Every day around noon, the University of Arizona mall is packed with students walking, riding and skating to and from classes and the student union.

Riding through the area can be a bit perilous. It’s been called the gauntletgantlet (see comments below).

Here is video I shot of the gauntlet.

22 thoughts on “Video: The UA Gantlet”
  1. I nearly wiped out on this stretch braking for someone but caught myself went into a tail whip (which is easy on that smooth surface), nearly whipped a girl with my rear wheel, but caught that, stayed on my pedals and rode off. Needless to say, I felt pretty cool. I’ve also just plain wiped out there during a storm and really wrecked my wrist.

  2. I am very, very cautious when riding along the mall now, after falling twice because of the slickness of the concrete. Still, riding on campus is kind of fun in a video game sort of way; you develop the ability to predict peoples’ movements so that you can smoothly navigate through the swarm.

  3. What camera did you use?  GoPro?  I hope you weren’t using your regular still camera in video mode or if you were you are more awesome than I could have imagined.  Pretty neat video.  Walking is actually worse than riding.  When I broke my frame I was at 1st and Mountain and trying to head back west walking with the bike in a hurry.  That was scarier but I was also earlier so the traffic was worse.  

  4. Fun to watch. But isn’t it one-way? Westbound traffic doesn’t cut over til you reach the Administration Bldg. I find folks raised in other parts have this difficulty.

  5. Oops.Sorry! Upon closer review, you were riding on the designated side. …Keep those helmetcam videos coming!

  6. Relatively light day. Not even a maintenance truck or event crew loading and unloading.  Notice the lack of perpendicular crossing/looking by pedestrians.

    Though I have been chastised for it, I ride faster, which causes pedestrians to be more cautious.

  7. Did you know that there’s a sign that says to yield to pedestrians if they get in the way…    sometime it’s funny, I slow down letting them cross but they stop and wait for me then I rolls my eye and pedaled on…     obviously both cyclists and pedestrians  doesn’t take the sign or rules seriously…   hence the gauntlet! 

  8. I’ll also say that riding this stretch becomes easier as you get further into the school year. The first month of school is insane because Freshmen have never walked anywhere a day in their lives. By the end of the year you don’t have oblivious, suddenly terrified, peds and cyclists ruining the flow of things.

  9. Even half-way or 2/3 through a school year, there are still way too many people that aren’t paying attention to the slightest thing going on around them as they cross the bike routes on campus.  There are pedestrians with heads impaled on cell phones or are blinded by their test messaging; brain dead employees and students driving electric carts; and more than a few cyclists who can neither pedal in straight line nor can they be bothered to look out for anyone.

    The design goal of some of the pavement finish was apparently to produce a perfect friction free surface.  They clearly did not have any human use in mind.  I’ve seen more than a few cyclists go down, as well as seeing a few pedestrians fall.  Being on campus between classes is one of the worst places to be on a bike in Tucson.

  10. From the black patch in front of the library at 7 seconds to the point at 28 seconds where you pass the blond woman on the cruiser is 400ft.  That is 13 mph, which is frankly irresponsibly too fast for those conditions.

    You are the fastest thing on the road there and only one other bike is even close.  If you had hit that woman you would be at fault and her lawyer would use this video as evidence you were acting negligently.

  11. I’ve almost hit pedestrians there many times.  Unfortunately, it’s the only path through unless you want to go all the way down to Broadway.  

  12. The speed limit is 20.  There’s a very wide sidewalk that pedestrians can walk on.  If they choose to walk on the road instead they need to look out for 20mph traffic.

  13. BJ, somewhere deep inside you is a responsible person who knows what BS that is.  A speed limit generally sets the upper limit on what is safe, not the minimum speed of traffic.  My wife was recently was rear ended on Broadway because she stopped for a crosswalk.  The other driver was doing the speed limit so the damage was only $5000.   I saw a motorcycle drive off the road on mt lemon some years back.  As he bounced down a ravine I swear heard him yell “the speed limit is 35 but I was only going 34 so why wasn’t I safe?!!!”  Or there was the time I drove into dust storm south of Phoenix.  The guy I was driving to airport wanted me to slow down since visibility was like 3ft, but I said “why, the speed limit is 75?”

    But that’s really a mute point.  Look carefully at the video.  There is no speed limit posted on that section.  The 20 is for the section east of cherry st.  After cherry street it isn’t a road in any real sense and the usual traffic laws don’t apply.  Hence the prominent signs every 50 ft “Bicycles yield to pedestrians” 

    And the sidewalk is 3ft wide.   

  14. I’m impressed you went out there and measured. That takes some dedication. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my GPS on at the time to look at that data.

    At the end when the woman was walking across the “street” I do not believe I was going the same speed ad I was during the points you reference.

    I do not recall seeing prominently displayed yield to pedestrian signs, but I’ll go back and check. I do think that if there, it’s pretty poor planning. No one would get any where if you were yielding to pedestrians all the time. Without having designated crosswalks it’s pretty impossible to make that work.

    Of course that is the whole point of the video. It’s utter chaos there.

    Also I am pretty sure the golf carts were going faster than I was, pedestrian just choose not to walk out in front of them.

    Thanks for reading and for your feedback.

  15. A gauntlet is also an ordeal. Gantlet is a crossing or convergence of train tracks. The use of “gantlet” for an ordeal is a bastardization of “gauntlet”.

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