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Cyclist Killed on Thompson
Paradise Valley Continues to
Open Letter to Paradise Valley
Police Chief John Bennett
Stop Sign Bill Stalled
Old Pueblo Grand Prix – March 17
Tumacacori Circuit Race –
Cyclovia Tucson – March 18
Hungry Dog Criterium – March 24
Tour de Cure – March 24
Sonoita-Bisbee Spring Bike
Tour – March 24 & 25
CAzB’s Memorial Ride for
Safety – March 24
Cotton Classic Individual Time
Trial – March 25
San Tan Criterium – March 31
Great Arizona Bicycle Festival
– April 14
Alta Alpina Challenge – June 30
About Arizona Road Cyclist
Cyclist Killed on Thompson Peak Parkway
Scottsdale cyclist Shawn McCarty, age 53, was struck and
killed by a black Chevrolet Tahoe SUV that reportedly swerved into the
bike lane at about 4:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon while riding northbound on
Thompson Peak Parkway just north of 100th Street. The driver was
identified in press reports as Amy Alexander, age 40, of Scottsdale.
I don't know if cell phone usage played a role in this
tragic accident, but I would be in favor of a law that required the
police to subpoena the cell phone records of any driver who causes an
accident that results in injury or death. If the person is found to have
been talking or texting on the cell phone at the time of the accident, I
believe that fact should trigger a lengthy jail sentence.
Paradise Valley Continues to Harass Cyclists
Those of us who thought that police harassment of cyclists
in Paradise Valley would cease with the retirement of the anti-cyclist former
police chief John Wintersteen were wrong. The harassment continues under
Chief John Bennett..
My most recent
experience occurred on this past Saturday as I was cycling home from the
Wheezers and Geezers ride. I was cycling eastbound on McDonald Drive when
a passenger car attempted to squeeze by me in violation of the three-foot
law in a spot where there was obviously no room to pass. I yelled at the
driver: "That was really stupid!" The driver turned out to be
Paradise Valley police officer Corporal Nigel Williams in an unmarked
police car. Oooops! He pulled me over and asked me to repeat what I had
said, and I did.
To make a long story short, he tried to find a statute to
cite me, but he couldn't until he asked me for my driver's license. When
I told him that I wasn't required to carry my driver's license while
cycling, he disagreed. He finally wrote me up under ARS 28-812, the statute that
states that many of the laws that apply to motorists (although not the
one requiring motorists to be in possession of a driver's license) also
apply to cyclists.
I have written an open letter to Paradise Valley Police
chief John Bennett requesting that the Paradise Valley Police stop
harassing law-abiding cyclists and that a citation be issued to Corporal
Nigel Williams for violating the three-foot law. Evidence for the
violation should have been recorded by the video camera mounted on the
windshield of his unmarked patrol car. If you wish to read that letter
and join the campaign to stop the harassment and get this scofflaw police
officer cited, a copy of the letter and the email addresses of many
Paradise Valley officials follows in the next article.
Open Letter to Paradise Valley Police Chief John Bennett
Chief John Bennett -- email@example.com
6433 East Lincoln Drive
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253
Police Commander Alan Latsch
Mayor Scott LeMarr -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Vice Mayor Mary Hamway -- email@example.com
Town Manager James C. Bacon
Jr. -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Town Attorney Andrew M. Miller
Valley Town Council Members
Lisa Trueblood -- email@example.com
Michael Collins -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Pam Kirby -- email@example.com
Paul E. Dembow -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Vernon B. Parker -- email@example.com
Road Cyclist News Website www.azroadcyclist.com
& Geezers Blog geezerride.blogspot.com
harassment of cyclists in Paradise Valley.
Ref: Officer #157 and traffic complaint #37502, DR# 2012-3791
Dear Chief Bennett,
excuse the long missive, but I cannot find a way to make it shorter.
am writing about a longstanding complaint that Paradise Valley police
officers harass bicyclists who are riding in full compliance with the
law. I have had several experiences in the past of riding in groups who
were harassed by Paradise Valley police officers. My latest experience
involves one of your officers who, in my opinion, misused his authority
as a police officer by writing a bogus traffic ticket to get revenge on
me when I accused him of endangering my life and violating ARS 28-735 in his
unmarked police car. I request in the interest of justice that the
officer be issued a traffic citation for his infraction. The evidence to
support the citation should be found in the video recorded by the camera
mounted in the windshield of his patrol car.
