Valley 101 on Bicyclist’s rights

Arizona Republic “Valley 101” tackles bicycle laws in today’s column. In Valley 101, columnist Clay Thompson offers his look at life in Arizona, and answers questions about living here.

I am confused about the rights of bicyclists on the road where there is no bike path. I always thought that when cycling, you should ride single file, especially when there is no bike path and there is a lot of traffic. I am amazed that many of these groups ride all over the road in their groups, not heeding traffic.
This is a tad confusing.
First of all, the rules of the road say that bicycles should be treated pretty much like any other vehicle on the road, but they also pretty much have to obey the same rules of the road as other vehicles.
However, Arizona law — ARS 28-815 — says bicyclists travelling at less than the current normal speed “shall not ride more than two abreast” unless they are on bike paths or sections of road especially set aside for bicycles.
There also is a statute that says if you are going much slower than the normal flow of traffic on a two-lane road and at least five other vehicles back up behind you should pull over as soon as possible. But that rule does not mention bicycles.
Here’s what I think:
First of all, keep your eyes open around bicyclists, just as they need to keep their eyes open around you.
Secondly, I see bicyclists riding more than two abreast, but I’ve never seen them doing so on a two-lane road.
Assuming you’re not in labor or bleeding copiously, what’s your big hurry?
Life is short. Stay chilled and you’ll get around them sooner or later.
Reach Thompson at clay.thompson@arizonarepublic.com or 602-444-8612.
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