Pace: both motorist and bicyclist can share the road

The Paradise Valley Town Council and Planning Commission have heard concerns and complaints recently from motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists about discourteous and potentially unsafe practices on our roads.

Julie Pace

Motorists have complained that bicyclists interfere with the flow of traffic. Bicyclists have complained about motorists who crowd their access to roadways. Pedestrians have complained about bicyclists who run stop signs or ride more than two abreast.

All three groups have requested stricter enforcement of traffic laws by our police department. The police department has increased its monitoring and citation activity to improve public safety. Police enforcement activity is beneficial primarily as a deterrent to unsafe behavior, and the town continues to receive complaints about incidents that occur when the police are not present.

First, we all own safety and need to be a part of the safety solution. Accidents are preventable and it takes each person exercising caution and making good safety choices to avoid harm and damages.

Second, let’s review some of the rules of the road and learn what it means to share the road. Here are some of the rules and recommendations for extending respectful treatment of others while sharing the road:

Tips for cyclists:

  1. Obey stop signs at intersections. There is no Idaho Stop in Arizona.
  2. Never ride more than two abreast, especially when it is dark. Do not take over entire roads.
  3. In traffic, cyclists should ride single file on the right side of the road.
  4. Anticipate hazards and slow down at intersections and driveways when vehicular traffic or pedestrians may be present.
  5. Increase your visibility through bright clothing, lights and reflectors.
  6. Obey the speed limit. Use speed that is reasonable and prudent for road conditions.
  7. Ride slowly around blind curves and be cautious on steep inclines.
  8. Do not cycle on private property, such as steep private driveways or through private, open gates (HOAs or resorts).
  9. Avoid headphones use as they impede the ability to hear approaching traffic.
  10. Be courteous, especially when riding in a group.
  11. Be particularly careful during early morning hours when it is dark to ensure that you do not hit or have a near miss with early morning walkers and joggers.
  12. Don’t hit vehicles that are in motion.
  13. Do not urinate on public roadways or on private property.
  14. Avoid taking risks.

Tips for motorists:

  1. Obey the speed limit, as that increases reaction time to avoid cyclists and pedestrians.
  2. Drive slowly around cyclists and pedestrians.
  3. Drive slowly around blind curves and be cautious on steep inclines.
  4. Anticipate hazards, stop at intersections and slow down near driveways where pedestrians or bicycle traffic may be present.
  5. Yield to cyclists and pedestrians when turning.
  6. Keep a distance of at least three (3) feet of separation when passing cyclists.
  7. When driving on Town roads with sporadic medians and tight roadway space, slow down when passing cyclists and pedestrians. When possible, give cyclist and pedestrian traffic space by moving to the left side of the traffic lane.
  8. Do not text while driving. Texting while driving causes 25 percent of all driving accidents. Drivers who are texting while behind the wheel have a 23 percent higher chance of causing a crash.
  9. Do not operate a vehicle while impaired either through alcohol, drugs, medical marijuana or prescription drugs.
  10. Do not drive while angry.
  11. Control tempers and frustrations while driving. Just because someone else does something wrong or unsafe, do not react similarly. Show leadership and take the safe action.
  12. Avoid taking risks.

Tips for pedestrians and runners:

  1. Walk on the sidewalk whenever one is available.
  2. If there is not a sidewalk, walk on the left side, facing the traffic.
  3. Wear clothing that increases visibility, especially if walking at dusk, dawn or in the dark, including carrying a flashlight and having reflectors.
  4. Avoid headphone use as they impede the ability to hear approaching traffic.
  5. Make visible eye contact with driver of vehicle before stepping in front of a vehicle or crossing a road or driveway.
  6. Carry identification with you.
  7. Do not urinate on public roadways or on private property.
  8. Avoid taking risks.

Together we can have a safe, beautiful community that all can enjoy. Whether walking, jogging, cycling or driving, we all need to share the road and exhibit professional courtesies to one another. Our town’s roads are curvy, narrow, and can be steep. Road design options may be needed in some areas. This is a town of residences and resorts so people are walking, hiking, cycling and driving.

Please do your part to act and respond respectfully and appropriately when sharing the road.

Editor’s note: Ms. Pace is a member of Paradise Valley Town Council

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