An example of a sharrow from Portland.

The Tucson Pima County Bicycle Advisory Committee passed a motion supporting increased usage of shared lane markings in areas around the region.

Shared lane markings — or sharrows — are pavement markings designed to be used on streets without bike lanes that have low traffic speeds and volumes. The markings alert motorists to expect bicycles and shows cyclists where it is safe to ride.

The BAC’s downtown subcommittee included a list of possible locations for sharrows. They include:

  • 9th Street from 4th Avenue to Euclid Avenue
  • University Boulevard from Park Avenue. to 4th Avenue
  • Tucson Boulevard from Broadway Boulevard to 8th Street
  • Park Avenue from 6th Street to Speedway Boulevard
  • 4th Avenue from University Boulevard to 9th Street
  • 7th Street and 7th Avenue at the railroad crossing
  • Elm Street from Tucson Boulevard to Campbell Avenue along the Arizona Inn area
  • Church Avenue from 6th Street to Cushing Street

Tom Thivener, the City of Tucson’s bike and pedestrian program manager, said it is important to be selective when asking for shared lane markings.

“In some circumstances it’s better to ask for bike lanes,” Thivener said.

He was concerned that even if a sharrow were to be used as a temporary marking until bike lanes could be installed, that some people would begin considering shared lane markings in lieu of full bike lanes.

Matt Zoll, Pima County’s bike and pedestrian program manager, said he is considering using sharrows in some areas as a stop-gap measure until funding for full bike lanes could be secured.

Larry Robinson, the chair of the BAC’s subcommittee, said he would be interested in hearing about additional locations that make sense to use shared lane markings.

The markings can only be used on low-volume streets that have a posted speed limit of 35 miles per hour or less.

Update on TPD enforcement

Sergeant Jerry Skeenes, the Tucson Police Department traffic officer who is heading up the enforcement grant targeting pedestrian and bicycle violations, updated the BAC on the enforcement efforts.

According to a document provided by Skeenes, roughly 375 cyclists have been cited for various infractions.

Nearly 60 percent (294) of the bicycle violations issued have been for cyclists riding on the sidewalk.

They have issued 81 citations for stop sign violations. Skeenes said they have been avoiding issuing citations to cyclists who slow down to a safe speed, but may not come to a complete stop. He said they are primarily on the lookout for people who don’t make an effort to slow down and blow through the intersection.

Seventy-five cyclists have been cited for not having lights or a reflector, 36 have been cited for riding the wrong way and 4 have been cited for not having working brakes.

To date, no motorist has been cited for violating the 3 foot law, but more than 60 motorists were cited for running red lights, not yielding to pedestrians or running stop signs.

Skeenes said they have started targeting motorists along Mountain Avenue in response to a Tucson Weekly piece complaining about motorists’ behavior along that route. They cited several drivers for driving in the bike lane and making illegal left turns from Mountain onto Grant Road.

2009 regional bike count data & call for 2010 volunteers

Ann Chanecka, a Pima Association of Government’s transportation planner, presented a brief overview of the finalized 2009 bike count information.

According to Chanecka, the detailed report will be issued soon.

PAG is looking for volunteers to assist with the 2010 bike count, which will take place Oct. 19-Oct. 21.

In order to participate you must attend one of the training sessions which will be held Oct. 14 at 6 p.m. or Oct. 16 at 9 a.m. Download the info sheet for more detailed directions.

According to Chanecka, they will attempt to get a better count of the number of recreational cyclists by counting at various locations on the weekend.

Check back for a more detailed story when the in-depth report is released.

31 thoughts on “BAC supports increased use of sharrows”
  1. ” …and 4 have been cited for not having working brakes.”

    Does this mean they are targeting fixed gear riders?

  2. From what officer Skeenes said it was something they noted after stopping a cyclists for blowing through a stop sign.

    So it doesn’t sound like they are targeting fixed gear riders, but rather adding it if they stop someone for something else.

    There is a good chance that those 4 were actually BMX riders who were riding brakeless and riding with a freewheel.

  3. The enforcement update sounds great. Major progress from where we have been in recent times. I like the selection of the potential sharrows implementation as well. Some spots (like Tucson Blvd just north of Broadway) aren’t going to get a bike lane (or striped shoulder) without a major investment to move things to widen the road – sharrows will work just fine for a few hundred feet.

  4. I’m happy to hear TPD is focusing on pulling over bikes that blow stop signs instead of the ones who slow down, look, and go without coming to a complete stop and putting a foot down.

