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Gov. Cox promotes bike safety after record number of accidents in 2022

Bikers ride in Lambs Canyon on Oct. 11, 2022. Gov. Spencer Cox released a public service announcement Friday asking Utahns to be more committed to bike safety after 2022 saw a record number of bicycle-related traffic accidents.

Bikers ride in Lambs Canyon on Oct. 11, 2022. Gov. Spencer Cox released a public service announcement Friday asking Utahns to be more committed to bike safety after 2022 saw a record number of bicycle-related traffic accidents. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)


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SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Spencer Cox released a public service announcement on Friday encouraging Utahns to be more aware of bikers on the road after 2022 saw a record-number of bike accidents.

"Whether on a bike or in a car, it is critical that you follow traffic laws because roads are for bikes and cars," Cox said in the video.

Cox encouraged Utahns to not drive distracted or impaired, to be aware of bike lanes and those traveling by bike, to slow down at crosswalks and check for bicyclists before turning, and to give 3 feet of passing space for bikers.

"Building and maintaining trails and communities around the state to provide dedicated active transportation routes for cyclists is one way that state leaders are working together to improve bike safety," Cox said. "But bike safety requires more than dedicated trails. It requires intentional efforts by all of us to ensure roadways are safe for everyone."

Bicycle-related traffic deaths rose from six in 2021 to 15 in 2022. The state has averaged 5.75 bicycle deaths per year over the previous four years, prior to the 15 in 2022.

The announcement was posted on social media by Bike Utah, a nonprofit dedicated to making Utah a safer place for biking and other active transportation.

"Gov. Cox is a great partner in advocacy and safety for all cyclists," said Bike Utah Executive Director Jenn Oxborrow. "The public service announcement is one example of his resolve to make Utah a better place for everyone to ride. We greatly appreciate his bike safety message and we look forward to continued collaborative efforts to build and improve safe systems statewide."

UDOT director Carlos Braceras pledged in May 2022 that the agency would begin new initiatives and provide funding to improve street safety along the Wasatch Front after six people, including four children, were killed within two weeks of each other in separate pedestrian and bicycle-related crashes. Several were caused by suspected impaired or speeding drivers.

UDOT agency officials believe Cox's proposed statewide trails network has the potential to provide "a safe and sustainable transportation option" for pedestrians and bicyclists as the system is pieced together. The governor's proposed 2024 fiscal year budget calls for $100 million to be set aside to get the project rolling though, it's up to the Utah Legislature to allocate the money.

Cox said to wear a helmet and use lights when riding a bike in order to reduce head injuries and to make yourself more visible to other road users.

Contributing: Carter Williams

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Cassidy Wixom covers Utah County communities and is the evening breaking news reporter for KSL.com.

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