The rain and potential police action may have kept some people away from the Tuesday Night Bike Ride — including the police.

Although the police were invited and said they would attend the ride to talk to the group they didn’t show, but between 75-100 cyclists did.

Bike ambassador Colin Holmes and longtime Tuesday night biker Karl Goranowski, who went on some of the original Tuesday rides, addressed the group before the ride.

Holmes and Goranowski asked the group to try to be more respectful of the laws and drivers on the road to avoid having more police intervention in the ride.

Frequent Tuesday night rider Wes Shull said before the ride that he thought the police department’s concerns about drivers having to wait were overblown.

“Yeah we should all share the road, but there are 200 of us and one of them,” Shull said. “They can’t wait a few minutes?”

Goranowski, who led the ride, said he is a pessimist and didn’t think trying to slow the ride down and get riders to obey the laws would work.

Shull said he had mixed feeling about the ride.

In some ways it was better than the last couple times, more controlled, more sane,” Shull said.

The ride was much more reserved and took roads with lower traffic including; Mountain, Blacklidge, Treat and Elm. The overall speeds were much lower and the group waited for riders to catch up when they were caught by a light.

Twice during the ride, most cyclists dismounted at pedestrian signals to walk their bikes across, something Shull said he thought was overkill.

“Yeah, that’s the law, but in a lot of those places there is just no good legal way to get a bunch of people across in one cycle.

Shull said if the goal is to minimize traffic disruption riding across the intersection makes more sense.

Goranowski said he recognizes the ride was slower and the walking across intersections is extreme, but he wanted to make a point that the ride could still be fun when the group slows down and follows the rules.

Shull said he hopes the ride finds a middle ground between total chaos and strict compliance.

“We need to achieve a balance,” Schull said. We over-corrected this time.”

17 thoughts on “Police a no-show at Tuesday Night Bike Ride”
  1. TPD had their hands full last night with many traffic signals out. They were directing traffic all over town!

  2. Woo! I’m the contrarian voice!

    FWIW I do appreciate what Colin and Karl were trying to do; we just disagree on the details.

  3. “Yeah we should all share the road, but there are 200 of us and one of them,” Shull said. “They can’t wait a few minutes?”

    Hoo-boy… seriously?

    We find it exasperating and insulting when some mouth-breather in an SUV says something stupid like “cars outnumber bikes by hundreds to one – they can’t just ride on the bike paths and sidewalks?” But somehow the above attitude is supposed to be different in any way?

    How difficult is it really to wait and regroup past the light if everyone doesn’t make it through on one green?

    Only slightly related, but still funny – the wife was competing in a pageant in downtown L.A. a couple of years ago, the photog wanted a picture of the rather large group of contestants in front of a fountain at the outdoor mall on the next block but didn’t have a city permit. So the plan was to get all the girls in position in the hotel, have them remember their position in relation to everyone else, and at “go” to walk en mass down the street to the fountain, get in position fast for a couple of quick shots, then back before the cops show up.

    Believe it or not, more than a few drivers honked and shouted angrily because 120 of the world’s hottest women in bikinis and high heels were corking the intersection. Only in L.A.

  4. After hitting the “post” button I started thinking “ok, maybe here too” but the point is, do you really think you should be cut any more slack than a large crowd of babes in sequined bikinis?

  5. It’s not difficult to stop and wait and regroup after the light. It’s not difficult to stop at the green and wait for people to catch up before (like we did last night). It’s not difficult to just have everyone keep going. All of these potentially inconvenience someone… it just varies as to whether it’s cross traffic, or people behind us (or trying to turn left across us, or…). I prefer the option where we keep going; it is a bike ride, not a bike stop, after all.

    In a way, the law may (IANAL, go ask Erik) already recognizes my concept of “we outnumber them”. ARS §28-815(A) says we have to get right if we’re riding “at less than the normal speed of traffic [the definition of which includes cyclists] at the time and place and under the conditions”. When the ride is somewhere, I’d say *we* are setting that normal speed… But I would have expected the word “prevailing” there rather than “normal”, so maybe it implies some average “the normal speed there on Fridays at 5pm when it’s clear and sunny”?

  6. This evening, KGUN9 had a very one-sided report (no surprise there) regarding today’s TPD “crackdown” on pedestrian, bicycle and automobile traffic infractions. Perhaps local law enforcement decided against showing up yesterday at the Tuesday night ride because they knew they would be filling the public coffers with ticket money on Wednesday.