cannot make out the officer’s name on the citation, but his ID# is listed
as 157, and I have since learned that that ID# belongs to Corporal Nigel
On Saturday, March 10 at
approximately 11:45 a.m., I was cycling eastbound on McDonald Drive,
which is a narrow street with a median. I was wearing a mirror on my
glasses, and I was therefore very aware of traffic approaching from
behind. Although under ARS
28-735 the street is too narrow for a motor vehicle to legally
overtake a bicycle in the sections where there is a median, each time a
car approached from behind, I pulled over onto the concrete shoulder to
allow it to pass.
the officer approached me from behind in his unmarked patrol car, I would
have pulled onto the narrow concrete shoulder to allow him to pass also,
but the shoulder and part of the traffic lane were occupied by
pedestrians, forcing me to remain in the traffic lane, as was my legal
right. If I remember correctly, I put out my left hand to signal to the
driver not to pass until it was safe to do so.
According to ARS
28-815, I had a right to move away from the right side of the
lane according to two sub-paragraphs: “If reasonably necessary to avoid
conditions including…pedestrians…” and “If the lane in which the person
is operating the bicycle is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to
travel safely side by side within the lane.” I was cycling in full
compliance with that law. The officer would have only had to wait a few
seconds for me to be able to pull off the street and allow him to pass,
but he chose not to wait.
ARS 28-735 reads in part “When overtaking
and passing a bicycle proceeding in the same direction, a person driving
a motor vehicle shall exercise due care by leaving a safe distance
between the motor vehicle and the bicycle of not less than three feet….”
officer attempted to overtake me, even though there was obviously no room
for him to do so. At the last moment and touched his brakes when his
bumper was much closer to my bike than the legally required three feet.
He came very close to striking the rear of my bicycle.
I passed the pedestrians and moved out of street and onto the narrow
shoulder, I yelled at the driver of the car (I did not yet realize that
the scofflaw driver was a police officer) “That was really stupid!” At
that point, the officer sounded his klaxon, and I pulled off the road to
the right onto Cameldale Way and stopped. As the uniformed officer got
out of his car, he asked me what I had said, and I repeated “That was
pointing out to a uniformed police officer that he’s done something
stupid is not wise, especially when it is true, but it is not against the
law, and I was understandable angry at the officer’s disregard for the
law and for my safety.
won’t go though the entire discussion that ensued, but suffice it to say
that the officer was very angry and self-righteous about being accused of
wrongdoing. Out of anger, he adopted the attitude that it had been me and
not he who had just committed a traffic infraction, although he was
unable to name which infraction I might have committed until he asked me
for my driver’s license, and I replied that I was not required to carry a
driver’s license while cycling. He alleged that I was breaking the law by
cycling without carrying a driver’s license. I pointed out that Arizona
28-3151] requires a person who operates “a motor vehicle” to have
a driver’s license and does not apply to self-propelled means of
transportation. As he was unable to come up with any specific statute
that I had violated (although he continued to insist that a driver's
license is required to ride a bicycle) he wrote me a ticket for
supposedly violating ARS
28-812, which reads:
A person riding a bicycle on a roadway or on a
shoulder adjoining a roadway is granted all of the rights and is subject
to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this
chapter and chapters 4 and 5 of this title, except special rules in this
article and except provisions of this chapter and chapters 4 and 5 of
this title that by their nature can have no application.
claimed that that citation would cover my riding a bicycle without
carrying a driver's license.
I think this is plain silly.
First, as the statute above states, not all laws apply to both bicycles
and motor vehicles. Some laws apply specifically to bicycles, and others
apply specifically to motor vehicles. The requirement to have a driver’s
license applies specifically to motor vehicles. If bicycle riders were
required to have a driver’s license, the police could pull over and
ticket every kid cycling to school. Additionally, ARS28-812
states that it applies only to Chapters 3, 4, and 5 of the Arizona
Revised Statutes. ARS
28-3151 is in Chapter 8.
Second, if I
had not been in compliance with ARS 28-812, I must
have violated some statute that applies to both bicycles and motor
vehicles, and I should have been cited for violating that statute, but I
was not and for good reason: There was no such violation. By writing such
a generic citation that could cover the violation of any number of
statutes in Chapters 3, 4, and 5 of the Arizona Revised Statutes,
Corporal Williams may believe that he has the flexibility to accuse me of
almost anything in the civil traffic hearing, but according to Arizona's Civil Traffic Rules and Procedure,
that is not the case. Rule 8 reads: "A
complaint is legally sufficient if it contains either a written
description or the statutory designation of the alleged violation."
