ST. GEORGE- As the Ironman World Championship approaches, the Washington County Commission reminds area residents to watch out for athletes preparing for the May 7 race as they run and bike on local roads that also form a large part of the triathlon course.
“We encourage motorists to exercise courtesy and caution when navigating the roads in the weeks ahead,” the County Commission said in a public service announcement released earlier this month. “Please provide these visitors with the kind of security you expect in your own quarters. We also encourage cyclists to be careful and obey the rules of the road.
The race begins at Sand Hollow Reservoir where athletes will engage in a 2.4 mile swim. From there they hop on a bike and travel 112 miles on a segment of the Southern Parkway, then take State Route 9 and through parts of Washington City and St. George, up State Route 18 and back on Gunlock Road and Old . Dixie Highway 91. Parts of the route also pass through Ivins and Snow Canyon State Park.
Once the cycling portion of the race is complete, athletes will run a full marathon (26.2 miles) that will cover parts of Diagonal Street, Bluff Street, Snow Canyon Parkway and Dixie Drive in St. George.
“On race day, the course will be well marked and traffic will be controlled for safety reasons,” the commission said in the PSA. “The Ironman World Championship security plan has been carefully developed in conjunction with our local agencies. We are grateful for the training and dedication of our public safety agencies supporting the event.
Part of encouraging road safety for motorists and cyclists is also remembering to obey state law that does not allow motorists to pass within three feet of a moving bicycle.
Concerns about the safety of cyclists and pedestrians have intensified in recent weeks in Washington County due to the deaths of Californian brothers Adam and Matthew Bullard. They were participating in a race on April 9 and riding on a bike path along Telegraph Street in Washington City when they were hit by an impaired driver. Both were taken to St. George Regional Hospital where they were pronounced dead shortly afterwards.
At a memorial held for the brothers last week, local officials pleaded with the public to drive safely.
“Our community, our visitors and those just passing through deserve to feel safe and protected as they pass through our city,” Washington City Police Lt. Kory Klotz said at the memorial. “There is no excuse for impaired driving or distraction. May this event remind us how fragile life is and how quickly it can change.
A more detailed overview and maps of the Ironman World Championship course can be found here.
Advice on safety and cycling programs are available on the Utah Department of Public Safety website.
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