    An article from the Tucson Citizen gives a little more detail on today’s events:

    In any case, it’s pretty clear from these news items that there’s pretty much nothing bicyclists can do to ensure an accurate portrayal of our community, at least within in the mainstream press. Bicyclists in this town capture the public eye only when we are breaking the law, no matter how minor the violation or complicated the context, etc. That’s just the way it is, and I’m afraid no amount of politicking from within the system will serve to improve this situation.

    So, in my opinion, this is good news. Everybody loves to hate the guy in the black cowboy hat, so he gets press. Bikers are looking pretty bad again — as usual — but at least the television-watching masses are given an opportunity to see us (that’s two segments in just over a week!). My hope here is that this will eventually translate into greater awareness of the cycling community’s existence. People watch out for villains. Nobody watches out for fine, upstanding citizens.

  7. Of those three choices, waiting past the light inconveniences nobody, waiting before the light has the potential to inconvenience others only if cyclists break the law by blocking the street while the light is green – if they remain within the law and line up along the curb, no problem either. The choice that is the most “in your face” inconvenience possible, the one that does more to damage our cause with the public than almost anything else, is the one you espouse – blowing through red lights en masse.

    While the “majority rules” rationalization you mention might prevail in a case that hangs on whether a cyclist was or wasn’t traveling slower than “traffic,” good luck trying to use that excuse to justify blowing through a red light or stop sign.

  8. “I’m afraid no amount of politicking from within the system will serve to improve this situation.”

    But there is, though it’s politicking within *our* system by getting cyclists to stop ignoring traffic laws. See what kind of damage a few selfish scofflaws can do to an entire community? Yeah, it won’t be easy – of the cyclists that are the problem, some are simply ignorant of the law, and that’s easy to fix with education. It’s the others that are the difficult ones, the ones that have convinced themselves of some kind of moral justification – they’re cyclists, dammit, and therefore don’t have to obey the stupid “car” laws. Many even rationalize that they’re helping the cause by making some sort of political statement or increasing our visibility, but it all boils down to simple human selfishness – like any car driver they just don’t want to be inconvenienced, and will tell themselves whatever they need to get away with whatever they can.

  9. This “there’s 200 of us and one of them” individual just did more damage to the Tucson cycling community than any number of traffic-related infractions.
    If your 200 riders had somewhere intrinsically important to be, like a Red Cross blood drive following a major tragedy, you might garner the sympathy of Tucson drivers. But you don’t. You go out and ride your bicycles as a pack for the fun of it and somehow expect drivers to sit at intersections waiting for you?
    What if that driver has somewhere important to be? Do you still outweigh their needs? With quotes like that, you come across as a pack of self-entitled elitists and build resentment against cyclists like myself who both drive and ride.
    Good story, Mike.

  10. @Scott
    “See what kind of damage a few selfish scofflaws can do to an entire community?”

    No, I don’t. You’ll have to clarify your position here because what I see is continued misrepresentation by the media regardless of the behavior of cyclists. Marginalized entities — in this case advocates of pedestrian and bicycle transportation — tend to remain second-class citizen despite their best efforts, especially so when those folk are up against massive, historically-entrenched systems like the pervasive American car culture. In other words, the only way people see the marginalized is through the filter of the privileged, which invariably seeks to define to ‘other’ as some kind of deviant outlaw. I refer you to the writing of Paolo Freire, just as one sample, for a more comprehensive analysis of the oppressor-oppressed relationship inherent to our society.

    “Many even rationalize that they’re helping the cause by making some sort of political statement or increasing our visibility, but it all boils down to simple human selfishness…”

    I think this is an unfortunate and hyperbolic summary that serves not to understand the wide variety of legitimate opinions among cyclists, but to distill all advocacy down to one narrow perspective and expel the rest. So while you may not agree with those individuals and their admittedly more aggressive position on the matter, this does not in any way invalidate their approach. One person’s “selfishness” is another person’s “direct action.” Intellectually speaking, at least, they all have a place at the table and are worth considering, objectively.

    So who are you, Scott, to conclude that one belongs and one does not? In an ostensibly democratic culture, your absolute worldview is the antithesis of what we hold true. While I appreciate your frustration (I’m sorry for that, most sincerely), I don’t understand the fundamentalism of you commentary. You’re intelligence and concern for this matter, which I very much share with you, is readily apparent. But I respectfully disagree with your conclusions.

    Personally, I’m of the opinion that we need community members involved on a multitude of different levels, including those good folks who have chosen to violate the law for strategic purposes. These acts may indeed result in undermining the concerted efforts of those working within the system, but there’s two sides to that coin. One could, theoretically, say the same thing of those who have chosen to form alliances with disreputable institutions like the TPD. For the record, and just to clarify, I’m NOT saying that. But one could, as you have in the reverse to the disadvantage of those who disagree with you. Everyone sees a car crash a little differently, you know?