    I don’t understand the problem with riding on the sidewalk though. Bikes generally would rather ride in the road, but choose the sidewalk when the road doesn’t feel safe due to lack of bike lanes or a saturation of careless drivers. People who ride on the sidewalk aren’t generally roadies training for El Tour, they’re casual cruisers riding no faster than the speed of a jogger. Do these people really pose a danger? Isn’t it better to let them make their own judgment about where a safer place to ride is?

    If we really want bikes off the sidewalk it would be more productive to look at this as a systemic problem and not an issue of personal violators. The roads downtown don’t feel safe to ride on, many choose the sidewalks there. Create a safe place for the bikes to ride and they won’t need to use the sidewalks.

  5. Frank,

    18th Street is a good candidate for Shared Lane Markings. At last nights meeting I also mentioned that TDOT is going to use these markings on our Bicycle Boulevards, which are also low speed and low volume streets where bikes share the lane with cars, hence the name of the markings. 18th Street is a one of the corridors identified to be upgraded into a bike boulevard.

    The City of Portland has a handy fact sheet on sharrows if you want to learn more about their purpose.

  6. People ride on the sidewalk when it’s not safe to ride on the road. What percentage of those 375 will now drive their car instead, we should be encouraging alternative transportation.

  7. Just to recap: 375 citations for bicyclists and pedestrians and (about) 60 for people in cars. That’s roughly a 1 to 6 ratio — an empirical and now well-documented statistic that directly supports the conventional “wisdom” in Tucson which states someone NOT in an automobile is more prone to breaking the law than someone IN an automobile. Looks like the TPD has handed the car culture just the raw numbers it needs to continue its on-going vilification of bicyclists. What a lovely gift!

    As one may recall, the multi-million dollar enforcement grant was specifically developed, “In an effort to increase awareness and safety.” ( Well, it seems the City of Tucson (with gleeful assistance from the propaganda thugs at KGUN 9) has been very successful in increasing awareness of bicycle lawlessness… and not much else. The likely takeaway message for John Q. Public is, “bicyclists are bad citizens and now there’s hard evidence to prove it!”

    It will definitely be interesting to see how all this data is re-purposed, if at all, to bolster less-progressive political agendas in the near future. But whatever happens one thing is glaringly obvious: if you’re a cyclist, there is simply no way to win. The car culture is designed to marginalize anyone who tries to live outside its jurisdiction. Despite the innocuous language, spectacles like the recent TPD “crackdown” generally serve to perpetuate this Jim Crow-like prejudice in favor of the almighty combustible engine. The deck, my friends, is very clearly stacked against us.

  8. To be more accurate, it was all those cyclists that were willfully breaking the law that “handed” that statistic to a public that otherwise might have had no strong feelings one way or the other on the subject. TPD (and KGUN) may have shined a light that some cyclists didn’t want shined, but if we cyclists don’t want to be whipped on, the first thing we have to do is to stop handing ’em the whip.

  9. “…but if we cyclists don’t want to be whipped on, the first thing we have to do is stop handing ’em the whip.”

    Wow. I learned a lot about your worldview with this statement. Thanks for the clarification.

  10. It’s a simple concept – don’t want John Q. Public to see you as a lawbreaker? Then stop breaking the law. Don’t blame the guy that catches you breaking the law or the guy reporting on it, that’s the sort of desperate fingerpointing children resort to when caught. When have I ever not been clear on this?

  11. There is a bias in Tucson that it is OK for cars to speed, roll thru stop signs and use the bike lane to pass cars on the right but if cyclist do the same thing then they are scaffolds. Sorry but that is bull. I think this attitude is improving with the police and they are starting to see cyclist as equals but plenty of drivers in this town show us no respect.

  12. I don’t disagree that plenty of car drivers break the law too – I’m saying that it does not in any way absolve us from *our* responsibility to not sink to the same level. “It’s not fair – he does it too” is also an excuse for little children, not adults.

    The bottom line is still that those tickets would not have been issued, KGUNs little “expose” wouldn’t have aired, if it weren’t for the reality that an unacceptable number of Tucson cyclists completely ignore basic, common-sense, safety laws. If not for that fact, there would simply be no fuel for this fire to keep burning.

    Instead of claiming motorist bad behavior as the excuse for our own, lets try something novel, noble, and *adult* for a change and hold ourselves to a higher standard. Then and only then will we hold the high-ground to demand that they clean up *their* act without looking like a bunch of whiney self-serving hypocrites.

