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Platinum out of Tucson’s reach once again

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Another fours years have passed and once again, Tucson missed out on earning a Platinum Bicycle Friendly Community designation from the League of American Bicyclists.

The Arizona Daily Star’s Murphy Woodhouse has a good in-depth article online about why Tucson continues to miss the platinum mark.

However, the reasons are not new and are the same reasons the city didn’t earn the designation four years ago.

1. We don’t have enough bicycle commuters. The LAB cares about getting to and from work by bicycle, so all those recreational rides don’t really rate in their eyes.

2. ¬†Crashes are too high. The LAB looks at the total number of bike crashes and deaths compared to the number of bike commuters. This obviously skews the numbers since many of the crashes involve recreational riders. Woodhouse breaks this down well in his article and if you haven’t you should read bicyclist Alan Solot’s break down of why crashes aren’t actually increasing in the region.

Ultimately the only way Tucson will become a platinum city is by increasing the number of bicycle commuters in the city.

1 comments
ignorant drivers
ignorant drivers

From my perspective, Tucson has steadily improved from a biking standpoint in the decade I've lived here. Gaps in the bike lane (striped shoulder) network have been addressed; off-street paths have proliferated and been tied into the road network; intersections have been painted and made safer; new HAWK lights have been installed. It's easier and more convenient to ride a bike all around eastern Pima County now, no question. I'm unsure if it's safer, but it feels safer to me.


What we're lacking, in my view, is enforcement of unsafe driving. Too much 'enforcement' centers on ticketing bicyclists for low-risk behaviors such as rolling stop signs when no other traffic is present. The rampant speeding, red light running, ignoring of crosswalks, etc is not punished or addressed very aggressively.


One thing that would help attract bike commuters is if local businesses were more responsive to requests for bike racks and safe bike parking. I've been trying to get my dentist to install a rack for 4 years. He's right on the Rillito path! University of Arizona has a huge amount of bike rack space, but not enough safe and secure parking for employees and students, especially not convenient to the buildings we work in.