Safety Campaign Begins in Cottonwood Canyons

Safety Campaign Begins in Cottonwood Canyons

Save Story

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

Nishi Gupta ReportingThe death of a young cyclist last September in Big Cottonwood Canyon still serves as a reminder for bike and car safety. And starting today, you can see evidence of a new safety campaign when you drive up the Cottonwood Canyons.

If you are heading up the canyons you may notice new signs. They are here because of 25 year old Josie Johnson, her death became a catalyst for change

Chad Ambrose, Cyclists' Advocate: “The day that she died it became very obvious that signs need to be placed in the canyon.”

Josie Johnson was biking up Big Cottonwood Canyon when a driver hit her from behind -- she died of head injuries. With her passing came a strong push for bike safety.

The local cycling community first took its message to the state. The legislature passed a law cars need to keep a three-foot distance when passing cyclists. Then the group began talking with UDOT.

UDOT was receptive and paid for 12 'share the road' signs-- six in Big Cottonwood Canyon and six in Little Cottonwood Canyon.

Carlos Braceras, Utah Dept. of Transportation: “The canyons are a focus because they’re so narrow. They start to see so much traffic this time of year. So that’s where we’re going to focus right away.”

Traffic is a concern up little cottonwood as well. In fact, right up this road is the snowboard ski resort. It plans on staying open until the end of the month, which means more cars on the road. UDOT says more than 300 people died on Utah roads last year, six of them were cyclists.

Carlos Braceras: “That’s unacceptable. We’re doing whatever we can to drive that number down to zero.”

With the weather warming up, the Salt Lake County Sheriff's office says it expects more people in the canyons. Because of this, drivers need to be especially careful.

Lt. Jon Fassett, Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office: “The hikers are out, they’re on the roads, people are parking along the side of the roads, taking advantage of the picnic grounds, and the bikers are out.”

Josie Johnson's family told us by phone, today is a special day. Also, UDOT received a fifty-thousand dollar grant from the federal government. Some of the money will be used to produce a bike safety video for high school driver ed classes.

Most recent Utah stories

Related topics



Get informative articles and interesting stories delivered to your inbox weekly. Subscribe to the Trending 5.
By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

KSL Weather Forecast