  13. I am not talking about absolving our responsibility as cyclist. I am talking about a negative bias in Tucson toward cyclist. I am not sure what we can do about cyclist who don’t ride responsibly. I see cyclist do stupid things but what can we do about it? I try to set an example with my riding and hope that I can influence other riders. Many riders in Tucson don’t care about the reputation of cycling in general. They just need to get to class or their job. What can we do to influence other cyclist?

  14. The first thing we can all do is to stop giving those cyclists a pass on that behavior when we see it – “Stay on the right!” “Watch the stopsign!” “Off the Sidewalk!” Even something as benign and non-confrontational as shouting a warning that “TPD is ambushing cyclists with $200 tickets for doing that,” etc.

    When we hear in person or read on any forum someone bragging about breaking traffic laws or praising others for doing so – whether they believe bicycles shouldn’t be subject to “car” law, feel that it’s some sort of “activism” to do so, or any other such lame rationalization, call ’em on it! Let them know in no uncertain terms that they *are* the problem, that such behavior is unacceptable, and that we cyclists will make no progress demanding that motorists follow the rules if we aren’t willing to do so ourselves. It may seem intolerant, but remember, these people are actively working against us and nothing will change until we stop putting up with that.

  15. Mr. Tietjen,

    You have made some very interesting points and asked some very important questions. In my opinion, it would be wise for we members of the extended alt transportation community to avoid black-n-white ideologies. That kind of thinking only leads to misunderstanding, distrust, and it totally dismisses the wide range of considerate opinions within our ranks. Unfortunately, there are many of who hold a legally deterministic worldview that fails to fully encapsulate the real-world complexities of being a bicyclist in the prejudiced car culture.

    The good news: you clearly have an excellent grasp on the grey-area difficulties of traffic law and how it affects human beings. Your complaint regarding bias against bicyclists is right on; I definitely share it with. Please, please don’t lose this ethic. Too many of our friends and colleagues adopt an absolutist stance that ultimately serves no one. You need only peruse the comment threads of this website to see the general homogeneity and, yes, intolerance on the matter of our relationship to the Tucson Police Department, as well as the quick manner in which any opposing perspective is reframed (sometimes to the point of slander) and completely marginalized.

    So, basically, I think you’re doing just fine. Continue biking as you see fit, and stay alive. But be warned: here be dragons. Not everyone is an ally. Warm regards and best of luck to you! Happy biking!

  16. My quote was meant as a reminder of what I consider to be very good advice, as well as a subtle suggestion that you have over-simplified a complex issue. I have previously stated my desire to avoid these kinds of simplifications — we cannot progress if we don’t respect opposing viewpoints. It has always been my purpose to complicate matters of politics within the bicycle community. This is an honest, critical approach informed by years of education and on-the-ground activism, and it is one that I have tried very hard to articulate in a respectful tone.

    But, once again, Scott, you have chosen a radically different approach. You are clearly hostile to me. I believe, for example, that the intonation in the sentence “pretty much everybody’s 5th grade english [sic] teacher” is designed to undermine my character and impugn my intellect. So, whereas I suggested you were over-simplifying you implied I have the cognitive skills of a 10-year-old child. This represents a qualitative difference in our methods of political discourse.

    I honestly don’t understand why you feel the need to constantly reply to my comments in such mean, uncivil tones. Please elevate the dialogue or leave me alone. I mean, do you really think you can scold me with pithy asides until I submit to your way of thinking? You have my photo, you have my name, you have my honest opinion… why must you be so hostile toward me? I’m not hiding, and I’m certainly not trolling. I’m offering a more radical opinion. Why is this so threatening?

  17. “There’s a good chance…”

    Why do you feel this way? Did Mr. Skeenes mention a lot of BMXers?

  18. Officer Skeenes said that when they stopped the cyclists without brakes after running a stop sign they would look like they were part of Flintstones cartoon trying to use their feet to stop.

    That description sounds less like a fixie rider and more like a brakeless rider with a freewheel. That kind of setup is more common on BMX bikes.

  19. And my quote was a reminder that, whenever confronted with the idea that we as cyclists ought to clean up our own backyard before demanding that others clean theirs, and that perhaps our own actions have consequences, your seemingly only response is to generate a few bushels of empty faux-intellectual verbiage that dances around pointing fingers but fails to say anything of substance to support the opposing viewpoint besides “it’s complicated.”

