According to a recent article on the leading Tucson-area cycling web site, a group of about 40 bicycle riders were stopped by local Sheriff’s deputies while participating in the regularly-scheduled Saturday morning “Shootout” bicycle ride.
Approximately 25 riders were cited by authorities for failing to stop at a stop sign at the corner of Mission Road and Duval Mine Road. The officers indicated that the bikers were issued citations due to a targeted enforcement action following “numerous 911 calls.” The citations were given in hopes of reducing future bicycle collisions.
Local citizens contacted the authorities because the cyclists had been habitually failing to stop at this intersection and possibly others during Shootouts. It seems that neighbors in the area are concerned about the danger of bicycle accidents.
Safety in numbers?
Several cyclists indicated that the group’s practice had been for the leading riders to stop at intersections to check for vehicle traffic, and the remainder of the rider pack would then continue through the intersection without stopping.
Some members of the cycling group claimed that it was “safer” for the group to continue moving through intersections without stopping, while others acknowledged that Arizona law requires all riders to stop individually.
When interviewed after the incident, a Sheriff’s spokeswoman said that the laws must be obeyed by each rider.
She indicated that there are no special provisions allowing a group of cyclists to ride through marked stop signs or other intersections in Arizona without stopping individually, unless such intersections had been previously marked and blocked, as for example during an organized and approved bicycle race.
Safety laws help protect riders against bicycle collisions
Although the Sheriff’s deputies may have seemed mean-spirited in issuing citations, they were simply upholding the safety laws in citing the riders, which may help avoid bicycle collisions.
Laws requiring cyclists to stop at marked signs and intersections help protect riders and their families by reducing the risks of bike accidents, especially those involving much larger and heavier motor vehicles which share Arizona roadways.
Some riders complained that members of the Shootout group riding together were so densely packed that it was “safer” for them not to stop individually at the subject intersection, yet the reality is that riders are safest when riding with a safe stopping distance between them.
A group of bicycle riders is no more immune to bicycle collisions than individual riders, so the safest riding method is always to stop each bike individually at each intersection, regardless of whether other riders choose to take a chance on riding through a stop sign as a group.
Cycling is a fun, healthy activity, and it can be done safely with the right preparations and safety measures, including stopping individually at all stop signs and intersections, in order to look for oncoming traffic before proceeding onward.
Still, even the safest riders may occasionally be involved in a bicycle accident, especially when motor vehicle drivers are careless or inattentive.
If you or someone you know has been involved in a bike accident anywhere in Tucson or Pima County, regardless of whose fault it may have been, you should contact the Bob Barber Law firm, Tucson’s leading bicycle collision attorneys.
Bob Barber can review the circumstances of your bicycle accident, advise you about the available options, and help win the financial relief to which you are entitled. To learn more, call the Bob Barber Law firm at 520-293-4440.