With summer approaching, local mountain bikers have created a petition urging Pima County to open their trail systems for night riding.

Currently Pima County trails and parks, including the Loop, are open from dawn to dusk.

Sonoran Desert Mountain Bicyclist vice president, Marth Lemen said the petition was created by an SDMB member and it is something the organization supports.

“SDMB is interested in changing park hours to accommodate the many riders and other trail users who use the trails after hours,” She said. Night riding is a great way to get exercise and not die of the heat in summer and in winter, it allows for exercise during the short days.”

The reality is that riding at night on popular Pima County trails like Sweetwater and Starr Pass is largely ignored by law enforcement, but it’s something mountain bicyclists would prefer to be made legal.

Lemen said the group hasn’t set an hour at which they would like to have the parks close instead, but she personally thinks 10 p.m. would be a reasonable closing time.

James DiDomenico wrote a comment on the petition site saying, “Tucson county parks currently close at dark, an ambiguous time. ‘Dark’ occurs in the winter months at close to 530 PM and in summer months around 8 PM. These times hardly give taxpayers who work all day time to enjoy the parks! I would like to see a fixed time, such as 10 or 11PM as a closing time, if one is actually needed. This gives everyone adequate notice and allows police to patrol and ticket offenders if needed. As mentioned by others, summer heat in Tucson makes outdoor activities unrealistic during the hot daytime hours. Lets keep the parks open to recreational users, forcing vandals to go elsewhere!”

The petition creators are hoping to get 1,000 signatures. As of this writing 457 people have signed the petition.

Signs at the Sweetwater trailhead ask hikers and cyclists to keep their voices down because the noise travels easily in the area. Additional and later noise could be a concern for residents who live near the trails.

You can sign the petition here.

7 thoughts on “Mountain bikers petition county to allow night riding”
  1. If the County wants to hold up the illusion that The Loop isn’t just for recreation (I use it for both recreation and transportation) and deserves alternative transportation funding, it should be open 24 hours. The freeway or any other road that caters to cars doesn’t close at dusk. I don’t Mountain Bike, but I agree with the heat sentiment as well.

  2. I agree with James. The Loop is part of the bicycle transportation infrastructure. With adequate lighting it is much safer than using surface streets. It is part of my daily commute which includes commuting after dark several times a week. Even at the risk of citation I will continue to use the Loop figuring that my personal safety is more important than avoiding citation. 

  3. I ride the Loop for just recreation, I don’t live near it and I work from home.  Most of the time I’m on it after dark.  I rode it last nigh, in fact.  I can’t understand why it would be illegal to ride it after dark.  Who thought that was a good idea?

  4. Does Arizona have a ‘stand your ground’ law? I suppose law enforcement has concerns about security and its inability to patrol the loop. Ah, well, maybe the trails, too. Does the bike-jacking from a while ago concern anyone?

  5. I’ve ridden the Loop many times after dark to get to when I was going while not having to ride on River.  It always mystified me that it was closed after dark.  That’s not taking bicycle transportation seriously.

  6. I wasn’t even aware that the Loop was closed after dark until reading the comments for this article.  That policy seems silly to me too…it’s clearly much safer to ride parts of the loop at night than to ride equivalent distances on surface streets.

    I haven’t mountain biked at all at night, but that seems like a reasonable idea too.  I’d venture to say that most, if not all, people who go out there at night are well-prepared equipment-wise.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.