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February 26, 2008

2 More Cents Tossed in on Sept. Essay by AZ. Cyclist

Way back in Sept. I posted a story about and Arizona Bicyclist who was taking his cycling neighbors to task, and expressed my opinion.

I encouraged readers to weigh in, and while I was the last one to leave a comment to the article, at the Newspaper site, several folks, including the author of the article, left interesting comments on my post.

Yesterday I received the first comment, since Sept., on the article, from Bob Jenson of Phoenix:

Having stumbled across this blog quite by accident, and living in Phoenix AZ, I read this with great interest.

We also in the Metro Phoenix area have been experiencing a rash of cycling injuries and deaths the past few years.

A problem that exists is that we have many of the "good ole boy" police who view bikes and cyclists who ride them as scum, and when there is an accident, their reports are incomplete and or inaccurate.

The Coalition of Arizona Bicyclists has been working with the police academies to educate the new police officers as to bicycling law, and to try to get more accurate and complete information on their investigation forms. (Cycling Dude: Link to PDF about the Arizona Bicycle Institute - Educating not just Cops, but parents, children, cyclists, and motorists.)

The attitude that is prevailing in many police depts is that it's just another worthless cyclist - go write something up so we can get on to something more important.

Yes, we do have a 3 foot passing law, which the Coalition got through a semi hostile legislature, and  they also got some small teeth in it -$1,000 if a cyclist is killed. They are working on getting this revised, but with the legislature currently in power it will be probably a couple of years before this is done.

Contrary to a comment in an earlier post, it is legal to ride 2 abreast in Arizona, however it's not always wise to do so.

Having just retired and commuted by bike for about 30 years, I've seen lots of problems on the road.

My work started at 6:00 am, so I would try to be on the road by 4:30 for a 5 mile commute - any later would have put me in jeapardy - a small thing for safety. Also gave me time to do a few laps in a safe area close by work.

On my route, I'm seeing many, many persons on bikes in the dark with no lights, no reflectors, dark clothing, no helmets, and the icing on the cake - riding against traffic, or on the sidewalk.

It's a wonder that more are not killed.

Enforcement by police is non-existant which hopefully will change in the near future - just have to be patient and wait for the old guard to die or retire.

It would seem that the key to preventing our premature demise on the road is two-fold: Education - motorist and cyclist, and Enforcement - getting the police to do their job -  as I understand it, "to serve and protect", not just the motorist, but the cyclist too.

Just my $.02

Bob Jenson

Vice President: Coalition of Arizona Bicyclists.

According to the Coalition Website:

The mission of the Coalition of Arizona Bicyclists is to promote efforts that improve bicycling usage and bicycling safety within the state of Arizona by addressing law enforcement and transportation engineering issues through education, outreach and advocacy programs thereby enhancing the role of bicycling in local, county and statewide transportation plans.

I love it when folks, especially activists, journalists, and industry-types, happen to "stumble across this blog quite by accident". ;-D

Interesting things always result. ;-D

Comments to this, and to the previous material, welcome. ;-D

February 26, 2008 in Share the Road, and Trail: Safety Matters! | Permalink

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