As the weather continues to get warmer, cycling is becoming a more popular mode of transportation. While cyclists are awarded many of the same road privileges as motorists, it is important to understand that there are cycling restrictions on some Utah State Highways. Many people ask where cycling is and is not allowed in Utah. Below is a guide to staying safe and riding legally:
Basic Cycling Information
When cycling on any road, it is important to remain alert and aware of your surroundings. Only experienced cyclers, confident in their ability to ride, should use state highways. There are no state laws in Utah that require adult bicyclists to wear a helmet. Even though helmets are not required, they protect cyclists and save lives. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, helmet use reduces head injury by an estimated 85 percent. Always wear the proper safety gear and only ride on roads you are comfortable navigating.
As provided by the Utah Department of Transportation, there is published information for Utah cyclists to understand and follow. This information also includes points about railroad crossings, hazardous cycling conditions, and large traffic volumes.
The most basic cycling information taken from the UDOT “Information for Bicyclists” page includes:
1. Bicyclists must follow Utah motorized vehicle traffic laws when using public roadways.
2. Bicyclists must ride on the right side of the roadway, with the flow of traffic, no more than two abreast, and two abreast only if adequate travel lane/shoulder width is available.
3. Bicycles are permitted on most state roads with the exception of portions of the interstate highway system, where alternate routes are available and where roads are closed to non-motorized travel (such as Bangerter Highway in the Salt Lake Valley).
Where Cycling Is Not Allowed
As outlined in the above information, there are certain stretches of highway that do not allow cyclists. In addition to the previously-mentioned Bangerter Highway, there are areas of state highways in many counties in Utah that prohibit cycling.
For a complete list and detailed illustrations of legal cycling areas, visit the Utah Bicycle Suitability Map. On this map, restricted cycling routes are marked by a red star.
According to this map, the largest stretch of highway that prohibits cycling occurs on I-15. Cycling is restricted on I-15 from exit No. 222, in Nephi, to US-91, exit No. 362, in Brigham City.
Understanding Your Rights
It is important to be aware of cycling rules and to adhere to any cycling restrictions on state highways. If you are following the law and exercising cycling caution, however, remember that no one can take away your right to ride. On the specific roads where cycling is allowed, motorists must share the road.
For more information on cycling on highways, visit the Utah Bicycle Commuter Guide and the Utah Department of Transportation’s Bike Maps Page.