photo-5-4081411081411The county issued an open letter to cyclist riding the loop this week. In it, the county requested cyclists respect other users on the loop and work hard to make everyone feel comfortable on the path system.

According to county officials they have been receiving complaints from pedestrians who say they do not feel safe on the loop because of some cyclists and their behavior.

Here’s the letter in full:

Open letter to cyclists using The Loop

Please help us prevent having to place prescriptive restrictions and regulations on your usage of The Loop.

The Loop is a recreational, multi-use facility that should be enjoyed by all users of all abilities.

As cyclists, you are by far the most numerous users of The Loop; and you also travel at the highest rate of speed relative to the other Loop users.

The Loop is not intended to be a racetrack or serious training ground for cyclists, either singularly or in groups. If you’re that good, or that fast, you should be on the road – not on a recreational facility.

Please be courteous by controlling your speed, particularly in congested areas or areas with limited sight distance.

Two practices will go a long ways towards ensuring the enjoyment and safety of all Loop users.

1)    When you are overtaking any other path user, call out “PASSING” and, if you have one, ring your bike bell.

2)    Do not overtake another path user if there is oncoming traffic/path users – same rules as if you were driving a car (i.e. you wouldn’t pass into oncoming traffic on a two lane roadway, right?).

We do not desire to further regulate Loop usage by installing speed limit signs nor do we desire to have to redirect limited public safety resources to provide enforcement of speed limits – when all that is really needed is for path users to exercise a little trail etiquette and practice a little common courtesy.

Yes, we know some pedestrians and dog-walkers create problems, too, when they walk 3 or 4 abreast, abruptly change directions or don’t control their dogs/dog leashes. We expect them to clean up their act, too, because they are no doubt reading this letter as well.

One final note to ALL Loop users – as much as all Loop users feel a sense of ownership and entitlement to use The Loop, The Loop path is first and foremost a maintenance access route for County service vehicles, particularly Parks department vehicles and Flood Control District vehicles. This has been the case since the mid-1980s when the Flood Control District installed the soil cement bank protection along many of the regional watercourses and then, working cooperatively with the Parks department, began establishing the riverpark system. In short – all users should yield the right of way to County service vehicles.

This is something I’ve written about in the past and it hasn’t really gotten any better.


13 thoughts on “County asks cyclists to tone it down on Loop in open letter”
  1. I think the county’s decision to switch the side that pedestrians walk on created this problem or at least exacerbated it. Slower traffic needs to face faster traffic. That is accepted practice on the roadway and the loop is not that different in this sense.  I fail to see any logic for defending the current layout. I’ve ridden it both ways and feel much more comfortable with pedestrians being able to see me approaching. Is this situation not worth the reversal of a  ‘Custer decision’ ?

  2. A comment from the TucsonVelo Nov. 5 article:


    used to face cyclists on the path like they face traffic on the roads.
    It made sense and maintained continuity with traffic logic.
    Pedestrians weren’t startled and everyone could see each other.
    Thanks goes to some county bureaucrat who ‘fixed’ something that wasn’t
    I agree.

  3. The Loop is an okay place to do serious training at 4 a.m. But so are Broadway, Speedway, 22nd, Swan, various secret places, etc., etc. at the same time of day. Actually better. That’s just common sense.

    The casual recreational, occasional exercise cyclists, the commute/utility cyclists on the loop should use a bell or a really, really loud air horn on their bike to alert the sloppy walkers, joggers, mindless dog walkers with things plugged into their ears. A really, really loud air horn might help train the mindless whining Loop users that Charles Huckleberry (and minion) has fallen in love with and is so suddenly very beholden to. That’s just common sense.

    And please do keep in mind that the primary purpose of the Loop is county maintenance despite Charles Huckleberry’s (and minion’s) cunning effort to shrink wrap and present the Loop as some huge, glorious and magnetic recreational achievement. Like the car dealer would do. Keeping that in mind is just common sense.

  4. Calling out “passing” or using a bell or horn only serves to have the pedestrian move in front of you more often than not.  I feel that passing at a reasonable speed (its not a racetrack) and with little noise is the best thing.   I do not honk my horn and scream out the window “PASSING!” when I pass a car on the road, why do it on a recreational path?