There is no written indication of what I am alleged to have done wrong.
case is not unique. You may be aware that cyclists’ complaints about
Paradise Valley Police harassment go back years and predate your position
as Chief of Police. Let me be clear: The Paradise Valley Police
Department has every right to stop, warn and/or ticket any cyclist who
violates a traffic law such as running a stop sign, but it has no right
to continue to harass cyclists who are in full compliance with the law,
and its officers have no right to endanger cyclists by violating the laws
I plan to use my traffic ticket
as a means of bringing the problem of police harassment of cyclists in
Paradise Valley to public attention in the hope of generating pressure
for reform. I don’t know if the problem that some of your police officers
have with cyclists is caused by a poor attitude or if it due to a lack of
training. I suspect it is a combination of both. Only you can change the
attitude part by indicating to your officers that scofflaw behavior
towards cyclists will not be tolerated. As mentioned above, a good start
would be to cite the officer who endangered me for violation of the
three-foot law, ARS
The second step is to educate
your officers as to what is and what is not legal cycling behavior. Many
of them do not know that now, especially when ARS 28-815
is concerned. The Coalition of Arizona Bicyclists
offers a course in traffic law pertaining to bicycles, a course that is
especially designed for law-enforcement officers. It might be a good idea
to arrange such a course for your officers with a special emphasis on ARS 28-815.
Returning to this particular
officer, I once again beg you to review the video from the camera in the
unmarked patrol car that Corporal Nigel Williams was driving that day. If
the video substantiates my claim that the officer violated ARS 28-735, I
request that he be issued a traffic citation, not for my sake, but to
send a message to all cyclists that the Paradise Valley Police Department
is finally going to adopt a zero-tolerance policy when it come to
officers' misusing their authority to harass law-abiding cyclists.
summary, although I have related a personal experience, my experience is
indicitive of the problems that many cyclists have been having with the
Paradise Valley Police Department for years. I do not understand why the
Town of Paradise Valley, through its police department, continues to
alienate a large segment of the population including people who are in
full compliance with the law.
Jack Quinn, editor
Arizona Road Cyclist News
PS/ This e-mail and any
replies from any representative of the Town of Paradise Valley will be
published unless otherwise agreed in advance.
Stop Sign Bill Stalled
I suppose it will come to a surprise to no one that the
bill that would permit cyclists to treat stop signs as if they were yield
signs, House Bill 2211, is stalled in the House of the Arizona
Legislature. The bill passed the Transportation Committee on January 26,
but in order to reach the floor for a vote of the full House, it still
needs to be approved by the Military Affairs and Public Saftey (MAPS) and
Rules Committees. I believe that the chance of the bill’s of coming to a
vote in either committee is almost zero.
To check on the bill’s progress for yourself, click here.
Old Pueblo Grand Prix – March 17
As its name implies, the Old Pueblo Grand Prix (OPGP)
takes place in Tucson. (In case you were wondering, grand prix is French for “big prize.”) This is a chance to
combine the Saint Patrick’s Day celebration with a major bike race that
is the second in the series of major criteriums held across the country
as part of the USA Crits
Championship Series. The race is part of a weekend of cycling
events that includes Cyclovia Tucson the following day (see below).
This criterium has some major sponsorship backing and
should have a juicy prize list. The course, which is located near East
Broadway Boulevard and South Sixth Avenue in Tucson, has its start/finish
line in front of the Cathedral of Saint Augustine.
Registration is online through BikeReg.com. Early
registration closes on March 6, after which there will be a $5
late-registration fee added. Day-of-race registration is available with a
To view the race’s Website, click here.
Tumacacori Circuit Race – March 18
The Tumacacoria Road Race is a circuit race on a six-mile
loop and will take place the day after Saint Patrick’s Day in Tumacacori,
near Río Rico, which is 68 miles south of Tucson or not too far north of
The circuit course is reported to have sharp corners,
climbs, descents and rollers with 460 feet of vertical climbing per lap.
The distance to be raced varies from 72 miles for professional, category
1, and category 2 men to 12 miles (two circuits) for 15-to-16-year-old
Juniors race for free. Most other racers pay an entry fee
of $30, and the top men’s and women’s categories pay $35. There is a $5
late-registration fee after March 12.
You can view the race’s Web page by clicking here and the race
brochure in PDF format by clicking here.
