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Hidden Hills Easement Fate May
be Decided Next Thursday
ADOT’s Bicycle Safety Action
Phoenix Political Pedal Power
(P4) Endorsed Greg Stanton
ABC’s McDowell Mountain
Cystic Fibrosis Cycle for Life
– November 11
Mount Lemon Hill Climb Brevet –
GABA Tucson Fall Bike Swap –
Cave Creek Bicycle Festival –
November 11, 12, & 13
El Tour de Tucson – November 19
Tucson Toys for Tots Rides –
NAMI Bikes Arizona Tour –
Casa Grande Century – January 8
About Arizona Road Cyclist News
Hidden Hills Easement Fate May be Decided Next Thursday
The City of Scottsdale Transportation Commission meets on
the third Thursday of every month at 6 p.m. in Kiva City Hall, 3939
Drinkwater Boulevard, Scottsdale. As you may remember, at last month’s
meeting, a motion to temporarily close an easement for cyclists and
non-motorized traffic in the gated community of Hidden Hills was tabled
after the motion failed to pass on a tie vote. Although it is not stated
in the language of the easement, the easement’s purpose is ostensibly to
form part of a cycling connection between Scottsdale and Fountain Hills.
The connection has been held up, because the City of Scottsdale has been
waiting for the Town of Fountain Hills to obtain a second easement, which
was thought to be necessary to
complete the connection.
Thanks to the efforts of cyclist James Winebrenner, it has
been learned that the easement already exists and that the easement's
owner is the City of Scottsdale. Thus, at first glance, there appears to
be no impediment to completing the cycling connection so that we can ride
to Fountain Hills and points beyond without risking our lives in fast, heavy
traffic on Shea Boulevard.
After the vote at last month’s meeting, City of Scottsdale
staff was asked to investigate what would be required to complete the
connection. I hope that at this month’s meeting, the emphasis will switch
from closing our access to Hidden Hills and instead be directed toward
is required to complete the connection between Scottsdale and Fountain Hills.
I plan to attend the meeting next Thursday evening, and
hopefully by the time the next issue of this newsletter is published, we
will have a tentative date for the opening of the new cycling route to
The Arizona Republic also plans to cover the meeting.
ADOT’s Bicycle Safety Action Plan
The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) has
developed a series of working papers involving bicycle safety in Arizona
with recommendations for its improvement. The Web site for accessing the
working papers can be reached by clicking here. The individual papers are
in PDF format, so Adobe Acrobat Reader or another program capable of
reading PDF files must be installed on your computer in order to view
Mike Sanders, a Senior Transportation Planner with ADOT
and himself a cyclist and bicycle commuter, informs me that the working
papers will soon be compiled into a final report.
Arizona may seem like a cyclists’ paradise compared to
states such as Florida and Texas, but on a national level, Arizona is
ranked as one of the most dangerous of the 50 states for cyclists when
measured by the number of bicyclist fatalities per million inhabitants.
As shown in the Figure below, taken from the study, cyclist fatatities have
declined since 2005 when 36 cyclists were killed on Arizona's streets and
Cyclists fatalities dropped to 19 in 2008 before jumping to 25 in 2009.
In terms of fatalities per million inhabitants, even in 2008 Arizona
ranked as the ninth-dangerous state with 2.92 cyclist fatalities per
million inhabitants compared to a national average of 2.32. An important
goal of ADOT is to reduce the number of cyclist fatalities in Arizona by
12% on the state highway system by 2018. How does ADOT plan to reduce
cyclist fatalities? Through a combination of three approaches:
Engineering solutions, which means designing state roads to
be safer for cyclists.
Education of cyclists and motorists. Both are badly needed
in Arizona. I suggest that education of law enforcement officers be added. Most
police officers seem to have a very foggy idea of the legal rights and
responsibilities of cyclists .
By improving the enforcement of laws and regulations, which
Perhaps the City of Phoenix could set an example by
ticketing wrong-way cyclists and motor vehicles illegally parked in bike
lanes. The latter practice is an almost daily occurrence on streets such
as East Lafayette Boulevard east of 56th Street and Osborne Road between
44th and 45th Streets.
