Emily Havens, St. George Spectrum & Daily News Published 8:00 a.m. MT May 16, 2019 | Updated 11:58 a.m. MT May 16, 2019
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With National Bike to Work Week in full swing, St. George authorities are warning bicyclists and drivers to be extra careful on the road.
There are several roads and areas in particular that pose a higher level of danger, though. Officer Tiffany Atkin, a spokesperson for the St. George Police Department, said the most common type of accident between vehicles and cyclists in St. George is when drivers “side-swipe” cyclists.
“The cyclists just go down hard,” Atkin said. “Oftentimes the driver’s side mirrors will hit them.”
Atkin also said there can be a higher threat of danger on busy roads with high speeds, like Snow Canyon Parkway, where everyone is moving fast. Sometimes, drivers will need to pull out farther to see oncoming traffic, which Atkin said is “always a scary move.”
Drivers and cyclists should practice extra precaution on the following streets and intersections:
Sunset Boulevard and Bluff Street
One of the most dangerous places for cyclists is the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Bluff Street (a portion of State Route 18). Construction recently completed on the intersection was designed, in part, to alleviate vehicles and cycles having to interact with each other.
Atkin said maneuvering through the intersection was “crazy” because both drivers and cyclists traveled quickly in that area, and accidents were common.
Speed was a major factor, as was the proximity of neighboring businesses. The point of reconstructing the intersection last year was to help deal with traffic issues due to crowding.
Red Hills Parkway
According to Atkin, what makes Red Hills Parkway a dangerous road for cyclists is the limited amount of space bikers are given on the road’s shoulder.
Without a shoulder to move onto in an emergency, it poses an added amount of danger. Atkin said one of the most common accidents SGPD sees on this road on drivers hitting cyclists with their side mirrors.
Atkin said the law specifies drivers are required to keep a 3-foot distance between their vehicle and the cyclist when passing.
St. George Boulevard
As one of St. George’s busiest thoroughfares, Atkin said St. George Boulevard is a somewhat risky place to bike. Part of the issue is the number of vehicles pulling out of parking lots onto the boulevard without looking in each direction for cyclists and pedestrians.
Cyclists can be more at risk in these types of situations, especially if they are moving fast.
“If you’re driving, you look, and no one is there,” Atkin said. “But all of the sudden you move forward to go, and there they are.”
Similar to St. George Boulevard, Aktin said 700 South is another high-traffic area where cyclists can run into trouble.
What makes 700 South a bit unique compared to St. George Boulevard, however, is the addition of residential areas. Just as drivers are pulling off of 700 South and into a business parking lot, they are also pulling out of their homes and onto the busy road.
Cyclists should slow down on 700 South and be on alert for drivers who may have trouble seeing them or forget to look before they pull out onto the roadway.
Riverside Drive and River Road
Any road that connects with River Road is typically a bit more dangerous for cyclists, Atkin said, but accidents are most common where River Road intersects with Riverside Drive.
Individuals who ride their bicycles recreationally typically ride faster, and since they’re smaller and hard to see, it can be difficult to drivers in the busy intersection to see well.
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