The Tuesday Night Bike Ride has had its share of run in before, but never an agitated pedestrian pushing someone off their bike. Police intervened in this ride back in August 2010.

This week’s Tuesday Night Bike Ride was marred by an incident between a pedestrian and cyclists that ended with a cyclist being pushed to the ground and the police being called.

According to participants in the ride, the incident occurred near Third Street when cyclists were heading north on Dodge and a male pedestrian was walking south in the road.

Laura Leigh said the group was on Dodge when they encountered a man who had his arms out.

“At first I thought he was high-fiving people. Then I saw him trying to grab cyclists to push people off their bikes,” Leigh said. “He kept saying ‘vehicles to the right, vehicles to the right everybody to the right.’ When I passed he said ‘cyclists need to obey the rules of the road.'”

Leigh said there was no traffic on the road and they weren’t obstructing anyone.

Jonny Udull was riding at the back of the pack picking up stragglers and making sure no one was left behind.

He said he saw the man walking down the street flailing his arms and yelling at everyone. Udull said the man rushed him and shoved him off his bike. He said it seemed like he waited until most of the riders had gone by so that other people wouldn’t see him do it.

According to Tucson Police Department spokeswoman Sgt. Maria Hawke, both Udull and the pedestrian called the police. The pedestrian told police that a group of cyclists tried to run him over and he was defending himself. He stayed and waited for the police to show up.

Udull, who also called the police, told the 911 operator that he was attacked by a pedestrian.

Hawkes said no police report was filed and the pedestrian wasn’t arrested because Udull didn’t want to press charges.

Udull said he would have liked to have to pressed charges, but figured it would just be too much of pain for the rest of the cyclists involved to get out of work to go to court.

Ultimately he just asked the officer to talk to the pedestrian and tell him he needed to respect cyclists’ right to the road.

Leigh said a police officer who responded was actually hostile to the cyclists and insinuated the riders were probably at fault.

“He said ‘What you people are doing on these Tuesday night rides is a nuisance and creating situations that this city doesn’t need,'” Leigh said. He gave us a really hard time. He said ‘I am an avid cyclist, I am pro-cycling and what you are doing is giving cycling a bad name.”

Udull said he wasn’t too badly injured but that his elbow is sore after falling on it.

He said the bike ride is very important to him and makes him feel like he is part of the community and hopes this incident won’t affect the spirit of the ride.

“I don’t want people not to go on the ride because of it,” he said. “I’m glad it happened to me and not someone else on the ride.”


29 thoughts on “Weekly Tuesday night ride marred by shoving incident”
  1. The riders didn’t get it and because there wasn’t a police report, I can’t find it.

  2. Is the officer wrong?  Of the cyclists in the photo only 4 are wearing helmets, some don’t have (visible) front lights, they are way more than two abreast and taking up 3 lanes of traffic (incl. bike lane).  Riding a bike by itself is not virtuous.  Riding in a group that is respectful and promotes community (including people in cars and walking etc.) is, but that’s not what’s happening in this photo. 

  3. As a point of clarification ( I tried to make it clear in the caption) The photo was not taken on Tuesday, but rather August of last year.

  4. I’ve been on the Tuesday night ride almost every week for the past year and a half.  Sometimes the riders do act pretty dumb, but this man’s actions were way out of proportion to what the group was doing.  This guy was upset because riders were in both lanes of a 2-way residential street.  It was about 9:15 at night and there was no traffic so the riders in the passing lane weren’t causing any problems.  It clearly upset this fellow’s  sensibilities tho and he was roughing up a bunch of people to demonstrate it.  The man must have been drunk, I can’t imagine a sober person physically confronting a group of 150 people single handedly.  The police officer should have hauled the guy in.  He could’ve done that whithout Jonnie filing a charge.  I have to say I’m not happy w/ the police response.  The officer seems to be saying that assault and battery is justified against anyone commiting a traffic offense.  Perhaps it’s just OK if you do it to anyone who’s “giving cyclists a bad name.”  I think the officer should have called his Sergeant for advice.

  5. The Tuesday Night Bike Ride is as innocuous as you can get with a group that size. The responding officer knows nothing of what he speaks. The ride uses residential streets for better than 95% and there is amazingly little traffic on Tuesday night.
    You can check past routes here:
    Change the month and day for older routes (except Sept. 27 isn’t working).
    Strange how one meathead can kink things up.

  6. “Leigh said a police officer who responded was actually hostile to the cyclists and insinuated the riders were probably at fault.”

    All hearsay (above) and theater aside,

    Did Laura Leigh file a report with TPD’ s Office of Professional Standards?

    Why, why not?

  7. That’s me with the Broken Keyboard.  The September 27 route should work, in the very least, it works in google maps.

    I’ve been collecting Tuesday Night GPS Traces and I’ll put more routes into that directory soon.  I have 80 rides cataloged, ranging all the way back to 2007 (though I only have 1 route from in 2010).

