Last Friday, after a long and tangential debate, Representative Johnny Anderson’s (Republican – Taylorsville) HB160 – Drive-Through Service Usage Amendments was approved by the House Political Subdivision Committee.
HB160 bans cities and counties from requiring drive through service for bikes and pedestrians, as well as bans cities and counties to require lobby hours to match drive through hours. Anderson, a self-proclaimed biker and regular pedestrian, said in the hearing that the bill made him feel conflicted but felt it was necessary.
Melva Sine, the Executive Director of the Utah Restaurant Association, spoke in favor of the bill stating that changes to who can access drive-throughs imposed unnecessary risks for businesses. Sine noted that the issue arose with Salt Lake City’s decision to pass an ordinance requiring drive-through service for bikes and pedestrians in the city. Sine stated that while her group did meet with the city, it was clear they planned on passing the ordinance regardless of their input.
Representative Curt Webb (Republican – Logan), Chairman of the House Political Subdivision Committee, opened up for public input. First to speak against the bill with Phil Sarnoff of Bike SLC. Sarnoff claimed the bill is not “solid, [or] data driven” and there is a lack of information to back the claims made regarding the safety for bicyclists, liability for companies, and security for employees.
“This tramples on the right of municipalities to self-determination,” says Sarnoff. Sarnoff continues that the bill runs contrary to the efforts to fight smog on the Wasatch Front and prevents those who ride bikes out of necessity to participate economically.
City Councilman Luke Garrott, sponsor of the Salt Lake City ordinance, also spoke against the bill, calling the ordinance a product of compromise. “I’m kind of disappointed how our talks were represented.” Garrot explained that Salt Lake’s complete street program and the gradual development of the ordinance was designed to improve the city and make it friendlier to all forms of transportation.
Gary Moore, a Burger King franchise owner, spoke in favor of the bill. Moore said the ordinance was not a product of compromise with Salt Lake City as Garrott described and that, the late night crowd at Burger King simply posed to big of a risk – in his mind, the risk lost property or employee safety was too great to allow lobby service – a requirement of the Salt Lake ordinance that mandates lobby hours match drive through hours.
“We’re concerned about the safety of our employees… we just think this is a bad idea,” said Moore.
The Committee ultimately approved the bill 7-3 with a favorable recommendation and now moves to the House floor.