Sidewalk Cycling in Arizona

Cycling on the sidewalk is generally far more dangerous than doing so properly in the roadway. All stats and studies that I am aware of reinforce this fact. For example, in the city of Phoenix’s 2007 Bicycle Collision Summary in the majority of the bike-motor vehicle collisions the cyclist was riding on the sidewalk just before the collision. (308 of 440 total collisions = 70%); and these numbers are pretty consistent, in the previous 2005 summary, it was 72%.

What about legality, though? (roundup of laws across 50 states here)First, we will consider Arizona state law — The Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS). The short answer is there is no statute prohibiting sidewalk cycling, it is therefore permitted. But the story doesn’t end there because in Arizona, local authorities are granted the authority to regulate all aspects of bicycle operation.

Arizona Revised Statutes

The longer explanation involves dissecting the rights and responsibilities of bicycle riders — §28-812 — which states that cyclists operating on the roadway or shoulder must follow the rules that apply to drivers of vehicles. Sidewalks are not part of the roadway or shoulder, see definitions in §28-601. In contrast, drivers of cars or other vehicles are expressly forbidden from driving on sidewalks, §28-904.

If this seems surprising, it also seemed that way to Arizona Supreme Court Justice Jack D. H. Hays too. Writing with reference to sidewalk cycling in the case of Maxwell v. Gossett (the whole case findings are reproduced below):

I am disturbed by the fact that the legal duties and obligations of persons on bicycles are not defined in the law. Some bicyclists ride with traffic, others ride facing traffic, and of course some ride in the crosswalk. Our statutes give no indication of what is and what is not appropriate.

This case was from 1980, and from what I can tell nothing has changed statutorially, and is still the law of the land.

I should also mention here that bicycles with wheels 16″ or smaller than 16″ — nominally a children’s “toy” bicycle , but also for example folding bicycles with small wheels — are not legally defined as bicycles at all, see definitions §28-101.

Localities

But we’re not done yet! ARS specifically grants the power to local authorities to regulate the operation of bicycles in §28-627 . This means that cities can, and most do, place regulations on the use of sidewalks by cyclists. Since there are dozens of independent cities, I can’t look at each of them but Phoenix is typical; see Chapter 36, Article IX (relevant codes are linked in ruling-cyclists-are-required-to-satisfy-nighttime-lighting-requirements). Highlights are that the direction of travel is not mentioned, cyclists must yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian, and that the city may ban cycling by means of erecting signs. Tempe’s code adds that bicycles must be operated “with traffic” — an unusual (but firmly grounded in safety) restriction, sec. 7-52(c).

Here’s a few more; Flagstaff is allowed unless posted, basically just like Phoenix (codepublishing.com/az/flagstaff/ 9-05-001-0007 ). Prescott, the city of Prescott, is banned. Conversely, in Prescott Valley, it is allowed unless posted, see here for references to both PV and city of Prescott ordinances.

In Tucson, it is generally banned unless a sign allows it, see 5-2 of Tucson code. (curiously, I cannot find a definition of ‘bicycle’ in their city code — i guess that means the state’s definition applies).

Conclusion

There is no Arizona state law regulating sidewalk cycling, but cities can and do have their own set of restrictions and requirement. Furthermore, the case of Maxwell v. Gossett reaches the somewhat surprising conclusion that cyclists riding in crosswalks (i.e. the continuation of riding on the sidewalk) have much the same right-of-way as pedestrians.

Crosswalk Addendum

By way of some more background on the legality of cycling in crosswalks; an analysis prepared by the Tuscon City Attorney’s office in 1998 found that (my emphasis) “…it is apparent that under the present state of law in Arizona a bicyclist is not prohibited from riding on or across a crosswalk…”. This analysis, as would be expected, relies heavily on Maxwell.

Some recent (2010) activity by Tuscon-area law enforcement resulted in this white-paper ARS 28-815(A) – The Most Incorrectly Used Citation: Riding a Bicycle in a Crosswalk IS Permissive and Lawful in Arizona, by attorney Eric Post.

The jurisprudence regarding cycling in crosswalks is all going the same way, you can read these full published cases on google scholar. These cases are all construing similar laws, and of course, Maxwell had direct bearing in Arizona since it is an Arizona Supreme Court ruling. All conclude something to the effect of “…bicycle riders and users of other human-powered conveyances legally in the crosswalk were entitled to the same rights as pedestrians” (which is quoted from the Tucson City Attorney’s analysis, linked above; which refers to several other persuasive cases).

  • Nish v. Schaefer, 2006 WY 85; 138 P.3d 1134; — Wyo.  Supreme Court 2006
  • Pudmaroff v. Allen, 89 Wn. App. 928;  951 P.2d 335; — Wash. Court of Appeals, 1st Div. 1998
  • Luellman v. Ambroz, 2 Neb.App. 855; 516 NW 2d 627 – Neb: Court of Appeals 1994
  • Schallenberger v. Rudd,  244 Kan. 230; 767 P. 2d 841 – Kan: Supreme Court 1989
  • Maxwell v. Gossett, 126 Ariz. 98; 612 P. 2d 1061 – Ariz: Supreme Court 1980 (also reproduced below)
  • Crawford v. Miller, 566 P. 2d 1264 – Wash: Court of Appeals, 1st Div. 1977. This case is cited by Maxwell, and importantly says that “A crosswalk is not a roadway…” for the purposes of the cyclist applicability statute.

