Arizona Road Cyclist News
Final Edition
November 21, 2012
News for those who bicycle Arizona's streets and roads
Editor, Jack Quinn


In this issue:
     Arizona Road Cyclist News Goes Dark
     Trucker Who Killed Motorcyclists Sentenced
     Republic on Shea Connection to Fountain HIlls
     Arizona 14th in Bike-Friendly States
     Not Your Mom Tour Log Online
     GABA Tours for Tots Ride -- December 1
     Peoria Ready to Ride Class -- December 1
     PMBC's Casa Grande Century -- January 13
     About Arizona Road Cyclist News

Arizona Road Cyclist News Goes Dark

This is the final edition of Arizona Road Cyclist News. I have been writing the newsletter for just over four years. When I wrote the first edition in 2008, I didn't dream that it would grow to serve more than 500 subscribers and come to fill the vacuum left by the demise of most of the newsletters once published by local bicycle clubs.

More than 500 subscribers? Truthfully, II don't kid myself into believing that all 535 people who receive the email notification actually read the newsletter, but I know that many do, and I feel a slight sense of guilt at abandoning them. However, the newsletter, run as a voluntary service to the cycling community, has begun to take up too much time and is crowding out other activities including race training and writing projects that might bring in a few bucks.

I'll miss the interaction with my readers, including those who respond angrily when I write an article with which they disagree. However, I'll still see many of you on the road, and I look forward to that. Meanwhile, I wish every one of you a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Trucker who Killed Motorcyclists Sentenced

Last Friday, November 15, Maricopa Country Superior Court Judge  Joseph Welty sentenced dump-truck driver Michael Jakscht to 26 years in prison on charges of manslaughter, aggravated assault, and endangerment for the death of four motorcyclists and the serious injury of five others.  On March 24, 2010, Jakscht drove his dump truck into a group of motorcyclists who were stopped at a traffic light. Jakscht failed a sobriety test, and a police investigation determined that he had methamphetamine in his system.

Jakscht was found guilty on August 15 of this year after a jury deliberated a day and a half, but sentencing was delayed until last week despite his defense team's claims that he had taken diet pills and that the brakes of his truck malfunctioned.

Cyclists took an interest in this case, because it is something that could have happened to a group of us when we were stopped at a traffic light. Typically when a cyclist, pedestrian, or motorcyclist is killed in traffic, criminal charges are brought only if the driver of the motor vehicle was impaired in some manner or if the driver fled the scene.

Republic on Shea Connection to Fountain Hills

In the previous edition of Arizona Road Cyclist News, I wrote about a proposed connection between Fountain Hills and Scottsdale by means of a multiuse path that would be built parallel to Shea Boulevard, and I mentioned that the Arizona Republic was working on an article on the subject. In the meantime, election news has taken up much of reporter Beth Duckett's time, but the article was finally inked and also uploaded to the Internet Monday of last week. To read the article on the newspaper's Arizona Central Website, click here.


Arizona 14th in Bike-Friendly States

According to the League of American Bicyclists (LAB), Arizona ranks 14th among the 50 US states in bicycle friendliness. Among the western states, it ranks 6th. At first blush, 6th in the west and 14th in the nation might not seem bad, but once you get below the top few states, the bar gets low. Realistically, Arizona has a mediocre score.

The LAB gives states a 1 to 5 ranking in each of five categories, with 5 being the highest. Arizona gets a grade of 3 in four of those five categories: Legislation and Enforcement, Policies and Programs, Infrastructure and Funding, and Evaluation and Planning. It has an above-average grade of 4 in the category of Education and Encouragement, although how it earned that score escapes me. I have not seen many attempts to educate drivers, cyclists, or police about the role of bicycles in the transportation network. Perhaps the fact that the state's urban areas have more and more bicycle lanes counts as encouragement.

