Monday, February 23, 2009

Group riding skills

An article inside the back cover of the most recent issue of VeloNews got me to thinking. The article was about group rides, and there was a brief list of the skills that one should have to ride in a group such as our Wheezers and Geezers. To modify the list slightly and put it in my own words, I think that riders should have the skills to 1) ride in a straight line in a paceline with one hand on the bars so that the rider is able to point out obsticales or take a swig from the water bottle, 2) be able to ride a rotating pace line or else have enough sense to stay at the back of the pack out of the way when riders are rotating pulls at the front, 3) be able to follow the wheel in front of them in a steady manner, i.e. without swerving and at a relatively constant distance without the alternating pedaling and coasting that make the pace so jerky for those behind. -- Jack Quinn

Monday, February 9, 2009

Bicycling Through Stop Signs Could Become Legal in Arizona

In a past issue of Arizona Road Cyclist News, I mentioned that the State of Idaho allows cyclists to essentially treat red traffic lights as stop signs and and stop signs as red lights. Now Arizona may take a step in that direction. The Idaho approach makes sense, because cyclists are often unable to trip traffic lights that only change in response to sensors embedded in the road, and cyclists are often able to clear stop signs more rapidly and more safely, especially four-way stop signs, if they do not come to a complete stop and maintain some momentum. Of course, Arizona law already recognizes the right of a vehicle or a bicycle to cautiously proceed through a red light if the driver or cyclist is absolutely sure that the vehicle or bicycle cannot trigger the light.

Now, Ed Beighe of the Coalition of Arizona Bicyclists has drawn my attention to the fact that a bill has been introduced in the Arizona Legislature that would give Arizona bicyclists the right to treat stop signs as yield signs. In other words, cyclists approaching a stop sign would be required to slow down, look both ways, and then ride through the intersection without making a complete stop, if there were no cross traffic approaching

The proposal has been introduced as House Bill 2475 and has nine sponsors and co-sponsors. It would modify Arizona Revised Statute Section 28-855 Subsection C to read as follows. If the bill passes, the blue text will be added to the statute, and the red text will be deleted.

C. The driver of a vehicle approaching a yield sign and any person riding a bicycle approaching a yield sign or a stop sign shall slow down in obedience to the sign to a speed reasonable for the existing conditions and shall yield the right‑of‑way to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching on another highway so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time the driver or bicycle rider is moving across or within the intersection. If after driving or riding past a yield sign or stop sign without stopping the driver or bicycle rider is involved in a collision with a vehicle in the intersection, the collision is prima facie evidence of the driver's or bicycle rider's failure to yield the right‑of‑way.

You can read the bill, follow its progress, and see who its sponsors are by clicking here. Once on the Website, click on "Show Versions" and then under current versions click on either HTML or PDF to read the complete bill.

PS/ The bill died the legislature without ever coming to a vote. Maybe next year. -- Jack Quinn