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Bicycle yield bill and texting ban advance in legislature

Two bills that could have a major effect on riding bikes in Arizona advanced through the state’s House Transportation Committee yesterday.

A bill allowing cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs (HB2211) and a bill banning texting while driving (HB2512) advanced past the Transportation Committee for the first time in four and six years respectively. Both votes were 6-2 in favor of the bills.

The bills’ co-sponsors caution that there are still challenges to getting the bills in front of the legislators for a vote.

Rep. Daniel Patterson, D-Tucson, has been trying to get the yield law passed for the last four years. He said now that the bills have passed the Transportation Committee they go on to the Rules Committee.

He said usually this isn’t an issue, but in this case the chairman of the Rules Committee, Rep. Jerry Weiers, R-Glendale, was one of the two no votes during the transportation committee hearing.

Rep. Steve Farley

Patterson said the Rules Committee is designed to ensure the language is constitutional and then forward the bill on to the house.

“Unfortunately sometimes politics get played in the Rules Committee and the chairman has broad powers to just sit on a bill and not do anything with it if he chooses,” Patterson said.

Patterson said he would work with Weiers to assuage him of any concerns about the yield bill.

The texting ban is in a similar position. While it passed the Transportation Committee, its fate is in the hands of Weiers and the Rules Committee.

Both Patterson and Rep. Steve Farley, D-Tucson, who has been pushing for a texting ban for six years, suggested the public email Weiers letting him know they support the bills and want them moved out of the Rules Committee.

Patterson said the support from the 15-20 cyclists that showed up at the hearing went a long way toward getting the yield law approved.

He said one cyclist told the members about his commute through Phoenix that takes him past 50 stop signs. He told them about how inefficient it is to stop 50 times during a commute.

Patterson said passing the yield law would benefit the state.

“It would make Arizona an even more bike friendly state,” Patterson said. “Certainly I would hope it would improve chances of Tucson and Pima County achieving platinum status and then some cities in other parts of the state trying to achive higher ratings as a bike friendly community.”

Farley said there is still a lot of work to do to get them made into law, but he is happy they were moved forward in the progress because both bills will make road users safer.

6 comments
B.J.
B.J.

Those opposed to this seem to think it will cause cyclists to turn into stop sign kamikazes.  Under this legislation, bike must still yield to vehicles that have the right of way.  It really shouldn't change cyclist behavior.  It's rare to see a bike come to a complete stop at a stop sign at an empty intersection currently.  The legislation's biggest effect will to be stop cyclists from getting ticketed for doing something safe and common sense. 

3wheeler
3wheeler

Virtually every cyclist from the beginning of cycling down to this day has habitually rolled thru stop signs.   I've been riding on public roads for over 40 years and I only stop at stop signs when I see &/or hear cross traffic.  I've never had a collision at an intersection in all those years.  My experience is the absolute norm for the majority of cyclists.   Since cyclists are already treating stop signs as yield signs without tragic results, it makes sense to change the law to reflect the longstanding reality.

Jmichel426
Jmichel426

the only thing i dread is the insanity on campus, especially on highland and the intersection that's featured in this article

Red Star
Red Star

Assume the bill does not pass.  Is there anything aside from inertia, cost, and fear to prevent City of Tucson from replacing select stop signs with yields (example: 3rd and Treat)?

3wheeler
3wheeler

Red Star, good point.   The city had a meeting about 5 months ago and displayed the plans they have for changes to 3rd St.  The plan showed that the stop sign is to be changed to a yield at 3rd & Treat.  I imagine those plans are available on line, I'm sure a bit of googling will turn it up.  You're right to point out the issue with stop signs along bike routes.  It's counter productive to encourage people to ride along certain roads and then make them stop at insignificant cross streets.

Red Star
Red Star

Red Star doesn't think the bill will be passed, mostly because passing it won't enhance Jan Brewer's book sales and fundraising seems to be the the priority in Maricopaland, no matter the hobostink, of course. The bill, though somewhat flawed, is DOA wherever it arrives. Sorry. That, of course, doesn't get COT Council and the local transpo bureaucrats off the hook, as it were. There is plenty more they could do (3rd and Treat and elsewhere) without waiting forever for Maricopaland... They are scared?