The Arizona Daily Star has a depressing, simple-minded editorial about the Third Street bike enforcement that is occurring.
The recent, albeit limited, crackdown of cyclists who ignore the traffic rules of the road is a positive move, not because cyclists aren’t welcome in Tucson, but because our community is bicycle-friendly and keeping everyone safe is paramount.
If keeping everyone safe is paramount, why is there no enforcement of the three-foot rule? The vast majority of cycling fatalities in Tucson occur because drivers hit cyclists from behind, often while the cyclist is in a bike lane. I am sure it has happened, but I can’t recall a single recent incident of a cyclist being killed from running a stop sign, and certainly not a stop sign on the Third Street bikeway.
And if keeping everyone safe is paramount, why the insanely dangerous Fourth Avenue underpass? As I told Channel Four News the other day, and as I have stated in this blog: we spent 46 million dollars on that underpass. We can spend a little more and make it safe for cyclists. Will we? Or will we wait for another hit-from-behind fatality on Broadway as a cyclist attempts to merge across those lanes to reach the underpass?
I have no problem with citing cyclists who literally blow through stop signs, and I am well aware that college kids, especially newly minted ones, can ride like idiots. Tickets might actually help some of them. But what about also targeting the behavior that is actually killing cyclists?
This passage really got me:
“Ghost bikes,” or bikes painted white and mounted near a road to mark where a rider was killed, can be found throughout the city, sad reminders of what can happen when people don’t pay attention to each other on the road.
It would be wonderful if bicyclists and pedestrians on and around the UA campus would decide on their own to obey traffic laws and stop at stop signs, yield when necessary and look before they go plunging into the road.
The Star is correct that these memorials can be found throughout the city. I have personally installed many of them, and all were for people who were killed by drunk, angry, speeding, or inattentive drivers. People who never had a chance, and who were obeying traffic laws.
Anyway, Bob Mionske has said it all particularly well here.
The Star has it backwards. If the City wants to encourage bicycling, as it says, then it will make the Third Street bikeway easier, not harder, to traverse (I very much doubt that removing that stop sign–making the intersection a two-way, instead of four-way stop–would make things any more dangerous for cyclists or motorists).
And if TPD wants to improve the safety of cyclists it will start following up on assaults and move at least some of its enforcement resources towards targeting the motor-vehicle violations that keep killing cyclists, instead of focusing only on the violations that annoy drivers.