[UPDATE: click here to read a reply from Priscilla Cornelio, Director Pima County DOT]
Dear Chairman Valadez, Supervisors Elias, Bronson, Carroll, and Day; and Sheriff Dupnik:
The purpose of this letter is to thank Pima County for the excellent work you have been doing in support of bicyclist access and safety throughout the County and to request balanced education and enforcement of drivers and bicyclists to help everyone safely share the road.
We understand that Pima County has recently been requested to increase enforcement related to bicyclists in the Tucson Mountain Park regarding various concerns, including speeding, riding more than two abreast, slowing traffic, and other issues. We understand concerns about the Park safety and we support reasonable education of bicyclists as appropriate.
But, we also understand that according to information presented at the March 10th meeting of the Tucson-Pima County Bicycle Advisory Committee, 98 percent of recorded traffic crashes within Tucson Mountain Park over the past decade were caused by drivers. Only 8 crashes out of a total of 337 in an 11-year period involved bicycles.
It was reported that of the 337 crashes from 1999 through 2009, there were 325 that were the driver’s fault, with a small additional number involving drivers hitting wild animals within the Park. Only two of the crashes out of 337 were the fault of bicyclists. Another crash was due to the mechanical failure of a bicycle, and one was joint-fault of both a driver and a bicyclist.
It was also reported that 52 percent of the driver crashes were due to speeding, with the remainder being primarily due to driver inattention, failure to yield, failure to obey stop signs, and other driver-caused infractions.
We therefore respectfully request that a majority of the education and enforcement in Tucson Mountain Park be focused on those drivers who are the primary cause of traffic crashes, property damage, injuries, and deaths. In addition to enforcement related to speeding drivers, we would also like to specifically request enforcement of the 3-foot safe passing law (ARS 28-735), vehicular harassment of cyclists, and failure to stop or to yield when making turns.
We understand that the Pima County Sheriff’s Office has limited ability to educate and enforce, and that the Sheriff’s Department does an excellent job with traffic safety with limited resources.
Thank you very much for your ongoing concern for safely sharing the roads and for considering the bicyclists’ view of the above factual data. For any further discussion of this matter, we may be contacted at the above address.
President, Coalition of Arizona Bicyclists