ADOT's recommendations will apply directly only to the state
highway system, which account for only about ten percent of accidents
involving a motor vehicle and a bicycle, but many Arizona municipalities
look to ADOT for guidance, so any steps that ADOT takes to reduce
fatalities could eventually be applied by municipalities. In addition, as
ADOT points out, driver and cyclist education should change behavior not only
on the State's highways but also on roads and streets throughout the
However, cyclists fatalities per million inhabitants is an inaccurate way to measure how safe or dangerous cycling is in a
given state. In Arizona, a larger percentage of the population cycles than
in many other states, and the good weather in the desert areas of the
State mean that those who do cycle ride year round.
For example, in 2008 the US Census Bureau reported that in 2008 0.5% of
workers cycled to work nationally. In Arizona, the percentage was almost
double that number at 0.9%. (Interestingly, despite the city’s cold
weather, a far larger share of Flagstaff’s population cycle to work than
in relatively balmy Phoenix and Tucson. This may have more to do with the
fact that Flagstaff is a smaller city in which a large part of the
population lives within cycling distance of work. At any rate,
figures are of limited value, because an overwhelming majority of cyclists
ride for recreation or for sport, not for transportation.)
A more accurate way of measuring the relative safety of
cycling in a given state would be to calculate the number of fatalities
per million miles cycled, but estimating the number of miles cycled per
year in a given state would require a very expensive study. Some
Arizona cities such as Mesa, Tucson, and Flagstaff attempt by various
methods to count the number of cyclists using their streets, and an ADOT
survey of cyclists in which readers of this newsletter were asked to
participate shows that 95 percent of respondents indicated that they
cycle for recreation or exercise.
Nonetheless, even if cycling in Arizona is likely not as
dangerous as statistics suggest, far too many cyclists die on Arizona’s
streets and roads.
Total Cyclist Fatalities by Year in Arizona 2004 through
Arizona Department of Transportation
Luckily, only a small number of bicycle-motor vehicle crashes
result in a fatality. Comparing the number of fatalities in the figure
above with the total number of bicycle-motor vehicle crashes shown in the
figure below shows that the portion of such crashes that results in a
fatality is below two percent.
Even though the number of fatal crashes decreased in 2006
through 2008, the number of reported bicycle-motor vehicle crashes went
up. These figures seem to indicate that although we were less likely
to be killed on the road in 2008 than we were in 2005, the
tendency in the total number of
bicycle-motor vehicle crashes has been moving in the wrong direction.
Arizona Department of Transportation
The statistics on bicycle-motorist accidents include some
interesting facts. Although a minority of cyclists ride on the wrong side
of the road facing traffic, these cyclists are involved in a majority (52
percent) of crashes. It is also interesting that 51 percent of crashes
occurred when the motorist was making a right turn. In thirty-seven
percent of the crashes, both factors were involved: The driver was making
a right turn and the cyclist was riding on the wrong side of the street
Is riding on the sidewalk safer than riding in the street?
Not when every cross street, driveway, and parking-lot entrance presents
the possibility of colliding with a motor vehicle whose driver isn’t
expecting to encounter a bicycle in a place designed for slower-moving
pedestrians. Thirty-two percent of crashes involve cyclists riding on a
The study came up with 14 recommendations, a few of which
are discussed in the paragraphs that follow.
markings or signage to discourage wrong-way riding.
Wrong-way riding seems to become a more serious problem
the closer one gets to the center of a city. For example, I see very few
people cycling on the wrong side of the street in North Scottsdale, but I
frequently see cyclists riding against traffic in Phoenix. The figure
below shows the proposed signs, which I hope will be adopted by Arizona's
The plan to discourage wrong-way riding also includes law enforcement.
As mentioned earlier in this article, it would be a big help if police officers would issue warnings to
The plan also includes obtaining ADOT approval to
mark wide shoulders as bicycle lanes, which might make wrong-way cyclists
feel more comfortable about riding with their backs to traffic.
