All posts by ArizonaBikeLaw

lane-splitting is lane-sharing

This is still in quite rough form. Bear with me as I elaborate. The premise is (motorcycle) lane-splitting is related to (bicycle) lane sharing.

Lane splitting Legal Misconception

Note that the motorcyclist is NOT driving on the lane line

I was under the impression, what I believe now to be a common misconception, that motorcycle lane-splitting refers to a motorcyclists splitting between two lanes; in other words riding on the dashed line.

There are two related traffic rules, the first is general and applies to all persons driving any vehicle: motorcyclists, motorists driving cars/trucks, and incidentally also to bicyclists. This general rule implicitly makes lane-splitting by riding on the dashed line illegal. Continue reading lane-splitting is lane-sharing

Where do traffic laws apply?

[ For where and how traffic laws in Arizona apply to bicyclists, see this article ]

The rules of the road (ROR) apply to motorists when an a road; but what about when driving in a parking lot? A private street? etc?

What are usually referred to as the ROR, like stopping, right-of-way, signals, etc, are contained in Arizona Revised Statutes, Title 28, Chapters 3. (Chapter 4 is impaired driving and is treated specifically below). Here is the key statute, along with the key definition,  emphasis added in italics:


§28-621. Applicability to vehicles on highways; exceptions

The provisions of this chapter [chapter 3, the ROR] and chapter 5 [penalties] of this title [title 28, Transportation] relating to the operation of vehicles refer exclusively to the operation of vehicles on highways except:
1. If a different place is specifically provided by statute.
2. Article 4 [hit-and-run] of this chapter and section 28-693 [reckless driving] apply on highways and elsewhere throughout this state.

§28-101, 57. “Street” or “highway” means the entire width between the boundary lines of every way if a part of the way is open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel.


So the key definition being highway (synonymous with street), and encompasses the entire width; including the roadway where vehicles normally driven, any shoulders, any parking, and even any sidewalks. It also would appear from the definition of highway that it’s immaterial whether or not the land is “private property”.

The exceptions are pretty obvious: hit-and-run, as well as reckless driving apply not just when driving on roads, but  “…and elsewhere”; which means everywhere and anywhere.

I don’t know of any laws that fall into the #1 exception, where the statute explicitly states where a law might apply elsewhere. ?

So a few potential non-public categories arise

  • Gated communities (private streets): The ROR don’t apply
  • Ungated but private streets: ??
  • Private campus (e.g. campus of a private university): ??
  • Public campus (e.g. ASU, NAU, etc): I seem to remember that they are their own public agency, analogous to a city, e.g. ASU police are NCIC 797… so yes ROR would apply.
  • Commercial or private Parking lots: ? parking lots in general all seem to encompass both some areas of travel, “roads” if you will, and vehicular storage. ??

Where the ROR don’t apply, run-of-the-mill traffic violations can’t be imposed: so disregarding signs, signals, speed limits, etc can be cited. The behavior would have to rise to the level of reckless driving in order to be charged.

None of that has anything to do with civil liability in the event of a collision; just that those laws can’t be cited against a driver.

When a crash occurs involving a motor vehicle, this all ties in to whether or not crashes (and therefore injuries and fatalities) get reported via trackable means, an Arizona Crash Report; or become non-traffic incidents and not counted towards officially reported traffic statistics (i.e. in Arizona by ADOT, or federally by NHTSA)

Left Cross Collision

Left-Cross collision. Graphic: cyclingsavvy.org

A Cross-type Bike-MV collision occurs when a bicyclist and motorist who are traveling in opposing directions collide while the motorist is making a turn. If both are traveling in proper direction, it would be a left cross; as illustrated between the blue vehicle and the bicyclist in the illustration. For a counter-flow bicyclist, a right-cross can occur.

(This in in contrast to to a hook collision, which involves a turning motorist and a same direction cyclist. ) Continue reading Left Cross Collision

13-year-old boy struck, killed on sidewalk in south Phoenix by susp impaired driver

(Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

12/1/2017 ~ 1:30pm A SB driver 19th Ave near Broadway, Phoenix for unknown reasons crossed over NB lanes and up on the sidewalk, killing 13 y.o. Cordell Gooch

Police say there were “early indications that the driver showed signs of impairment”

Continue reading 13-year-old boy struck, killed on sidewalk in south Phoenix by susp impaired driver

ASU doctoral student killed in Tempe crosswalk crash

“Left Cross” collision

[ 11/24 Updates on this shocking crosswalk fatality continue to ooze out from Tempe police, as the grieving family of Xiaoying Wen came to Tempe from China seeking answers; “Tempe police said both had the green light, but Wen failed to yield, and Tempe city law dictates that bicyclists must yield to motorists”. See below for this bad local law. LAB Bike Friendly GOLD? ]

The 11/21 News story says the crash occurred ‘last week” ? news media seems to report less and less.
Date:  [Thursday 11/16/2017 ~ 4:15pm per comment below] Location: intersection of Rural Road and Vista del Cerro Drive
Continue reading ASU doctoral student killed in Tempe crosswalk crash

Serious injury crash Sahuarita

Crash October 13, 2017 ~ 1:30pm La Cañada and Sahuarita Road.  The description from the new report was, a driver “traveling north on [presumably South] La Cañada [Drive] collided with the bicyclist at the intersection of Sahuarita Road as the bicyclist tried to turn north [i.e. a right turn] from westbound Sahuarita Road” Continue reading Serious injury crash Sahuarita

Tempe Traffic Collisions

There have been 4 bicyclists killed in Tempe traffic collisions on city streets (excludes limited-access highways) over the past 5 years [five year period 2010-2014); at the same time dozens of motorists and 14 pedestrians have been killed.

[UPDATE: There were zero bicyclist fatalities in 2009, and 2015; there was one in 2016, and one in 2017 (as of December). I.e. there have been a total of 6 bicyclist traffic fatalities in the past 9 years]

Scope of the Problem

For the figures in this report, a 5-year time period, 2010-2014 was selected (the most recent available at the time; 2015 has since become available). Many additional crashes occur (14,000!) occur in Tempe on limited access highways; these crashes are not included.

There were 21,167 traffic crashes reported in the period, below are the number of people, by person type, involved: Continue reading Tempe Traffic Collisions

Another Ahwatukee jogger killed on sidewalk: driver arrested

Photo: ABC15. Driver Arrested suspicion of Manslaughter

Holy sh!t, another one, I mean another jogger in Ahwatukee… this is a small place. Freak “accident”? Two freak “accidents”?;

11/2/2017 ~ 4AM . Pedestrian /  jogger killed on sidewalk near Lakewood Parkway and Amberwood Drive this is a collector road in a residential neighborhood. Police suspect driver was impaired, she was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter. Witnesses reported that the driver of the vehicle, 25-year-old Shannon Scott, was driving on the sidewalk when Hilts was struck”

Continue reading Another Ahwatukee jogger killed on sidewalk: driver arrested