UVC

The UVC (Uniform Vehicle Code — a model set of laws) certainly clears up the confusion, but remember, this has never been adopted in Arizona:

UVC § 11-1209(c), Bicycles and human powered vehicles on sidewalks

A person propelling a vehicle by human power upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, shall have all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances.

Some states, e.g. Florida, have adopted this sort of law… would that be good? That’s a good question… In the meantime I would just be happy to see police actually learn and enforce the law as it exists. Instead they typically fault the wrong party, and even wrongly cite the bicyclist for phony violations.


Maxwell v. Gossett, 126 Ariz. 98

612 P.2d 1061, 1062

Charles J. MAXWELL, next of friend of Jeffrey Jon Maxwell, Appellee,

v.

Celia Sharon GOSSETT and Thomas G. Gossett, husband and wife, Appellants.

No. 14676

Supreme Court of Arizona, In Division.

June 2, 1980.

Action was brought for injuries sustained by ten-year-old bicyclist in intersection collision with defendants’ automobile. The Superior Court of Maricopa County, Cause No. C-351976, Rufus C. Coulter, J., instructed the jury on contibutory negligence by a child, but refused defendants’ instructions concerning alleged violation of traffic laws. Defendants appealed from an award of damages for the injuries to the bicyclist. The Supreme Court, Cameron, J., held that the trial court properly refused to give defendents’ requested instructions.

Affirmed.

Hays, J., concurred specially and filed statement


  1. There was no causal connection between possibility that ten-year-old boy may have been riding bicycle on wrong side of street and collision with automobile which occurred while he was in crosswalk at intersection; thus, trial court, in action for injuries sustained in the accident, did not err on refusing to instruct jury as to statute requiring that bicycles be ridden on right side of street, since it was immaterial to whether he was negligent while riding his bicycle in crosswalk. A.R.S. § 28-815
  2. Safety zone statutes had no application to facts in action for injuries sustained by ten-year-old bicyclist when struck by car while riding in crosswalk. A.R.S. §§ 28­101, subd. 40, 28-602, subds. 2, 2(a, b), 28­831.
  3. Statute which applies same traffic laws to bicyclists as to drivers of motor vehicles does not prohibit riding of bicycle in cross-walk. A.R.S. §§ 28-602, subd. 2, 28-812, 28-831.
  4. Issue whether ten-year-old boy was negligent in riding bicycle in crosswalk was question of general contributory negligence for which jury was properly instructed, not negligence based on violation of statute which applies same traffic laws to riders of bicycles as it does to drivers of motor vehi-cles. A.R.S. § 28-812.

Burch, Cracchiolo, Levie, Guyer & Weyl, P. A. by Barry A. MacBan, Daniel P. Jantsch, Thomas G. Bakker, Phoenix, for appellee.Hoffman, Salcito & Stevens, P. A. by Gene C. Stevens, James W. Evans, James W. Fritz, Phoenix, for appellants.

 


CAMERON, Justice.This is an appeal by the defendants from an award of $15,250 for injuries to Jeffrey Jon Maxwell, a minor, as a result of an intersection accident. We have jurisdiction pursuant to Rule 19(e), Rules of Civil Ap-pellate Procedure, 17A A.R.S.Defendants contend on appeal that the trial court erred in refusing to give instructions relating to various statutory duties and responsibilities of one who operates a bicycle on the public streets.The facts necessary for a determination of this matter on appeal are as follows. The intersection of 8th Avenue and Alma School Road is located in Mesa, Arizona. 8th Avenue runs east and west, and Alma School Road runs north and south. At the northwest corner of the intersection is a U-Totem convenience market, and to the east of the intersection, on the south side of 8th Avenue, is the Ida Redbird School.From the northwest corner, where the U-Totem Market is located, to the northeast corner, is a clearly marked crosswalk. On the morning of 1 February 1977, ten year old Jeffrey Maxwell was on his way to the Ida Redbird School. He stopped for candy at the U-Totem Market, put the candy in his pocket, and proceeded to ride his bicycle from the northwest corner to the northeast corner, in the marked crosswalk. At about the same time, the defendant, Mrs. Gossett, was proceeding west on 8th Avenue intending to make a right (north) turn onto Alma School Road, at the same intersection. The traffic light was green, and she made her right turn, ran into Jeffrey, and he was injured.The court instructed the jury on contributory negligence by a child of Jeffrey’s age, but refused defendants’ instructions concerning alleged violation of the Arizona traffic laws. Defendants’ offered instructions were as follows:

 

“R.A.J.I. Negligence 7- Violation of Statute
“If you find that any party to this suit violated any of the following laws, then that party is negligent. You should then determine whether that negligence was a cause of the Plaintiff’s injury.

Ҥ 28-812, A.R.S., Traffic laws apply to persons riding bicycles
“Every person riding a bicycle upon a roadway shall be granted an of the rights and shall be subject to all the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this chapter, except as to special regulations in this article, and except as to those provisions of this chapter which by their nature can have no application.

