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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : opinions : editorials October 3, 2015

1/28/2012 1:09:00 PM
Editorial: Rules of the road should apply equally for cyclists

Throughout Arizona and especially here in the Verde Valley, we have been educated on the laws relating to the shared use of highways by motorists and cyclists.

In a nutshell, cyclists have the same rights to use streets and roads as do motorists.

In recognition of this, we’ve seen considerable improvements to our roads that make them more compatible for shared use by motorists and cyclists alike. The new-and-improved Cornville Road is a perfect example of this shared-use road design philosophy.

But even on older roads that seem to be an accident waiting to happen when cars and bicycles compete for space, Arizona law still demands that these are to be shared use thoroughfares.

Kudos to the local cycling community for educating us so thoroughly on their rights to the road. Ditto to the local governments that construct shared-use streets and roads in recognition of the law.

All of the above would assume that the laws relating to use of these roads would be the same for cyclists as they are for motorists.

Not so, according to some in the cycling community.

Now making its way through the Arizona Legislature is a bill being championed by a lawmaker and cycling enthusiast who wants to give cyclists discretion over whether they will actually stop at a stop sign. State Rep. Eric Meyer, D-Paradise Valley, a cycling enthusiast, said having to come to a full stop actually is dangerous, not just for those on bikes but others around them.

He therefore is championing a proposed law that would let cyclists treat stop signs as yield signs.

What seems to be ignored here is the potential disaster for the cyclist who makes the wrong call in the path of an oncoming car.

Granted, there are many drivers who often treat stop signs as if they were a yield warning. If no one is coming in the other direction, the old “rolling stop” gives way to the letter of the law. People do it all the time, but when they do it when a cop is around they get a ticket.

This no-stop-signs-for cyclists measure being considered at the Capitol is a double-standard that just begs for trouble. It will lead to carelessness among cyclists and is indeed a disaster waiting to happen.

Further, it’s just a tad hypocritical and arrogant to ask for such a thing after all the hyperbole on the shared-use rights of cyclists.

Shared use requires shared rules and responsibility for everyone involved.

Related Stories:
• Proposed law would allow cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, January 29, 2012
Article comment by: Carl Nye - Jerome

Let's take the proposition one step beyond... make stop signs be treated as yield signs for ALL users of the road. Yes, I mean drivers too. All of us know someone who has received a ticket for the "rolling stop" when no one is coming. Usually this is not motivated by any measure of safety, but only to meet some ticket-issuing quota, or to bring in more fine money to the police budget. Next on the agenda - flexible speed limits. Someone please explain why a four lane divided highway (89A from Cottonwood to Clarkdale) is a 45 mph speed limit, but after turning toward Jerome, as a two lane twisted blind curve highway it is posted at 50 mph. How much fine money has been collected on that new stretch, compared to tickets on the old road? I totally believe in reckless driving tickets, but not in speeding tickets. Even 45 mph would be reckless in a blizzard. The speed limit of "reasonable and proper" concept should apply, not some fixed number. Why should I have to ride my brakes down twelfth street (between Elm and 89A) in order to avoid going over 25, just to avoid a ticket? How about some common sense here?

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