Failure to Obey a Crossing Guard – Respect the Vest

During the morning or afternoon commute, always pay attention to the people in orange at crosswalks as failure to obey a crossing guard can actually result in a ticket.

Back to school

Photo by: Melissa Doroquez

Photo by: Melissa Doroquez

School is back in session throughout most of the state and with that comes the neighborhood crossing guard who may occasionally let the authority of their job go to their heads. Most crossing guards use common sense and don’t walk out abruptly into traffic or guide children across busy intersections unless the walk sign is illuminated. Others however, seem to choose the most inopportune times to stop traffic and there is nothing anyone can do about it.

That’s Mr. Crossing guard to you

Crossing guards are more than power hungry people with a stop sign and orange vest. They are hired by the state of Utah to protect and guide the children going to and from school and as thus are given jurisdiction over the assigned crosswalk zones. Failure to obey a crossing guard, no matter how ill-timed their decisions to stop traffic are, can result in a $75 ticket. Utah Code 41-6a-209 states “a person may not willfully fail or willfully refuse to comply with any lawful order or direction of a: peace officer, firefighter, flagger ( . . . ) or uniformed adult school crossing guard invested by law with authority to direct, control, or regulate traffic.”

Respect the vest

Crossing Guard

Photo by: David D

It can be embarrassing when a crossing guard stops and scolds a driver for disobeying their order to stop, but the best thing the driver can do in that instance is respect the vest and apologize profusely, hoping to be forgiven so a ticket will not follow.

Rules for Watching TV in the Car

Watching TV in the car is easier than ever with the use of portable devices or built-in DVD players, yet there are rules regarding who is allowed to be entertained by a movie while driving.

Progression of watching TV in the car

Watching TV in the Car

Photo by: rick

Before DVD players became the standard for all family type vehicles, parents had to endure hours on the road with grumpy kids who were tired of playing the license plate game. Some families as early as the 1980’s discovered they could strap a small TV and VCR inside the car and plug it into the cigarette lighter with a power converter. In the late 1990’s the first portable DVD player was invented, allowing parents an easier and lighter way to bring movies on the road with them. Nowadays with built-in DVD players and smartphones capable of playing full length movies, every passenger in the vehicle is able to watch the show of their choice during boring road trips.

Passengers only

Watching TV in the car is not allowed for everyone however. Obviously for safety reasons, the driver is not allowed this same luxury. Not only are drivers prohibited from watching TV in the car, they aren’t even allowed to be able to see the screen that someone else is watching. Utah Code 41-6a-1641 states: “A motor vehicle may not be operated on a highway if the motor vehicle is equipped with a video display located so that the display is visible to the operator of the vehicle.” The only exceptions to this rule are for law enforcement, navigation purposes, or for viewing vehicle systems such as rear facing cameras.

Out of driver’s view

Some DVD players are attached to the vehicle’s audio system making them easily viewable to everyone in the car. Additionally, DVD players located in the back seat may be seen by the driver if a mirror to watch rear facing children is installed, making the screen viewable in the mirror. Regardless of where the screen is located, drivers who are caught watching TV in the car or having a screen in view may end up with a $40 ticket.

Utah Bicycle Laws

Some rules regarding Utah bicycle laws may be no-brainers while other rules or the lack of may surprise the average rider.

Common sense laws

Utah Bicycle Laws

Photo by: Andrew Smith

There are some Utah bicycle laws that would be easy to avoid breaking as long as a person has just a small sliver of common sense. These no-brainer laws include:

• Utah Code section 41-6a-1106(3) which prohibits a person on a bicycle from being careless and crashing into a pedestrian, another bicyclist, or vehicle. In other words, don’t run into people.

• Section 41-6a-1101- “The parent of guardian of a child may not authorize or knowingly permit the child to violate [Utah bicycle laws]”. That is to say, parents are not above the law.

• Section 41-6a-1104 states that anyone on a non-motorized vehicle such as a bike, moped, skateboard, sled, etc. should never attach their ride to a vehicle on a highway. A person’s fear of dying a horrible, painful death should prevent them from ever trying to break this law.

• Section 41-6a-113(2) – Every bicycle must have brakes. Although unknown to many as a law of the state, most riders are more than likely hopeful that they would be able to stop their bicycle effectively when needed.

• Although this should be common sense in regards to safety, some riders may not be aware that according to section 41-6a-1114 having reflectors and a headlight at night is a law. Make sure you can see where you’re going and that vehicles can see you.

Surprising Utah bicycle laws

Photo by: David B. Gleason

Photo by: David B. Gleason

While the above laws should be obvious for each bicyclist, there are numerous other Utah bicycle laws that the majority of bike owners are probably unaware of, such as:

• Utah Code section 41-6a-112(2) which says “A person operating a bicycle or moped shall keep at least one hand on the handlebars at all times.” A smooth looking trick that is learned and perfected in grade school, riding a bike with no hands is technically illegal.

• Section 41-6a-112(1) prohibits a bicyclist from carrying a “package, bundle, or article which prevents the use of both hands in the control and operation of the bicycle” Fortunately they make those little bicycle baskets for transporting things via two wheels with ease.

• Another section limiting what can be carried on a bike, 41-6a-1103(1) states “a bicycle or moped may not be used to carry more persons at one time than the number for which it is designed or equipped for.” No more letting your buddy ride on your bike pegs.

Photo by: Paul Sableman

Photo by: Paul Sableman

• Although riding on pegs is not permitted, section 41-6a-1103(2) allows adults to carry a child in a backpack or sling, like that is any safer.

• The 4th Amendment protects citizens from undue searches, but what about random bike inspections? According to section 41-6a-1110 of the Utah Code, “at any time” an officer feels necessary, they may stop a bicyclist and inspect a bike to make sure it is safe and legal.

• 41-6a-1102 – One bonus law in favor of bicyclists: Riders on non-motorized devices such as bicycles will not face the same penalties as those who drive vehicles under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Cheers to no DUI charge for riding a bicycle drunk! (Public intoxication charges are another story however.)

A needed law

Photo by: Stanley

Photo by: Stanley

While Utah is not lacking on its abundance of bicycle laws, there is one area that many residents feel should be regulated, but isn’t. Currently only 22 states in the nation have statewide laws requiring either all persons or minors under a certain age to wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. Other states have cities within those states with local ordinances requiring helmets for some riders within their city limits. Neither Utah as a whole nor any city in the beehive state has a law requiring helmets. Even young rider and those being carried in a backpack or sling by an adult rider are not required to have something protecting their head in case of a fall. Someday hopefully this law will be added to the list of common sense bicycle laws.

Bicycle rider’s handbook

As with driving a motor vehicle, riding a bicycle comes with a variety of different laws. Perhaps a handbook should be supplied upon the purchase of any two-wheeled non-motorized vehicle. Until then, bicyclist as encouraged to become familiar with all Utah bicycle laws.