The bill's sponsor, Rep. Johnny Anderson, R-Taylorsville, explained that some traffic signals cannot detect cyclists waiting to turn left because they are too small. That leaves them sitting indefinitely with no legal option because shifting out of the lane or dismounting to push pedestrian signals are also technically illegal.
Motorcyclist Jay Brummett said he recently sat for 10 minutes at a light at a T-intersection that did not detect him, mostly because he saw a police officer sitting in an adjacent parking lot. "I finally turned through the intersection, and he pulled me over."
Anderson said cyclists need some legal alternative and the alternative in his bill is the safest.
But insurance companies and law enforcement said it would create confusion with different rules for different types of vehicles. Harold Petersen, an attorney for insurance companies said, "People are going to get hurt and people are going to get killed."
As Utah Highway Patrol Capt. Barton Blair opposed the bill, the committee asked what he would do as a motorcyclist at such intersections. He said he would turn through them too, and then argue it is a non-functioning light which is allowed by current law. He said the bill would not improve the situation, and could lead to more running red lights illegally.
Sen. Margaret Dayton, R-Orem, said some legal alternative is needed and suggested the one-year test. Anderson said 14 states have similar laws, and none have moved to repeal them.