Complete Streets Policy
State Highways are often the main street in rural
communities, but many of these streets are designed principally to carry
motorized traffic. The Complete Streets Policy would accommodate all
roadway users including pedestrians and cyclists.
enhancements to the Arizona Driver License Manual and Customer Service
Compared to most Western European countries, drivers and
bicyclists in the USA are unskilled and unknowledgeable of what
constitutes safe driving and cycling. In some European countries, people
are required to attend a driver's school before obtaining a driver's
license, and instruction includes how to interact with other users of
the road including cyclists. Many US drivers are clueless when it comes
to interacting with cyclists.
It seems to me that Arizona driving skill and knowledge levels
are even below the USA
national average, although I have no hard evidence to support that belief. As anecdotal
evidence, however, I cite the fact that few Arizona motorists use their turn
signals to signal a right turn, and for those turning left, many motorists
signal only after they have entered the intersection. Many motorists attempt to pass
cyclists at inappropriate locations such as when approaching a stop sign,
a practice that often results in the motor vehicle stopping in the lane
for oncoming traffic. Few motorists seem to be aware of the three-foot
law, which requires motorists to give cyclists at least three feet of
clearance when passing. Some motorists do not yield to bicycles in
roundabouts, apparently on the theory that cyclists should not be on the
road in the first place and therefore have no rights.
ADOT proposes adding an illustration to the Driver
License Manual that would emphasize the fact that motorists in
Arizona are required by law to give bicycles a minimum of three feet of
clearance when passing. Also proposed are illustrations showing cars yielding to bicycles and
pedestrians in roundabouts. The license manual would point out that
cyclists "must obey the same traffic laws as drivers...and...have
the right-of-way under the same conditions as motorists." It would
instruct drivers to dim their headlights for oncoming cyclists,
something that many drivers now fail to do. The ADOT proposal would add text
to indicate that cyclists have the right to take over a traffic lane when
it is unsafe for a bicycle and a motor vehicle to share the lane
side-by-side. It would remove the incorrect statement from the drivers
manual that state that cyclists must "Ride as near to the right side
of the road as possible."
I have a suggestion for modification of one of the
proposed new questions for the written driving test. The proposed
question reads: "Although bicyclists must ride with the flow of
traffic and as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the
roadway, in which situations can they legally more left?" The
question leaves out the fact that cyclists are only required to right as
close to the right as practicable when riding "at less than the
normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions
then existing." (Arizona
Revised Statutes 28-815) In other words, if a cyclists is riding
down the street and there is no other traffic present or if the cyclist
is moving at the speed of traffic, there is no requirement to ride to the
right, a provision of which not only most motorists but also many police
officers are unaware.
Revised Statute 28-817 requires that bicycles be equipped with a white light in
front and a rear red reflector when ridden at night and adds that the
bicycle may also have red rear
light. Technology has changed since the statute was written, and bicycle
lights have greatly improved. Those of us who ride at night know that
rear red reflectors have limited visibility and the minimum should be a
red flashing taillight.
ADOT's goals in reducing crashes involving motor vehicles
and bicycles are modest. In the years from 2004 through 2008, there were
an average of 217 bicycle crashes per year on state highways (compared
with thousands on urban streets). ADOT's goal is to reduce the average number of
such crashes by 26 per year for the years 2014 through 2018.
It is be
hoped that ADOT's efforts will not only reduce accidents involving
cyclists on state highways, but that the driver and cyclist education
will also reduce accidents on the streets of Arizona's cities and towns
and that the infrastructure changes to the state highway system will
serve as an example for improving the infrastructure in municipalities
with cycling safety in mind.
One area that I did not see addressed in ADOT's action
plan is the fact that rumble strips on the shoulders of state highways,
although they may improve the safety of motorists by alerting a sleepy
motorist that the car is drifting off the road, are a safety hazard for
cyclists. (perhaps it is in there and I missed it.) I would like to see
rumble strips installed only where there is a wide-enough section of the
shoulder to the right of the rumble strip for safe cycling and for there
to be a break in the rumble strip every 100 feet or so to make it easier
for cyclists to cross them. I also wonder if it is necessary to make
rumble strips so aggressive that they can cause a cyclists who rides over
one to lose control.
To read another view of the ADOT study on Ed Beighe's
Arizona Bike Law Website, click here.