  8. I was there and I remember this guy who was walking.  He was being very aggressive and rude, flailing his arms and telling us to “stay on the right” when there was no one on the street except for him and us.  Honestly, he appeared to be drunk but of course I can not confirm or deny this whatsoever.  I am shocked and saddened to hear that he attacked someone; I thought he was just being vocal.  As a witness to this mans behavior, he was most likely the only one at fault.  

  9. It certainly sounds like the pedestrian was looking to cause a stir or more, and hopefully that will be legally addressed. That said, I’ve seen the Tuesday night ride on multiple occasions and observed a rather lax observation of traffic laws by the riders.  They’d do a lot more for the cycling community if they rode with respect, on the correct side of the road, and stopped at appropriate traffic control devices.  Watching them ride certainly doesn’t breed any respect for cycling.  Being in a group ride, certainly one without police escort, does not grant the group the right to ignore laws they find inconvenient.

    As much as we cyclists (and I don’t own a car, so my bike is my transportation, recreation, and training modality) get justifiably bent about drivers not observing the laws, drivers also are justifiably bent about the way a fair number of cyclists conduct themselves.  If some cyclists can’t figure out how to ride lawfully, then they’re either not mature enough or don’t care enough to be allowed on the roads.

  10. Come out on a Tuesday night, PSI, and see it from the other side.  You really can’t understand until you come out.  If we abided by all the traffic laws there couldn’t be a ride, it would be a bunch of little knots of riders strung out for miles.  In addition to that, I’m not aware of any rider ever getting struck by a car during the ride.  I could be wrong, hopefully someone w/ greater knowledge will correct that if I am. 

  11. Sorry.  I’m not interested in riding on the opposite side of the road and disregarding laws as I’ve seen some of the riders do.  I don’t support that type of cycling.  I’ve stopped riding with another group for fairly similar reasons.

    Most drivers would like us to observe the laws and ride with respect for those laws.  Inconvenient laws that would result in a strung-out group is just too bad.

    Seeing more riders on the roads during the day and week helps increase the safety of riders.  This has been shown in every statistical study I’ve seen of cities who’ve see significant decrease in car vs. bicycle accidents.  No such studies exist to show that disregarding laws increases safety for the community.

    I am certain that at least some of the riders on the Tuesday night ride observe the laws.  Unfortunately, it seems a significant number do not observe the laws.  If the organizers would make efforts to insure riders behave, that would-be nice.  If the ride had a police escort, that would be great.

    Using the Tuesday ride logic, is there a reason that cars should to be allowed to use both sides of two streets?  I don’t think so.

    I do know from interacting with drivers, that a huge complaint is rides not observing the law.  It’s a valid complaint, just as is our complaint about drivers not observing the law.

    There is nothing to understand about the illegal behavior of a significant number of the Tuesday night riders that would justify their illegal behavior.

    To be clear, this argument is completely separate from the apparent actions of the pedestrian in the article and any police officers that responded or behaved in any unprofessional or improper manner.

    Lastly, no emotional appeal will change my mind.  The laws in this are pretty clear.

  12. What part of no one has ever been hurt by traffic did you miss? Laws are made by people to protect people. If people are as safe ignoring a law as they are abiding by it, then the law serves no purpose or it’s scope is broader than it should be. Traffic laws are written for cars and then applied to bicycles, often regardless of their appropriateness. There are things that other riders have done on some Tuesday night rides that are potentially hazardous and I don’t condone them at all, but riding on both sides of an empty side street isn’t one of them. FYI, the Tuesday night ride has no leaders because the riders won’t have any. Generally, someone will come up w/ a route, but that’s all the leadership there is. Therefore, every rider is responsible for their own behavior. Usually when someone acts aggregiously, riders near them will chastise them. Otherwise, we’re all on our own.

  13. The “no one has been injured ignoring traffic laws” argument is of course incorrect in general, and a red herring.  You are suggesting every individual gets to decide whether or not the traffic laws apply to them?  Anyone can ignore any rule they think is ineffective?  Does that philosophy support the community part of the Tuesday Night Community Bike Ride? 

    It doesn’t really matter whether the ride is generally “innocuous” or no one has been injured.  If you want to be respected by motorists (or anyone else) you need to follow the same rules you expect them to follow.  If the laws are inappropriate or not useful, work to change the laws, don’t just flagrantly ignore them.

  14. Well said.  We need the respect of the community, drivers, and the people formulating and enacting laws that help protect cyclists.  We need all of that to gain better influence in the integration of cycling into the transportation infrastructure and planning.  More importantly, we need all that to earn the respect that cycling deserves.