    With all due respect, Scott, I just disagree. I have my reasons — statistical, philosophical, and, yes, anecdotal — and as of yet I have not been presented with an opposing view point to counteract the veracity of my own. This is a point of view, by the way, which is by no means limited to just one dude in Tucson, Arizona. I assure you, there are tens of thousands of cyclists in the United States and elsewhere who share my tolerance and admiration for this decidedly more radical approach to alternative transportation political engagement. We are many, we are not happy with the car culture, and we are responding accordingly.

    Thank you, also, for your general civility in this thread. It’s good that we can disagree without casting aspersions. I will probably not be able to respond again, however, because I am unfortunately very, very business right now with other responsibilities, for which I’m sure you can relate as a working man yourself. Besides, it’s fairly clear that we don’t see eye-to-eye on this subject and it doesn’t make a lot of sense to keep digging up the same old ground. I simply don’t have a lot of time to put towards these types of discussions. I feel that I have already made my opinions known, as have you, and there is no need for redundancy.

    But I wish you the best, Scott. Take care and good luck.

  11. Nope, sorry, rynsa. Scott takes this one.
    If these riders who are taking “direct action” did so in order to fight the ticket in court and to call attention to their misrepresentation, that’s one thing. But they think the traffic laws shouldn’t be enforced against them. That’s being a scofflaw and an elitist. You can ramble on and on with your civil discourse, but “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” this is not. It’s a schmuck running a stopsign because he doesn’t want to downshift gears and lose his momentum. Get over it.
    Footnote: If you don’t think the Gannett-owned Tucson Citizen is mainstream press, you’re either employed there or insane.

  12. @Borderrat
    I really don’t have any time to respond. But, quickly, I do encourage you to contact the cyclists who broke the law last week to inform them of your frustrations. I wasn’t there, so I’ll assume that aspect of your reply wasn’t meant for me. This “schmuck” was at home on the night in question.

    I do think the Tucson Citizen is mainstream press, by the way. There is nothing in my words to indicate otherwise. Because I linked to a given media outlet does not suggest a preference, and it says nothing about true thoughts. It’s just a link.

    Good day to you, sir.

  13. No offense, but that’s a fairly stupid idea. If I knew who the cyclist was, I wouldn’t be complaining on a public forum I know many cyclists read to give my point of view, would I? I’m sure they read it here. And I’m sure they’ve heard it before, they simply don’t change their behavior. A few tickets from TPD will alter that.
    You should be commended for trying to defend the indefensible, though. That’s hard to do and discussions wouldn’t be interesting without dissent.

  14. By your first paragraph I’m going to guess that at the root of our disagreement is that you somehow see yourself as “oppressed” and engaging in some sort of class war, whereas I see myself as just another guy in traffic, surrounded by other people just like myself trying only to get through their day – the vast majority of which are careful and considerate, with a smattering of assholes that are not so much. The only real difference being the choice of transportation, and I think we can all agree that inconsiderate assholes can be found on pretty much any conveyance, whether they use the excuse of being an “activist” or are just honestly inconsiderate. Unfortunately, the people they’re inconsiderate to usually can’t tell the difference.

    Hence the problem with that form of supposed “direct action.”

    It’s a little hard for me to understand this whole “oppression” viewpoint, seeing as how bicycles are only required to follow the exact same safety rules as all other traffic – even the “keep to the right” thing is equally applied to *motor* vehicles that are much slower than overtaking traffic, such as farm or construction vehicles. And even that’s required for the safety of all, not just the convenience of the “car culture” as some insist. The whole idea behind traffic law is to achieve what accommodates the greatest number of people with the highest efficiency and safety – the disparaging remarks you keep making about your “car culture” oppressors leads me to believe that you don’t share that goal, but would rather see non-bike transport cut way back or eliminated altogether. Am I correct?

    You and others may disagree with the “distribution curve” of traffic laws and feel that bicycles deserve special treatment, but simply ignoring the law as if it doesn’t even exist hurts not only cycling in general, but makes the roads less safe for all.

    And Borderrat has a good point – while we don’t know for sure the motivation of the cyclists in the video, I’m willing to bet dollars to donuts that “activism” has nothing to do with it.

    “I have my reasons — statistical, philosophical, and, yes, anecdotal — and as of yet I have not been presented with an opposing view point to counteract the veracity of my own.”

    Seems to me you have, repeatedly – so lets hear ’em.

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