Bicycle Safety and Sharing the Road

Ron Kramer is an attorney who along with handling accident and injury cases, is a cyclist himself and knows first hand that it can be dangerous out there. He has had a couple of close calls with cars and has lived to tell us about it.

One of the best things bicyclists can do to be seen on roadways is to wear bright, reflective clothing. Many biking jerseys are already quite bright and stand out. When its colder, wear the green reflective jackets for better visibility. If it’s dark, make sure your bike has lights and reflectors. Driving in the dark will never be as safe as driving when it is light.

I also recommend that cyclists practice defensive driving. When making turns, make eye contact with motorists. If you see a motorist about to turn into you or pull out, yell: stop! Waive your arm if you can.
Anticipate that drivers will at times not see you, so you need to drive defensively!

Also, use hand signals to turn right and left and to stop.

Bicyclists are required to obey traffic signals just as a driver of a car is.

There are drivers out there who don’t feel that bicycles and cars can co-exist peacefully on our roads. In my riding experience I have had drivers honk their horn or yell out the window to startle me. I have had drivers of diesel trucks accelerate hard while passing me, blowing lots of black smoke my way. I’ve had cars tailgate me as I am dropping down out of the canyon. And I have had cars pass within a foot of where I am.

Utah law says that a motorist cannot knowingly drive closer than 3 feet to a cyclist.

On the other hand, bicyclists have a responsibility to ride safely, too. They have to do what they can to make it easier for drivers. Utah law actually prohibits cyclists from riding two or more abreast unless they are passing. I know of cyclists who have gotten tickets for this. It’s also not safe and definitely makes it harder for motorists to pass.

I actually represent cyclists who have been injured by drivers who were being reckless around cyclists or who were intentionally hit or grazed by a car. In these cases, the motorist could be charged with criminal assault if they were reckless or intended to cause the cyclist harm. Anytime you have a two ton vehicle face up against a 20 pound bike, the cyclist will lose every time. So, both bicyclists and motorists definitely need to watch out for each other and be safe on the roads.

Ron Kramer is an accident and injury attorney at the Kramer Law Group with offices in Draper, Provo, Bountiful and St. George. You can reach him at his Salt Lake County office by calling (801) 553-8840. You can find him on the web at , where you can order
— for FREE — the Utah Accident Book, a 90+ page resource that will help you avoid the mistakes that many make after an auto accident.

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