Phoenix Political Pedal Power (P4) Endorsed Greg Stanton
I’m publishing this too late to affect the election, but
Gene Holmerud, who holds several positions with the Coalition of Arizona
Bicyclists and is newly appointed to the board of directors of the
Arizona Bicycle Club, has come up with a new organization called Phoenix
Political Pedal Power or P4, which questioned Phoenix political
candidates on their attitudes towards cycling. Gene reports that
in Districts 1 and 5 for City Council
seats did not reply to a questionnaire. However, both candidates for
mayor did take time to respond (or perhaps their campaign
staff did it for them). After evaluating the answers from the two mayoral
candidates, P4 endorsed Greg Stanton as being the friendlier to cyclist’s
(By the time you read this, we should know if they picked
the winner. -- Last-minute update: they did!)
I was pleased to see both candidates take the
questionnaire seriously in a campaign that otherwise was marred by each
mayoral candidate's taking cheap shots at the other and arguing about
which of them has been the biggest lobbyist.
If you would like to read the questions and evaluate the
answers of both candidates, you can do so by searching for Phoenix
Political Pedal Power on Facebook, or if the technology works correctly,
go directly to the organization’s Facebook page by clicking here..
ABC’s McDowell Mountain Century Cancelled
The Arizona Bicycle Club’s annual McDowell Mountain
Century Ride, which has long been a fixture on the Phoenix-area fall
cycling calendar, has been cancelled this year. As late as early last
week, the ride was listed on the ABC Website with the remark “We ride
rain, or shine, snow, tidal wave, hail, or dust storm." Apparently,
something even worse than one of these natural disasters occurred, because
when I checked the Website on Saturday in preparation for writing an
article on the ride, there was a note that the ride had
Perhaps the ride was cancelled because few people knew about it.
I am a member of ABC, and I wouldn’t have known that the ride was planned if
I hadn’t stumbled across the information in preparation for writing this
article. I asked several other members if they were aware that the ride
was scheduled, and not one of them had heard a word.
At any rate, the ride is long overdue for an overhaul.
When the route was laid out, many years ago, it was safe and enjoyable.
With the increase in traffic, sections of the route on Pima Road are
nerve wracking to ride, despite the presence of bike lanes, and the part
of the descent to Rio Verde on Dynamite Boulevard/East Rio Verde Drive is
downright dangerous on weekends, when bicycles compete for space on the
narrow road with pickup trucks headed for McDowell Mountain park pulling
trailers loaded with off-road vehicles while some of the trucks’ drivers
steer with one hand while holding an open can of beer in the other. Maricopa
County has widened its section of the route and installed bike lanes, but
Scottsdale has yet to take steps to make its section safe for cycling,
although Scottsdale Senior Traffic Engineer Reed Kempton informs me that
a project to add bike lanes “between Pima and Alma School is moving
forward and should be completed in early 2012.”
Fibrosis Cycle for Life – November 11
Thank you for
doing this terrific newsletter every month. Would you mind adding this
information in your next edition?
Register now for
the Second Annual Cystic Fibrosis Cycle For Life on Saturday, Nov. 12,
Two routes are
available beginning at Heritage Park in Florence, Arizona—75-mile route
and 35-mile route. This charity event benefits the Cystic Fibrosis
Foundation and offers a great route for those preparing for their first
metric century. It’s flat, fully-supported and will feature a BBQ, beer
and a live band at the finish for the riders, the volunteers and
Get a taste of the
ride by joining the group for a free ride on Saturday, Oct. 15, from BJ’s
Brewery and Restaurant. SAG support will be offered, breakfast foods,
rest stops and a free lunch. Plus, those who wish to register for the
November ride may do so for only $20 (plus fundraising minimum of $100).
To sign up for ride updates
Register now for
the Fourth Annual Women-only Girls Gone Riding bike ride on Saturday,
Feb. 18, 2012.
Four routes are
available beginning at Higley High School at 4605 E. Pecos Road, Gilbert,
34-miles; 62-miles or complete your first 100-mile century! A charity
event that benefits multiple Phoenix charities: Cystic Fibrosis
Foundation; National MS Society; Phoenix Women’s sports Association and
Not One More cyclist Foundation, the Girls Gone Riding bike ride features
breakfast, lunch, fully-supported rest stops, SAG, and opportunities to
earn the annual jersey by raising money—all while enjoying a ride with
like-minded women through Gilbert, east Mesa and Chandler.