  15. We need the cooperation and acceptance of bicycles in the traffic stream.  Respect might be a goal but I’d settle for not being harassed   I’m like you, I’ve never riden in the Tuesday night ride and really cannot offer any direct experience of what that might be.  I’m not qualified to offer an opinion on the subject but seeing the precedent already set I will.  I find the ride delightful.  Seeing those bicycles stream up 4th Ave or meander down a side street just brings a smile to my face.  That’s a world I want to live in.  

    Pretending that the implications of bicyclists running stop signs etc is the same as it is if cars were engaging in the same behaviors is just silly.  The forces and energy involved are simply not the same and the risk is almost entirely shifted to the bicyclist.  Having just spent 4 hours observing traffic at the 4th Ave tunnel, downtown side I can tell you that the vast majority of misbehavior in traffic at that location was cars not bicyclists.  A good read on this topic is the Pedaling Revolution.  

    Guy standing in road harassing bicyclists.  So are you actually saying that because the TNR folks are more than 2 abreast on a side street that it’s ok for a person to stand in the street and push a person down?  They’re bad so anything the guy does is ok?  Hearsay aside it does sound as if somebody from TPD might feel that way.  Again that’s just silly.  The 2 things don’t have much to do with each other unless of course you’re buying the respect model of bicycling which I’m not.  

    Reading the comments on articles about bicycle related topics I was initially appalled. People seem to be condoning using their cars as weapons but I’m beginning to have a different understanding of the commenting phenomenon.  I think it’s like the smokers as their world was eroding, going from smoking on airplanes to  meekly clustered in little groups away from the entrances of buildings with their eyes averted.  In the middle of all of that change they were militant. I think a similar thing is happening with the car bike thing.  The word is changing and people feel threatened and the rhetoric is what results.  

  16. This will be my last comment on this because this is not an internet forum.  First, no one is pretending that the impulse generated by a bicycle moving at velocity, u, is even within an order of magnitude of the impulse generated by a car moving at that same velocity, u.   It is however patently stupid to think that a bicyclist ignoring traffic laws  cannot cause a chain of events which starts with a car maneuvering quickly at velocity, u, and that car then imparting a significant impulse on another car, a pedestrian, a kid on a bike.  Assuming that can’t happen is, again, stupid.

    I love seeing lots of bikes on the road, but unlike you, I’m not overjoyed to see a mass of bikes meandering down a street with a significant number of riders ignoring laws.  I see nothing joyful whatsoever in a rider or riders ignoring laws for their own convenience and selfishness and thereby increasing the odds that some innocent person will suffer some harm, that some family will end up distraught, be it the innocent’s family or that if the ignoramus rider. 

    So, you would settle for not being harassed, eh?  So does that mean a car driver that respects cyclists or that drives responsibly should settle for ignoramuses on bikes, riders that have no respect or intention  to follow the laws we cyclists, as road users are required to follow?  Boy, that’s pretty much the definition of a double standard.  And that attitude is no attitude that is going to do anything toward reducing the harassment that cyclists see from time to time.

    No where did I state it was alright for the pedestrian in the specified ride to stand in the middle of the street and harass cyclists.  I didn’t hint at that, and I certainly didn’t imply that.  I thought it was pretty damned obvious what he did was absolutely wrong.  Your interpretation that I said anything remotely resembling the accusation embedded in your question is evidence of  a  purposeful misreading of my statements.  Likewise I did not excuse one bit any unprofessional behavior of police.  For such a purposeful misreading, a tidy gesture of propaganda, I think my comments on your post are at an end and that your comments display a complete lack of respect.

  17. Hey PsiSquared, it’s not all about you.  The comment about the hearsay is taken from something Red Star said.  Bits and pieces from the entire thread.  I’m sorry if my lead confused you. Yes, we do not agree on a lot of this stuff and I think we don’t have much common ground in terms of how to actually address it. Oh well  I’ll just leave it at that.  Best wishes

  18. Helmet gripes about adults not wearing helmets and then summons the phrase “red herring.” It’s a rich broth.

  19. We are goodwill ambassadors for biking more than any other group in this city.  People smile when we pass.  We greet them and they greet us.  We bring a lot of joy to the community every Tuesday night.  There’s no accounting for people who want to stick their finger in the soup of someone slurping too joyfully, but that’s what I think is happening here and is exactly what happened with the violent man last Tuesday night.  I was also there.  He was someone who was looking to take the joy away from anyone he could find.  It just happened to be a bunch of really happy people who ambled by and he knocked one of us down out of pure jealousy and anger with his own life.  For the cops to have ignored that kind of evil when so many witnesses testified to his behavior, was gross on their part.  And for a reporter not to be given the info on which cop was accused of handling the situation so poorly as to not at least take the violent man in, makes me a little queasy, to say the least.  He’s now free to lash out at the next victim since there were no consequences for doing it to the last one – and trust me, it WILL happen.  But none of us will ever know about it because this incident, which should have been taken very seriously, got blown off.  That’s what the focus should be here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.