  5. dbohemian The road and the recreational path are different environments, different users (for example, ever see an earbudded dog walker or whatever doing the dog walk thing down the middle of some Speedway lane? Nope.) that’s why.

    To stay on topic, cyclists who insist on using the Loop should deploy very loud air horns. Call them Huckleberry Horns…

  6. About right. Don’t
    be riding the loop if you don’t intend to slow down or stop for those
    on foot. They have the right of way and will cost you all of a few
    seconds to ask to pass, if they are in your way. Remember, there are
    families with young children, elderly people, and people with
    disabilities using this path. Don’t expect them to be predictable and
    give the benefit of the doubt!
    ride the loop quite often and have never found stopping for pedestrians
    to be anywhere near the inconvenience of riding on a road with cars.

  7. I agree, some of the aggressive roadbikers on the Rillito north side side are out of control. I refuse to even ride on the part of the loop on weekends. They pass without any consideration of pedestrains and/or other bikes, they can’t wait for anyone and make it dangerous for everyone. I’ve been biking daily in this town for more than 30 years and it’s recently gotten really bad. Along the Santa Cruz, east or west side, they would have better luck avoiding the congestion, so just calm down when in heavy pedestrian areas.

  8. @zz The logic here is users are presented with striped lanes. Most drivers will recognize and acclimate to it easily and most likely automatically. But really, people are gonna walk which ever side they want and I’d rather that than to start seeing traffic cops writing tickets for it.

    I like same lane same direction only because as the one whose responsibility it is to pass safely and sanely I get a handful of seconds and maybe a dozen feet of added approach to see them and act. I especially appreciate this on my bike in the street where the difference is much more pronounced with motor vehicles.

    My advice is to treat every encounter with care and attention. Slow the hell down in congestion (kids are *always* congestion). The same thing that applies to drivers is true here as well: Slow down, be patient, your destination will still be there when you arrive. And if it’s not, was it really your destination to begin with?

  9. StrawHousePig  I feel two-way visual ‘communication’ is safer and more comfortable to all users. With ‘same-way’ movement, the pedestrian is led to disregard what is going on around them. Do pedestrians prefer being startled as bikes silently pass and/or being verbally warned or ‘belled’ dozens of times during their time on the loop? The responsibility of safe use of the path needs to be equal among users.

  10. Hmm… Can’t say I agree with that. Would you take the lane against traffic? That might work on 2 lanes and the occasional car, but once the congestion hits you are screwed. But at least it’ll equalize the blame for collisions since you’d have had ample opportunity to see it coming.
    No sir, I don’t recommend that.
    But traveling the *same* direction allows the overtaking party to slow to the pace of the slower party and keep moving. Surely you dig?
    Plus with everyone wearing dark glasses and ear phones (even bike riders! WTF?) I think you’re going on faith that any visual acknowledgement has taken place at all.
    I don’t like startling people (did it to a guy with Tourette’s one time, eek) but on the whole it’s a small price to pay and I believe people are capable of learning to expect it and look before crossing lanes. Keep in mind I’m not recommending wholesale speed passing people at all. That ain’t cool.

  11. StrawHousePig ….”Would you take the lane against traffic?”… Wha?  That’s reaching. I’m referring to pedestrians and bikes as if it were pedestrians and cars…That’s it.
    The missing part here is we have no way of knowing how pedestrians feel about it. Maybe they would prefer to face bikes. I know I would if I was ever walking on the loop…just as if I were walking on the road. The pedestrian is always the slowest user, by far, and has the unique advantage of nearly instantly reacting to the situation. That is if they’re able to see the situation; and that equates to safety.

  12. I am an avid cyclist and I ride the loop regularly, but over the past few months I have noticed an increase in dangerous behavior on the part of hyper-aggressive cyclists who insist on passing even when there’s oncoming traffic.  Knock it off!  Your need to shave a couple seconds off your “personal best” does not trump the right of pedestrians and other cyclists to use this fabulous community resource in peace and safety.  If there’s slow traffic on the trail in front of you, back off and wait until the opposing lane is clear instead of playing chicken with oncoming traffic.

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