$30 right now through November.
For the Girls Gone Riding
newsletter click here: http://visitor.r20.constantcontact.com/manage/optin/ea?v=001Md2lQvja6UDLbXDpJVylvw==
now for the 4th Annual Girls Gone Riding All-Women's Bike Ride
Mount Lemon Hill Climb Brevet -- November 12
For those of you
who chickened out on the Heart of Arizona last Saturday because of the
cold and wet conditions (as I did), here's your chance to do a
200-kilometer (125-mile) ride this Saturday. The ride starts at the intersection
of Twin Peaks and Coachline Roads near Marana at 7 a.m. Cyclists will
have 13.5 hours to complete the ride, which includes a 25-mile climb up
to the town of Summerhaven on the top of Mount Lemon.
Cost of the ride
is $20. For more information on the ride and to register online, click here. Those
who complete the ride will have permission to call themselves randonneurs
if they are male or randonneuses if they are female and to purchase a
GABA Tucson Fall Bike Swap -- November 12
Need to clean out
that box of useless bicycle parts? Here’s you chance. The old junk
bicycle parts and accessories gathering cobwebs in your garage may be just what another cyclist
needs to get an unused velocipede back on the road.
Arizona Bicycling Association (GABA) will hold its annual fall cycling
swap meet in Tucson this Saturday from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Fourth
Avenue between Sixth and Ninth Streets. The swap meet is free, although
GABA will not turn down any voluntary cash donations. Will you be riding
your bike there? Valet bike parking will be available. Please limit
anything you have for sale to bicycle-related items.
To view the swap
meet’s brochure in PDF format, click here.
Cave Creek Bicycle Festival – November 11, 12, & 13
Glad you’re back! I love the local news you provide…THANK
This year, I hope to catch you early enough to ask you if
you would be so kind as to include a mention of the 3rd Annual Cave Creek
Bicycle Festival in your e-news letter?
We did this for our inaugural event, I was too late last year…
Check out our evolving website + Facebook page, too. We are in the final planning stages for
this year, with so many exciting things coming together I can hardly
contain myself! For the Sake of
The Mountain Bike Race
Ride is a 22-mile loop through the foothills in Cave Creek, which has
spawned a healthy-loyal following on various rides throughout the
week…this is a spirited event taking on some major roots!
The Bella Fondo
Road Ride, 30 & 50 mile options, takes in the best routes the north
valley has to offer, right off our door steps in “The Creek”….
hysterical event is the Kids Kriterium event which starts kids < age 4
on kick-bikes, through age groups up to 14…these monsters take cycling
seriously!!! We have the local
Fire Company start each age group race with a cycle lead-out…guaranteed
to have you cracking up, I’m just sayin’…
Not to forget the
Alley Cat Race, the Ride-in-Theatre…complete with the Huffy Toss contest,
even packet pick-up & registration takes on the festival of fun~~~
As advocates for all kinds of cycling, all things
considered BIKES, we consider our event a family affair, getting the
youth of our communities accustomed to cycling along with the rules of
the road + trail at an early age.
We like to think this will propagate a healthy knowledge about our
sport & the healthy lifestyle it encourages.
Just this summer, leaders of the CCBF have developed an
official advocacy alliance, the Cave Creek Bicycle Association, which is
currently working to promote proper trail building in our area, and in
conjunction with the Town of Cave Creek, has obtained a grant for the
development of bike lane through town, border-to-border. We held a movie screening of “Pedal
Driven”, introducing to a collective audience what we hope to accomplish
through appropriate channels, the preservation of our Open Space for
Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the need for
willing volunteers. Our website
offers an easy opportunity for folks to log-in with their preferences for
contribution to our fabulous bike-fest.
With the best of regards, RIDE ON!
