In response: Cycling in Paradise Valley

The Tuesday morning ride from Gainey Shoppes originated in 2001 as a group ride for triathletes at Gainey Village Health Club on Doubletree Ranch Road.

Preston Miller

The group grew over the years, as many of the better cyclists came to ride with others of similar talent and has included professional cyclists and triathletes, but is mainly local cyclists getting a good workout.

The distance is 25 miles and takes about 1 hour 20 minutes, starting at 5:30 am. The schedule and route are the same every Tuesday.

Over the years, the Paradise Valley Police Department has monitored the speed and conduct of the group, and has stopped the group on occasion to reinforce the importance of safe riding to include obeying speed limits, traffic signals, and using common sense on the roads.

To accommodate some of the important issues, the ride route has been changed twice in the last two years in order to avoid excessive speed on Hummingbird Lane, and the downhill stop signs on both Hummingbird and 61st Place.

For the last few years, Ms. McCauley has complained to both the police and town officials about cyclists “speeding” and “riding dangerously” on Hummingbird and Quartz Mountain Road.

She has, at times, positioned herself in the road to intentionally cause an accident, even jumping out from behind some bushes as the ride comes by. Certainly, no cyclist wants to harm or hit anyone because the consequences would be life threatening for both.

As you stated in your article, cyclists are entitled to ride wherever motor vehicles travel, and must abide by the same laws. Unfortunately, pedestrians seeing a bicycle coming toward them at 15 or 20 mph have an illusion of much greater speed, and don’t realize a car at the same speed creates a much great danger. In one example, on a Tuesday morning on Quartz

Mountain Road, a Paradise Valley motor cycle officer, in response to Ms. McCauley’s complaints, positioned himself near the bottom of a downhill portion to watch the cyclists go by. As they arrived Ms. McCauley came in the opposite direction, facing traffic (which is the correct place to walk).

The cyclists all moved over to allow her space. Then, when a car approached, she, pulling her dog, stepped off the road to avoid being hit.

When the car passed, she stepped back onto the road and walked right into the remaining cyclists. This is all recorded on the officer’s body cam.

The informal leaders of the ride continually give safety briefings, and when necessary, warnings to anyone riding in an unsafe manner, and several of us are in regular contact with The Paradise Valley Police Department in a continuing dialogue about cycling and safety.

Unfortunately, some people, not just those few on Hummingbird and Quartz Mountain, feel threatened or “invaded” by a group of cyclists, when they are no more dangerous then a passing car or truck. In fact, the cyclists are usually more careful, and more maneuverable than cars and trucks.

So, my points are: 1) Respect and afford cyclists the same caution and consideration you would for a motor vehicle, and expect them to obey the same laws. 2) Since you know the precise time and place the ride passes every Tuesday, why would you put yourself in that position, except to purposefully cause an incident.

I would encourage anyone with concerns about cyclists anywhere in Paradise Valley to contact me and accompany me to watch the Tuesday ride go through our neighborhoods.

Editor’s note: Mr. Miller is a resident of Paradise Valley

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