    Trust me I’m intimately familiar with your opinions. I’ve held them myself nearly 30 years ago when I was fresh out of school and still way too full of myself to be able to honestly examine my own flawed premises and realize the damage my “activism” was doing. I eventually managed however, and I think my conclusions are obvious by now. As to why I’m “picking-on” you, read my advice to Tabot below. As someone who elsewhere in this venue has both bragged about ignoring the laws that you feel don’t apply to you, and praised that behavior in others as some sort of progress, while claiming that the anger some motorists display toward bicyclists exists in a vacuum with no connection to that behavior, all I’ve asked you repeatedly is to provide something – anything – of substance to support that position. All I’ve gotten so far are accusations, obfuscation, and deflection. If you truly have nothing, then perhaps you should reexamine *your* premises?

    “Everyone is entitled to their opinion” is a true statement.
    “All opinions are correct and equally valid” is not.

  20. Scott,

    There’s no need for this open hostility. You appear to projecting your personal frustrations onto me. Please leave me alone.

  21. aaaaaand…

    More of the same. This couldn’t reinforce my whole point better than if I’d written it myself – thanks!

  22. Scott,

    I have voiced my opinion several times and supported it with anecdotal and philosophical examples — go back through my posts to verify (though you have consistently failed to honor this evidence so I won’t be surprised if you choose not to). I have also tried my best to maintain civility when attempting to articulate my particular dissent on a number of political subjects. This is not an aberration; it’s very much in keeping with the spirit of TucsonVelo. My understanding, at least, is that this website was a forum for community members to engage with the world of ideas around bicycle-related issues; that it was a relatively safe place to get informed and share perspectives, all of them, even the most unconventional.

    But you, sir, apparently have a different idea of what TucsonVelo really is all about, and you’ve taken an entirely different approach to communicating with other members of the bicycle community. With me at least, you are unexpectedly informal, condescending, rude and rather smarmy. You continue to seek out and undermine my comments, unsolicited, despite repeated requests that you either tone it down or back off completely. You are a troll and an intellectual bully who is now setting up a false litmus test: either I play by your narrow, hegemonic ideas of what constitutes political discourse or I am a fraud. Basically, I must agree with everything you say, continue to accept your abuse, or, should I chose to exit this unhealthy relationship, it will be implied that I am a coward and I will subsequently be subject to never-ending scorn. Whatever I do I’m screwed! This is just a cynical, juvenile debate tactic on your part and it is entirely dishonest. I rebuke it and rebuke your insincerity.

    Your sense of perspective, moreover, is woefully out-of-balance. In a country where, on average, 350 people die every day from automobile-related accidents, the fervor with which you openly and curtly attack my perspective — the outlier opinions one lone cyclists in Tucson, Arizona — is really, really off-kilter. I mean, the view from a 1000 feet is that we are pretty much the exact same bicycle advocate. Compare you and me to some gas-guzzling, car-loving, middle-class, suburban, right-wing corporatist… and we begin to look like twins! We both love the road and we love our rides, and we both want to see better conditions for Tucson cyclists. To be sure, the differences between us relatively small, tiny, virtually non-existent. And yet you continue to blow them up to monumental distinctions and self-righteously lob insults in my direction. Your desire to win some itty-bitty little confrontation on an obscure, local website is absolutely grotesque and totally disproportionate to the realities we face every day in this immense, perverted car culture. “Forrest for the trees,” comes to mind.

    If I have triggered some deep, perhaps historical psychological conflict in you (as you seem to have indicated with the summation of your personal history a couple replies back), please accept my sincerest apology. It was not my intention to agitate on that level. I don’t know you and I don’t know what you’ve see or been through as a cyclist and activist. But such accidental, entirely unintentional affronts on my part are certainly no excuse for you to be so disrespectful to me, to vilify my perspective as though it were a plague on humanity. My claims may be radical, but they’re certainly not unheard-of (lots of cyclists in the US feel as I do) and they’re nowhere near outrageous enough to warrant such contempt. Whatever my intellectual crimes, you are way, way out-of-line to make me your punching bag.

    So, please, please go away and I will do the same. This is not appropriate, healthy or productive for us to be going back and forth like so. By all means, have the last word. You’ll hear nothing more from me. Good luck and goodbye.

  23. Again you two have had an interesting discussion/argument. I find myself agreeing with you both from time to time.

    It has begun to devolve again.

    I appreciate the thought and time you both take reading and commenting.


  24. I saw one you described last night he used his feet to put brake on rear wheel… however as we approached Univ and 4th. he was already on pavement and I passed him by. apparently got tangled with spokes eh… what he had was a freewheel with NO brakes on front or rear! his road (not bmx) bike is ALL BLACK.

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