that won’t give cyclist or runners a clear separation. For these people the road never seems to be wide enough.

  • BobBentBike July 16, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    Mike, I can’t figure out what you see in 41-6a-1105 that I don’t see.

    1105 is our “keep to right law”. It requires us to “ride as near as practicable to the right hand edge of the roadway” under certain conditions and with numerous exceptions. An essential exception is (d)(vii) – the exception for narrow lanes. If a marked lane is wide enough for a cyclist and motorist to safely share during an overtaking maneuver then there really isn’t a problem for anybody. Fortunately, the “City of Zion” design developed by that urban planner Joseph Smith, gives us Utahns lots of those nice wide lanes for safe overtaking of slower cyclists by faster motorists. The fact that the city of St. George (and others) have drawn a paint stripe down those already wide lanes does not give anybody any more space.

    The narrow lane exception also clearly applies to anything we might call (but the code doesn’t define as) a bike lane. So there is no legal requirement to ride to the right edge within a bike lane. In contrast, there are several good reasons to be allowed to choose to ride in the left part of the bike lane: The most important reason is to stay out of the door zone of parked cars. Another practical reason is that the pavement is often cleaner and in better repair away from the right edge. I will stand by my claim that the good Sergeant is wrong about keeping to the right edge within a bike lane; his advice is not supported by the Code.

    As for bicyclists not being able to ride outside of a bike lane, the exceptions for keeping right in a general travel lane, as described in 1105, make it clear that cyclists need to use other lane positions to turn left, and to avoid right turn pockets, when their destination requires it. Additionally, objects, hazards and other temporary conditions are cause to allow cyclists to take a different lane position. There’s not much reason for the operator of a slower vehicle (bicycle) to move left other than those already allowed by the numerous exceptions and conditions.

    Section (2) of 1105 does make an ambiguous reference to “parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles” when discussing riding more than two abreast. That’s not the place a motorist would look for any prohibition on driving in a bike lane. And it is just as well. Vehicle operators are elsewhere (41-6a-801(1)) required to make right turns “as close as practical to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway” The right turn rule does not tell motorists to turn right from the second lane when the right lane happens to be a “bike lane”.

    I would rather have a motorist safely merge into a bike lane before turning into a street, alley or driveway than stay left and create a right-hook situation because they are uncertain if I may try to pass on the right (which I won’t). And I would encourage (as most bicycle safety programs do) cyclists to avoid passing on the right side of a motorist signalling or positioning for a right turn. I still stick by my position that the law does not declare all bike lanes to be for the “exclusive use of bicyclists” even though it admits that such an unspecified structure might exist, and even though you have made the singular pronouncement that it is somehow “a given.”

    What remains is the 3-foot rules. If you look at 706.5 you will see a simple rule, loaded with weasel words for the motorist, not to mention convoluted grammar. The sergeant was right about the intent of the law, motorists should give cyclists 3 feet of clearance and they usually do except when given courage by a white line separating them from the cyclist. The law doesn’t make that exception, but human behavior does. A stripe may make a bicyclist feel more comfortable, but it makes the motorist more comfortable, too. Closer passes result.

    I stick by my claim, and justify it with a reading of the words of the Code, that the Sergeant’s score is 1 right, 3 wrong.

  • BobBentBike July 16, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    As to the issue of courtesy, I ride my bike following the rules that are really in the Code and believe that following the rules is a courtesy to motorists.

    By doing so, I am predictable. Motorists can plan a course of action to accommodate my predictable behavior while we both get where we want to go. Also, by following the rules I am visible. I do not “hide” from traffic only to “come out of nowhere” when my need to get where I’m going precludes hiding. Of course, following the rules means not only expecting to be treated as a vehicle operator with equal rights, but with equal responsibilities. That means I do stop at stop signs and wait at stop lights. I signal and negotiate smooth lane changes in advance of turns so that I am not abruptly crossing traffic at the last moment. I ride where I can be seen by merging and crossing traffic, not hidden between parked cars. I do not ride where motorists are not expecting conflict. I avoid riding on the wrong side of the road or riding on sidewalks that cross intersections or driveways.

    With that level of courtesy and adherence to the law, I have had no chronic problems over the past 40 years with my fellow Utah vehicle operators who happen to be operating motorized vehicles. No one hollers or throws things. No one blares their horn. No one comes threateningly close. No one takes any clueless or misjudged action that I am unable to accommodate. I figure I have been successfully overtaken well over a quarter million times by motorists who are either above or below average drivers. None have hit me; none have come dangerously close; none have made emergency avoidance maneuvers (nor have I).

    The only place I find hostile motorists is on newspaper discussion sites and in the fantastic stories told by other bike riders (who I suppose do not ride visibly and predictably in accord with the law).

    Is every last motorist perfectly safe? Obviously not, but enough are that I have concluded (successfully so far) that my law-abiding strategy is optimal for my travel needs.

    Safe riding!

  • Jessica July 18, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    Haha, ya…. let’s all get bent out of shape at people who are trying to keep us safe! I’m sure that will fix everything!

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