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Sheriff’s office to increase Mt Lemmon enforcement

lemmontt23

The Pima County Sheriff’s Department will be increasing their traffic enforcement on Catalina Highway in the coming weeks according to a press release and emails.

According to a press release the department will be targeting both cyclists and motorists on the mountain.

Warmer weather means more citizens will be taking their bicycles out for a spin. We want to make sure motorists and bicycle riders use the roads together in the safest way possible. As an effort to increase safety for all, the Rincon District Office will be increasing traffic enforcement on Mt. Lemmon over the next few weeks. During the initial phase, some warnings will be given in an attempt to curb unsafe driving/riding behavior. As the operation progresses, citations will be issued to both motorists and bicyclists.

However an email circulating on Facebook suggests complaints have increased recently sparking the enforcement.

Here’s the email:

We are getting word that the cyclist/motorist interactions on Mt. Lemmon may be worsening lately due to recent complaints. Our new Commander wants to make sure the mountain remains as safe as possible for everyone so we will have a greater police presence. Hopefully, this may quell a few bike vs car issues. I’m not sure how much of a dent we can make but we will try.

Obviously, the biggest complaints from cyclists have been about aggressive driving.

The number one recent complaint from motorists has been cyclists taking up the roadway. You guys know your traffic laws so I won’t get into that. Motorists are also complaining about aggressive behavior from cyclists,; flipping off, yelling, throwing things at passing cars.

We have been up the hill in a covert capacity recently and found that the vast majority of cyclists are following the rules of the road. Since information flows so fast within the cycling community, we would like to advise those who may be intentionally skirting the law or riding dangerously that law enforcement action may happen in the near future. I ask that you and others spread the word that we will be increasing our presence so that everyone has fair notice. We are hoping a simple reminder and a friendly warning will resolve the majority of the problems. We thought it would be unfair to simply deploy and write tickets on a zero tolerance basis without an education effort first. Thanks for your help in passing the message along.
Sincerely,
Deputy J. Iverson

If you’ll be heading up the mountain make sure you are following the rules.

5 comments
VoiceofReason1
VoiceofReason1

"we would like to advise those who may be intentionally skirting the law or riding dangerously that law enforcement action may happen in the near future"

What does this mean, and why be crypic about it? Say what you mean. What law, "taking up the roadway," a cyclist is entirely within the law to use the road in a responsible manner. If this means taking the lane, there are in fact times when one must take the lane, which is of course entirely legal. I'd sure like clarification as to which laws are being broken. Speed limit on the way down?

EdBeighe
EdBeighe


 "The number one recent complaint from motorists has been cyclists taking up the roadway. You guys know your traffic laws so I won’t get into that."

Yikes, who is Deputy J. Iverson, and does he or she know the traffic laws? And more importantly does the Deputy know safe cycling practices?


"Taking up the roadway" ... what does that mean? ... Cyclists have a right to travel in the roadway.
My impression is this area has only lanes which are too narrow to safely share side-by-side. 
Let's review where to ride on the road:

http://azbikelaw.org/where-to-ride-on-the-road/
let's review shoulders and why you need not ride on them:
http://azbikelaw.org/shoulder-use/


The bicyclist pictured appears to be riding on a shoulder, inches away from a guard rail. 

This is not legally required, And assuming he's traveling at normal bicycling speed, it is not a safe practice (can't tell from the pic, he may be climbing??)

SLothce
SLothce

@EdBeighe It seems to me that in saying "you guys know the law" that the deputy is in effect saying, "the motorists making these complaints don't know what they're talking about."

ignorant drivers
ignorant drivers

I ride Mt. Lemmon occasionally, but I drive up there for work and recreation pretty frequently.


I can say that I've never personally observed a cyclist do anything dangerous or illegal, but I've been buzzed by drivers on occasion. I chalk this up to most people not knowing what it feels like to have a car pass you at 4-5x your speed and only 1 foot away.


The absolute scariest thing that happened to me on the mountain was on a fast descent, a UA Police car was driving up the wrong lane (my lane). He wasn't passing anyone, but was just driving into oncoming traffic without any regard. I had to pull over to calm down after that near-miss. I'm not even sure the cop saw me.