Arizona Road Cyclist News
ack Quinn, Editor

 © March 4, 2009

In this issue:
     Bicycles Yield at Stop Signs Fails Committee Vote!
House Bill 2546 Could Greatly Improve Cyclists' Safety
     Bicycle Swap Meet
     Time Change
     El Tour de Phoenix & the Tour of the Tucson Mountains
     Midweek Criterium Series
     The Senior Olympics
     Bicycle Racing on Versus
     Upcoming Bicycle Races in Arizona
     Upcoming Tourist Rides in Arizona
     Feedback on GABA

Bicycles Yield at Stop Signs Bill Fails Committee Vote!

A hearing was held this morning in the Committee on Military Affairs and Public Safety on House Bill 2470, the bill that would give bicyclists the right to treat yield signs as if they were stop signs. The bill failed to pass the committee by a vote of three in favor of the bill and five against. Voting for this bill were Representatives Barbara McGuire, Daniel Patterson, and Patricia Fleming. Voting against were Ray Barnes, David Gowan, Sam Crump, Jerry Weers, and Car Steel. You can access the bill's Web site by clicking here.

House Bill 2546 Could Greatly Improve Cyclists' Safety

A bill is before the Arizona Legislature that would modify a number of Arizona statutes to make them more cyclist friendly. You may access the Web page for House Bill 2546. entitled "Motor Vehicles; Bicycles; Operation Requirements" by clicking here.

Among other law changes, he bill would modify statute 13-1203 to add a new definition of assault: "touching or throwing an object at or in the direction of any person riding a bicycle." Of course, under the present law, anyone who puts you in fear for your physical safety has already committed assault, but police have notoriously not been willing to allow cyclists to press charges against persons who throw things at them. This change to the law will make this type of assault more explicit, and I hope it will therefore make police more willing to enforce the law and  cyclists feel that they will be listened to if they call the cops.

Statute 28-735, the so-called "three-foot law" would also be strengthened. At present, motor vehicles are required to give bicycles three feet of clearance when passing except when there is a ride-able bicycle lane and the bicyclist is not in it. The bill would strike the clause that allows motorists to buzz us if we are not riding in the bike lane and also add a clause that reads "if a collision occurs between a motor vehicle and a bicycle, the collision is prima facie evidence of the driver's failure to leave a safe distance between the motor vehicle and the bicycle."

In the past, some police departments have refused to write the motorist a ticket for passing too closely, even then the motorist has struck and killed the cyclist. Police officers may still be unwilling to enforce the law if no one is injured, but if this bill becomes law, they will have little excuse for not issuing a citation if a cyclist is struck. Under this bill, the fine for injuring a bicyclist by passing too closely would  increase from $500 to $1,000 and the fine for killing a bicyclist by passing to closely would increase from $1,000 to $1,500.

The bill would modify statute 28-724 to prohibit motorists from passing on the right if the right side of the lane is occupied by a bicyclist. At present, such passing is only prohibited if the right side of the lane is occupied by parked [motor] vehicles.

Drivers would also be prohibited from entering a two-way left-turn line in the center of a street if the lane were occupied by a cyclist unless the driver were able to give the cyclist three feet of clearance.

The driver of a motor vehicle who drives in a bicycle lane and thereby causes minor injury to a cyclist would be fined $500, and serious injury would result in a fine of $1,000.

Another change is to expand the definition of what is considered a bicycle. You may remember that in an earlier issue of Arizona Road Cyclist News I wrote that bicycles with wheel diameters of less than 16 inches are not defined as bicycles under Arizona traffic law. This bill would define folding bikes as bicycles, even if their wheels were less than 16 inches in diameter.

Bicycle Swap Meet

The Coalition of Arizona Bicyclists will hold its annual Bike Swap Meet in Kiwanis Park on April 5 from 7 a.m. until 12 noon. Here is your chance to pick up some bike stuff cheap or to unload that box of old parts that is sitting out in the garage gathering dust.

Time Change

Don't forget that this Sunday most of the nation switches their clocks to that silly, so-called Daylight Saving Time. Although we in Arizona are intelligent enough not to fiddle with our clocks and watches twice a year, we do have to adopt to the foolishness of those of our fellow citizens who have the misfortune of living in more backward states. You may have to modify any manual settings that you have programmed into your video recording device to record events transmitted on cable or satellite. If you program your recordings using your video service provider's TV Guide information, I assume (but do not guarantee) that your recording equipment is smart enough to make the adjustment for your.

El Tour de Phoenix & the Tour of the Tucson Mountains

The Perimeter Bicycling Association's El Tour de Phoenix will be held on April 4 this year. The Tour offers two adult rides of different lengths: 74 miles and 26-miles. The rides begin at Red Mountain Park in Mesa. The longer ride is a circuit of Red Mountain. There will also be a four-mile kids and family ride. Riders must register by April 3. You can access the ride's Website by clicking here.

For those looking for a ride in the Tucson area, the Perimeter Bicycling Association will hold the Tour of the Tucson Mountains on April 26. To access the event's Web site and to register, click here.