Cyclovia Tucson – March 18
According to the Cyclovia Website, “Cyclovia Tucson is an
annual car-free event that opens selected streets to people so that they
can walk, skate, run, bicycle, and socialize with their neighbors.” It’s
a free event, open to the public, and "fun for people of all ages.”
Cyclovia Tucson is the second event in a weekend of cycling fun that
commences with March 17's Old Pueblo Grand Prix (see above).
Cyclovia takes place on March 18 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.,
starting in downtown Tucson, and makes a five-mile loop to the south. In
honor of the event, the Pima County Board of Supervisors has proclaimed
the week of March 21 to March 27 to be Cyclovia Tucson Week.
For more information about this free event, including a
route map and the opportunity to purchase a Cyclovia Tucson T-shirt,
Hungry Dog Criterium – March 24
The Hungry Dog Criterium takes place on March 24. According to the flyer, the race will take
place (assuming it does take place) on a closed course south of the Loop
202 between Val Vista Drive and Greenfield Road in Mesa. Registration is
$30 for the first race and $10 for an additional race. Juniors pay no
entry fee but will have to pay the $2 USA Cycling insurance fee.
Registration will apparently be onsite. The number of race
catagories is limited. There is one field for all juniors, only two fields
for all women of all ages.
To view the race brochure in PDF format, click here.
Tour de Cure – March 24
The Tour de Cure is an annual ride to raise funds to fight
diabetes. The ride is held in cities throughout the USA. Riders are
expected to raise money through donations and pledges.
This year’s Phoenix-area event offers rides of four
different lengths: 80 miles, a 62-mile metric century, a 34-mile scenic
route, and an 8-mile family fun ride. All routes are to be fully SAGed,
and a party with lunch and entertainment is promised after the ride. It
sounds like great fun.
To view the ride’s Website, click here.
Sonoita-Bisbee Spring Bike Tour – March 24 & 25
The Tucson-based Greater Arizona Bicycling Association’s
(GABA) annual Sonoita-Bisbee bicycling tour is one of the most delightful
bike trips in Arizona, passing through the rolling high-desert country of
Southern Arizona with a stop in the historic town of Tombstone thrown in
for good measure. Of course, what is a delightful ride to a conditioned
cyclist can be pure torture to someone who is out of shape. Be aware that
this tour involves significant climbing.
Cycling starts on the morning of March 24 in the town of
Sonoita. Camping is available the night before in the Sonoita
Fairgrounds. In a departure from previous years, there will be no
arranged camping Saturday night in Bisbee, so make your hotel
reservations early. The limited number of hotel rooms book up quickly on
the weekend of this tour.
On day one, riders will pedal through the town of
Tombstone, which is always worth a stop. After Tombstone comes the long
climb up Mule Pass before welcome descent into Bisbee.
The second day starts with a descent past the Lavender Pit
Copper Mine to the lower section of Bisbee and a right turn at the
traffic circle to head towards Palominas and Miracle Valley (also
known as Hereford).
From Miracle Valley the ride continues through Sierra
Vista, and Mustang Corners back to Sonoita. In previous years, the ride has
passed through Fort Huachuca, but there is no mention of a ride through
the military reservation on the Website for this year’s ride.
The cost of the ride for those who register in advance is
$70 for GABA and Arizona Bike Club members and $80 for others. Add
another $10 if you register on the day of the ride. You are responsible
for your own lodgings in Bisbee.
To view the ride’s Web page, click here.
CAzB’s Memorial Ride for Safety – March 24
Coalition of Arizona Bicyclists’ Safety Ride takes place
this year on March 24. There are three ride options: a 100-kilometer
(62-mile) metric century, a 50-kilometer half metric century, and a
five-mile family fun ride. All rides start at Iron Gear Sports, which I
believe is located on Power Road just south of McDowell in Mesa. The 100-
and 50-kilometer rides cost $25 for members of ABC, PMBC, GABA, and CAzB who
register by March 23. Non-members pay $30. Day-of-ride registration is available
for an additional five bucks. The registration fee for these two rides
The family fun ride is free, and lunch is available for
The 100-kilometer ride over Brown Road, Country Club, and
the Beeline Highway our to Fountain Hills and Fort McDowell. The route
then passes through a section of the Tonto National Forest (where are the
trees?) past Saguaro Lake to the Salt River Recreation Center. It then
climbs over Usery Pass before heading back to town.
The 50-kilometer route goes as far north as Gilbert Road
before cutting over to McDowell Road and heading home.
