The Road Respect Tour is spreading the word about safety and helping to make Utah more bike friendly.
“Road Respect: Cars and Bikes Rules to Live By” is a grassroots campaign that aims to educate people who drive and people who ride bicycles about the rules of the road and also encourage mutual respect so that everyone gets home safely. According to the Utah Department of Public Safety’s Crash Summary, six bicyclists are killed and 850 are involved in crashes with motor vehicles in an average year in Utah.
UDOT, the Utah Department of Public Safety considers safety to be job one, and the Road Respect Tour is a joint effort to increase peoples’ understanding of safety issues. It’s the only tour if its kind in the United States and there is evidence that people in Utah and across the country are paying attention.
Last year, a statewide survey showed that 43% of respondents were aware of the Road Respect program. Of those respondents, 96% were aware of the Road Respect message.
Movin’ on up
The American League of Cyclists rates states according to friendliness to bicycles. In one year, Utah’s ranking moved from 31 to 13. Part of that ranking change is due to the Road Respect Tour, according to UDOT Deputy Director Carlos Braceras who spoke at the Road Respect kick-off on Sunday. Braceras pledged UDOT’s continuing support in making the state more bike friendly. “We’re not going to stop until we’re number one,” he said.
Scott Lyttle, executive director of Bike Utah, the state’s cycling advocacy organization also spoke at the kick-off. He named other efforts that have made Utah a more bicycle friendly state. Bike Utah actively supported the state’s three-foot passing law, the Share the Road program and the annual Bike Summit.
And while the Road Respect Tour is unique to Utah, it’s certainly not the first time cyclists have spearheaded an important transportation effort. The Good Roads movement that occurred in the United States between the 1870s to the 1920s was a initially was a push to improve roads for cyclists and later cars.
Horatio Earle, known as the Father of Good Roads, wrote in his autobiography: “I often hear now-a-days, the automobile instigated good roads; that the automobile is the parent of good roads. Well, the truth is, the bicycle is the father of the good roads movement in this country.”
Earle thought that by improving roads, industry and agriculture would benefit as well.
When you ride:
- Ride as far to the right as practicable and as road conditions allow.
- Ride single file when impeding traffic. This is especially important in congested conditions and on narrow, winding roads.
When you drive:
- Broken glass, potholes, debris, parked cars, garbage cans, and drain grates can be dangerous to cyclists. Recognize these situations and give cyclists enough room to maneuver around these trouble spots.
- Do not blast your horn when approaching a bicyclist – you could startle the rider and cause a crash.