Capital West news
SALT LAKE CITY — Cyclists in Utah may soon have less to worry about as a Senate committee endorsed a bill that would restrict police from pulling over vehicles with attached bicycle racks or attached devices that block a vehicle’s license plate.
H.B. 238, sponsored by Rep. Edward H. Redd, R-Logan, passed unanimously in the Health and Human Services Senate Committee Feb. 24. The bill would allow exemptions to include bicycle racks, trailer hitches, wheelchair carriers and luggage racks.
“People may intentionally block their license plates,” Redd said. “But there are more people who would suffer from being pulled over who don’t need to be for having something on their car. It’s a benefit to the community overall.”
Currently Utah law allows traffic enforcement to pull over vehicles if there is a blocked view of a rear license plate. This makes sense to residents and lawmakers alike as a license plate gives full identity to a vehicle used to assist in parking permits, toll booths and even locating stolen vehicles, Redd said.
But last summer, a constituent approached Redd after the man was pulled over because his bike rack blocked the view of his rear license plate. The constituent didn’t that was right and he convinced Redd to sponsor this bill.
Redd understands that some questions may arise as to whether the bill would allow drivers to get away with purposely obstructing their license plates to avoid parking regulations or other traffic. However, the bill does more good than harm, Redd said.
Redd said he was a bicycle enthusiast himself, but assured that it had no influence on his sponsoring of the bill. He said he “rides his bike wherever he goes” as opposed to attaching it to the back of his car.
The bill went on to pass without any opposition or questions from the committee.