To view the rides Web page, click here.
Cotton Classic Individual Time Trial – March 25
The Cotton Classic is a 20-kilometer out-and-back
individual time trial that starts and ends in Arizona City. Registration
will be at the Mesquite Grove Assisted Living Building, 16286 South
Sunland Gin Road in Arizona City. This course is frequently used for the
Arizona State Time Trial Championship races, so it is a good way to both
learn the course and judge the competition.
There will be categories for all racers including juniors
by age and masters in five-year increments. There will also be a
fixed-gear category, a mountain bike category, and a recumbent category.
Registration, which can be performed onsite or the evening before that
race in Tucson, is $20 for adults and $3 for juniors.
Information on the 2012 race was not yet available as this
was written, but as soon as it is, there should be a link on Team Saguaro
Velo’s Website, which you can view by clicking here.
San Tan Criterium – March 31
The annual San Tan Criterium will take place this year on
March 31 in Mesa just south of Falcon Field south of East McKellips
Street and west of North Highley Road. There will be races for men from
juniors through age 60+ and for women from juniors through age 50+.
Registration is $30 online until March 28 and onsite the day of the race
with a $5.00 late-registration adder.
To view the race’s Webpage, click here.
Great Arizona Bicycle Festival – April 14
Mark your calendar now for a day of bicycle-centric fun.
The Great Arizona Bicycle Festival takes place in Mesa, Arizona on
Saturday, April 14 and includes a plethora of bicycle-related events including
the 70-mile El Tour de Mesa, which starts and finishes at Center and
First Streets. For those who are not up to a 70-mile ride, there is a
shorter, 28-mile version an a four-mile fun ride that might be suitable
for riding with the younger children.
Other events include a Ciclovia, in which the main streets
in downtown Mesa will be closed to those pesky motorized vehicles and
open to bikes. A cyclist’s swap meet featuring vintage bike parts and
accessories will be held from 6 a.m. (cyclists tend to be early risers)
to 3 p.m. The Kids’ Fun Zone will include bounce houses, face painting,
games, and free make-and-take crafts. Kids will also have the opportunity
to participate in a Bicycle Safety Rodeo in which they will practice bike
handling and bike safety while riding through an obstacle course. MACFest
is billed as an arts-themed festival with artists’ creations, music, and
other fun events.
Some of Arizona’s top bike shops will be on hand to sell
cycle-related merchandise, do giveaways, and repair bikes. What event
would be complete without a touchy-feely Holistic Healing and Natural
Fitness Festival? Finally, there will be a self-guided bike tour through
the neighborhood north of Main Street with ten stops.
To view the event’s Website, click here.
Alta Alpina Challenge – June 30
This ride doesn’t take place until the height of the
summer, but because it takes place in the cool mountains of Northern
California and Nevada, it is probably something you want to plan for in
advance, so here’s the info.
The Alta Alpina Challenge starts at Turtle Rock Park in
Alpine Country in California near Lake Tahoe and the Nevada border. This
ride is just the thing for those looking for a high-altitude, tough ride
away from the Arizona desert at the peak of the Arizona hot season. How
long is the ride? Well, take your pick. For those looking for some family
fun with the kids there are two family fun rides. Choose either the 15-
or 20-mile option.
Feel like getting a workout? There are rides for you. For
the real wussies, there is the Wild Sierra Metric, a 64-mile ride with a
mere 5,000 feet of climbing. Piece a` cake!
For those who like to stretch their legs, there is the
5-Pass Challenge. This is a bit more reasonable with 16,000 feet of
climbing in 134 miles. That’s enough to get your heart beating and make
it feel as if you’ve had a modest workout. However, I know that many of
my readers will consider this to be a sissy ride, soooo……
How about the 8-pass challenge? Now we’re talking about a
real bicycle ride. The route is 198 miles long and features 20,300 feet
of climbing. Need to make it a full double century? You can always cruise
around the parking lot a few times at the end of the ride to make the
full 200 miles.
Until May 1, the cost of the rides is $25 for the Family
Fun Ride, $50 for the Wild Sierra full or metric century, $90 for the
5-Pass Challenge, and $100 for the 8-Pass Challenge. In addition to
excellent support on the ride, you’ll receive a T-shirt. Riders can also
purchase a ride jersey, and those who finish the 8-pass challenger get
the bragging rights of the 8-Pass Finisher’s jersey.
Connect to the Alta Alpina Challenge Website by clicking here.
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