Bill to let bikes run red lights goes down

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After protracted hearings and fights over several days, lawmakers put the brakes Thursday on a bill that would have let bicycles, mopeds and motorcycles run red lights legally in some instances.

The House Transportation Committee downed HB327 in a 6-5 vote. It came after attempts to amend the bill to find enough support to approve it after earlier votes had stalled it.

Rep. Johnny Anderson, R-Taylorsville, sponsor of the bill, said traffic lights often do not detect bicycles and motorcycles, leaving them stranded, especially in left-turn lanes. The bill would have allowed them to go through such lights if they waited for 90 seconds first and proceeded when traffic is clear.

"It provides a legal remedy to what seems like an impossible situation," he said. "It just seems like a common-sense solution" and allows cyclists to do legally what many are now forced to do illegally.

But the Utah Highway Patrol, Utah Department of Transportation and auto insurance companies all opposed the change, saying it would create confusion and make roads deadlier.

Rep. Todd Kiser, R-Sandy, who is a motorcyclist, led opposition to the bill. "We are encouraging an accident here," he said. "We are going to put someone in danger when we shouldn't be."