The Midweek Criterium Series

The Phoenix Consumer Cycling Club's Midweek Criterium series continues from 5 p.m. to about 7 p.m. in the parking lot of Phoenix Municipal Stadium on the southwest corner of Van Buren and Priest in Phoenix. The races are held on Wednesday evenings with three exceptions: There will be no race tonight (March 4), because the race had to be rescheduled to a yesterday evening. The races on Wednesday March 25 and Wednesday April 1 are cancelled. However, the race will be held on March 11, March 18, April 8, April 15, April 22, and the grand finale will be held on April 29.These races are great spectator events that can be watched free of charge. Enter the parking lot from the south side of Van Buren west of Priest.

The Senior Olympics

The cycling event of the Senior Olympics takes place on March 7 and 8 at 40th Street and Pecos Road Park in Ahwatukee. The event is open to cyclists 50 years of age and older, and competition takes place in five-year age groups. On Saturday there are two very short time trials of 5 kilometers and 10 kilometers. On Sunday there are two road races, also a bit short at 20 kilometers and 40 kilometers. You can view the Senior Olympics brochure by clicking here. The information on the cycling event is on page 13 of the brochure, and directions to the event location are on page 23. The entry form is on pages 7 and 8. The main Website for the event is

Bicycle Racing on Versus

The next cycling race to be broadcast on Versus will be Paris Nice on March 8 and March 15 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Arizona time. I assume that the March 15 broadcast will be a repeat of the March 8 transmission. Next up on Versus will be the Criterium International on March 29. Although in the USA we use the word criterium to designate a circuit race over a short course, the word does not have the same meaning in European cycling. This criterium is actually a tough road race.

When I program my video recorder to record cycling events on Versus, I find that it is often advisable to program the ending time an hour or so later than the advertised ending time of the program. However, since these broadcasts will be edited and highly condensed, I assume they will end at the advertised time.

Upcoming Bicycle Races in Arizona

The three-day Tucson Bicycle Classic takes place this weekend from Friday March 6 through Sunday March 8. The race consists of a prolog time trial on Friday, a road race on Saturday, and a circuit race on Sunday. More information can be found by clicking here.

The San Tan Criterium takes place in Mesa on Saturday, March 14 just south of Falcon Field Airport. The race's Website can be accessed here. The Hungry Dog Criterium follows on Sunday March 15 in Ahawatukee. Information about the race can be accessed by clicking here.

The weekend of March 21 and March 22 brings the Superior Road Race on Saturday and the Superior Criterium on Sunday. You can check this two races out by clicking here. The final weekend of March brings the Colossal Cave Stage Race with a time trial, a criterium, and a road race. The time trial and criterium are both scheduled for Saturday March 28, and the road race follows on Sunday March 29. The race's Website can be accessed by clicking here.

Upcoming Tourist Rides in Arizona

The Phoenix Metro Bicycle Club presents the strenuous Mining Country Century on Saturday, March 14. This challenging ride features lots of climbing. The standard century is 96 miles and follows the route of the former Mining Country Bicycle Race starting in Superior, climbing over the Top of the World to Miami/Globe passing over El Capitan with its 8-percent climb, descending into Winkelman, and returning to Superior by climbing Ray Mine Hill and then the leg-breaking End of the World, a 1.5-mile climb with a grade of 11 percent. From there it is a downhill cruise into Superior. The shorter 66-mile metric century heads from Superior to Winkelman and then returns by the same route. In exchange for a shorter ride, the metric century passes over the dreaded End of the World twice! The ride’s Website can be accessed here.

GABA Tucson presents the Sierra Vista Spring Classic Bike Ride on March 15 and the popular Sonoita-Bisbee ride on March 28 and 29. The GABA Tucson ride page can be accessed by clicking here.

The Tour de Cure will take place on Saturday, March 14. Route maps and directions are posted on the Bullshifter’s Web site, which you can access by clicking here.

Feedback on GABA

Although I did not get any feedback about the early days of GABA, which I wrote about in the last issue of Arizona Road Cyclist News, I did receive two E-mails that clear up its present status and recent history.

Sue Fassett wrote:

Your copy today noted:
Today, to the best of my knowledge, GABA still has two main chapters, GABA Tucson and the Phoenix Metro Bicycle Club. I believe that the Prescott-based Chain Gang Bicycle Club is or was also affiliated with GABA."
And now, for the rest of the story..
The Phoenix division of GABA ceased to exist in 1998.  That year the Phoenix area was re-organized as Phoenix Metro Bicycle Club.  PMBC has no ties to GABA Tucson, but we just can't seem to get people to let go of the GABA acronym. There is no longer a statewide mother corporation that takes us all in; we are separate organizations.  

To which Bob Beane added:

Addendum: There is still the West Valley Bicycle Club (former GABA WV), and there was also a Flagstaff chapter which died/disassociated prior to Prescott. So, there USED TO BE chapters as follows: Tucson (only remaining GABA), Phoenix, West Valley, Flagstaff and Prescott. There is now a VVCC (Verde Valley Cycling Coalition) that interacts with us “as if” a former GABA chapter, but they have sprouted only in the last few years.
hope this helps with the history/status…

Thanks to both of them for their feedback. You can also make your opinion known on any story in this newsletter by replying to this E-mail or by writing to the E-mail address shown below. Unless you request otherwise, your comments may be published. The editor reserves the right to edit comments for spelling, grammar, and clarity.


Arizona Road Cyclist News,
Jack Quinn, Editor