As an example of a bicycle-friendly success, the LAB states that "a handful of local communities are providing bicycle training for law enforcement officials to ensure bicycle safety." Does this bicycle training consist of training law-enforcement officers to patrol on bikes? I am aware that there are plans afoot to develop and make available a program to train police officers about cycling, but I am not aware of any police department in the state having adopted such a training program. Having even a handful of Arizona police departments trained on cycling's proper role in the traffic mix would be a big improvement.

If you'd like to see that rankings of all 50 states, from first-place Washington to last-place Arkansas, you can do so by clicking here. Below the table with the list of states by ranking is a list of states in alphabetical order. Click on the name of any state to see its ranking explained in more detail.

Not Your Mom Tour Log Online

Not Your Mom (NOM) is a chapter of the Arizona Bicycle Club. It is a touring group that started as an informal group of people who did self-contained bicycle tours together. Each cyclist was expected to be self-sufficient -- no one was going to be your mom and take care of  you -- hence the group's name.

Many of the group's tours are now supported by motor vehicles, which carry luggage and which the participants of a tour are expected to take turns driving.

NOM recently did a nine-day tour from Surprise To San Diego, Participant David Babcock did a daily journal of the tour complete with photos, and he has been kind enough to post it online for the rest of us to read. You can access his journal by clicking here. Who knows? Maybe after you read his account, you will also get the bug to do some touring on your bike.

GABA Tucson Toys for Tots Ride -- December 1

GABA will sponsor three rides to support Toys for Tots in Tucson on December 1. The ride is open to non-members. The longer, faster ride will start at Udall Park at 9 a.m. Riders are requested to sign a ride waiver between 8:30 and 8:45 a.m. The ride pace is expected to be 12 to 16 miles per hour, and the ride typically breaks into a faster and a slower group. The distance is 30 to 35 miles round trip.

The family and social ride starts from McCormick Park at 10 am, although riders are requested to arrive by 9:30. The ride pace is 8 to 10 miles per hour, and the ride distance is 10 miles round trip.

Finally, there is a new ride that includes a tour of historical downtown. This ride starts from the Albertson's parking lot at 1350 North Silverbell. Riders are requested to arrive by 9:15 to sign a waiver and be ready to ride by 9:30. The pace is 12 to 14 miles per hour and the ride distance will be about 20 miles round trip.

To view the ride's Webpage for more information, click here.

Peoria Ready to Ride Class -- December 1

The Ready to Ride Class that was scheduled for October 13 has been rescheduled to December 1 from 9 am to 12 noon in the Lakeview Room of the Rio Vista Recreation Center at 8866 West Thunderbird Road in Peoria. Due to a grant from the Maricopa Association of Governments, the class is free and open to new riders ages 16 and over. The class will cover the basics of cycling and riding on the streets with 45 minutes of on-bike training in the parking lot. Bring your bike and helmet.

To register for the free class, click here.

PMBC's Casa Grande Century -- January 13

The Phoenix Metro Bicycle Club's annual Casa Grande Century ride takes place this winter on January 13. This is the chance to go out and get in that first 100-mile ride of the year in relatively pleasant weather while cyclists in most of the country are huddling indoors and shivering. If a 100-mile ride is too far to kick off your New Year's resolution to ride more miles in 2013, there is also a metric century and a 33-mile version. As a bonus, the three routes are pretty flat with the exception of a slight hill on the out-and-back metric century.

The ride takes place on January 13, 2013 and starts at the Safeway Parking lot at 4970 South Alma School Road in Chandler with rider check-in from 8 to 9:30 a.m. Century riders must be on the road by 8:30 a.m., but riders on the two shorter routes can delay a bit and wait for the sun to warm things up.

There will be SAG stops with food and drink as well as roaming SAG support, of course, and the century and metric century riders also get lunch midway through the ride in Casa Grande. Until December 30, the registration fee for the century and metric century is a quite reasonable $25 for members of PMBC, AGC, and GABA. Non-members pay $35. For the 33-mile ride, the registration fee is $20 for members of the three clubs and $25 for others. After December 30, add a $10 late fee to those figures.

To access the ride Website, click here.

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