El Tour de
Tucson – November 19
El Tour de Tucson is almost certainly Arizona’s largest
bicycle ride with an expected 9,000 participants this year and a choice
of 42-, 60-, 85-, and 111-mile routes. For the kids, there will also be ¼-,
3-, and 6-mile fun rides. This ride is structured more like a running
event than like a traditional bicycle race, so it will include aide
stations every 7-1/2 miles on the 42-mile and longer routes. The 111-mile
ride includes two river crossings (the river is normally dry, but one
never knows), whereas the riders in the 85-mile ride will cross the river
just once. The ride has full police support at all intersections, which hasn’t
always prevented crashes between cyclists and motor vehicles in past years.
Computing the cost of riding El Tour is not a task for the
You can't just read the amount on a Web site. The total cost consists of
a processing fee, a registration fee, and an involuntary contribution.
For adults, the cheapest ride consists of a $70 registration fee, a $15
contribution, and a processing fee that started at $5 last January
through March, is currently $35, and which jumps to $45 on November 1 and
to $50 on November 13. Got it? If the figures that my accountant ran are
correct, I think that if I register before November 1, I can get in on
the ride for a mere $120. At this level, in addition to getting to
participate in the event, the rider receives a T-shirt.
Fees go up from there depending on whether or not the
rider wants additional mementos of the ride such as a poster, a
certificate, a jersey, or a trophy. For $1,000 a rider gets all of the
mementos except that he or she must choose between a certificate and a
jersey (apparently you can't get both).
For more information about El Tour de Tucson, click here.
Tucson Toys for Tots Rides – December 3
Bicycling Association’s (GABA) Toys for Tots ride is actually three rides
that meet at three different locations. Each ride has a different
distance. All three of the rides feature moderate paces suitable for
amiable conversation. The rides are open to non-members of GABA.
fastest ride (although most cyclists will find it neither long nor fast)
meets at Udall Park on the south side of Tanque Verde east of Sabino
Canyon with registration from 8:30 to 8:45 a.m. and the ride getting
underway at 9 a.m. The ride is expected to be between 30 and 35 miles
roundtrip and proceed at a pace of between 12 and 16 miles per hour.
The shortest and
most-leisurely-paced family/social ride will start from McCormick Park on
the east side of Columbus just north of Glenn and south of Fort Lowell.
Riders are requested to arrive by 9:30 to sign waivers. The ride then
gets underway at 10 a.m. The route is a short ten miles, probably about
right for many of the kids, and is expected to be covered at an eight- to
The third ride
meets in the Albertson’s parking lot at 1350 North Sivlerbell (corner of
Speedway) with sign-in at 9:15 and ride departure at 9:30 a.m. The pace
is expected to be 12 to 14 miles per hour over a 20-mile route.
information on the Toys for Tots rides, click here.
NAMI Bikes Arizona Tour -- December 10
This is a
fund-raising ride for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) that
starts and ends at Veterans’ Park in Sierra Vista with 35-, 67-, and
100-mile options. Riders pay a registration fee of $35 and are also
expected to raise donations. The longer routes include such historic Southern
Arizona towns as Tombstone, Benson, and Bisbee. The century ride starts
at 7:30 a.m., the 67-mile ride at 9 a.m. and the 35-mile ride at 10:00
To connect to the
homepage of the ride’s Website, click here.
Casa Grande Century -- January 8
The Phoenix Metro
Bicycle Club is already gearing up for the Casa Grande Century ride, an
event that it promotes every year. There will be a 100-mile full century,
a 62-mile (100-kilometer) metric century, and a 34-mile option. All three
options are mainly flat.
All three rides
start and finish at the Safeway store at 4970 South Alma School Road in
Chandler. Registration is from 8 to 9:30 a.m. Riders may leave as
soon as they check in. Sensibly, there is no mass start.
The ride fee is a
reasonable $20 for the century and metric century for members of
the Phoenix Metro Bike Club, the Greater Arizona Bicycle Association, and
the Arizona Bike Club who pre-register by New Year’s Day. Non-members
will pay an extra $10. The fee includes SAG support and lunch in Casa
Grande. Those registering after New Year’s Day should add another $10 to
The 34-mile ride,
which does not include lunch, costs $15 for members of the three bike
clubs and $20 for non-members until January 1. After that date, the fee
goes up by $10 for both groups.
registration (with a possible extra fee) is available now, and the form
for mail-in registrations is promised to appear on the ride’s Website
soon. You can view that Website by clicking here.
About Arizona Road
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