Ҥ 28-101, A.R.S., Definitions
“In this title, unless the context otherwise requires:
“40. ‘Safety-zone’ means the area or space officially set apart within a roadway for the exclusive use of pedestrians and which is protected or is so marked or indicated by adequate signs as to be plainly visible at all times while set apart as a safety zone.

Ҥ 28-831, A.R.S., Driving through safety zone prohibited
“No vehicle shall at any time be driven through or within a safety zone.

Ҥ 28-815 A., A.R.S., Riding on roadways and bicycle paths; prohibition of motor vehicle traffic on bike paths
“Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable, exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction.”

We will consider the failure to instruct as to each of the statutes cited by defendant.

A.R.S. § 28-815(A)

[1] This statute requires that bicycles must be ridden on the right side of the road or with the traffic. Jeffrey was riding his bicycle in the crosswalk at the intersection. Whether he had been operating the bicycle on the left side, contrary to the statute, before he entered the crosswalk, whether he intended to continue operating his bicycle on the roadway, contrary to statute, after he left the crosswalk, or even whether he intended to ride his bicycle on the. available sidewalk on the north side of 8th Avenue, is immaterial as to whether he was negligent while riding his bicycle in the crosswalk. We agree with the New Mexico Court of Appeals which stated in a similar case:

“The accident occurred at the intersection of Chelwood, a north-south street, and Menaul, an east-west street. The trial court found that decedent was proceeding in a southerly direction on Chelwood at the time of the accident. The Wylie vehicle was traveling in an easterly direction on Menaul. Even if we accept defendants’ contention that decedent was operating his bicycle on the left side of Chelwood in violation of the statutes alluded to, we must uphold the trial court’s finding of absence of contributory negligence.

* * * * * *

” * * * Here the evidence sustains an inference that the collision would not have been avoided even if the decedent had been obeying the statutory mandates relating to traffic flow. The violation of the statutes, if any, did not even cause or contribute to the accident in fact. * *” Wilson v. Wylie, 86 N.M. 9, 12, 518 P.2d 1213, 1216 (1973).

Causation is still a part of the law of negli-gence, Pacht v. Morris, 107 Ariz. 392, 489 P.2d 29 (1971), and we find no causal con-nection between the fact that Jeffrey may have been riding on the left hand side of the street before he stopped at the U-Totem Market and the accident which occurred while he was in the crosswalk at the inter-section.

“In this state, it is reversible error to give an instruction on a legal theory as to which there is not substantial evidence, (citations omitted) and it is equally re-versible error not to give an instruction on a legal theory within the issues of the case which is supported by substantial evidence.” Newman v. Piazza, 6 Ariz. App. 396, 398, 433 P.2d 47, 49 (1967).

The instruction, if given, would have been error.

A.R.S. § 28-831

[2] This statute states “no vehicle shall at any time be driven through or within a safety zone.” By definition, a safety zone is set apart for the exclusive use of pedes-trians, A.R.S. § 28-101(40), and, assuming a bicycle is a vehicle for the purposes of the statute, it would have been equally violative of the statute for either Jeffrey or Mrs. Gossett to drive or ride their vehicles in such a safety zone. Weare not concerned in the instant case with a safety zone, however. Jeffrey was not crossing the street in a safety zone. He was crossing the street in a crosswalk as defined by A.R.S. § 28-602(2)(a) and (b), and the safety zone stat-utes have no applicability to the facts in this matter. We find no error.

A.R.S. § 28-812

[3,4] Finally, defendants contend that by this statute, A.R.S. § 28-812, the automobile traffic laws apply to persons riding bicycles, and that, when read with A.R.S. § 28-831 defining safety zones and A.R.S. § 28-602(2) which defines crosswalks, it is unlawful to ride a bicycle in a crosswalk. We agree that this section generally applies the same traffic laws to riders of bicycles as it does to drivers of motor vehicles. The statute excludes, however, provisions “which by their nature have no application.” We do not read the cited statutes as prohibiting the riding of a bicycle in a crosswalk.

We are aware that teachers and concerned parents regularly instruct their children to dismount and walk their bicycles through the crosswalks or major intersections, and that their children, just as regularly, ignore this sound advice. However, this is a question of general contributory negligence for which the jury was properly instructed. It was not negligence based upon a violation of the statute. We find no error.

We note also that some courts have held that a crosswalk is not a part of the roadway for the purposes of the statute. In a case wherein a minor was hit by an automobile as she was riding her bicycle in an intersection, the Washington Court of Appeals, construing a Washington statute almost identical to ours, has stated:

” * * * Miller contends that at the time of the accident, Kelley Ann was a bicyclist subject to the requirements of the Motor Vehicle Code, RCW 46.61.755; the Crawfords contend that she was a pedestrian. RCW 46.04.400. The instruction directed the jury to determine which law applied. RCW 46.61.755 reads as follows:

Every person riding a bicycle upon a roadway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this chapter, except as to special regulations in RCW 46.61.750 through 46.61.780 and except as to those provisions of this chapter which by their nature can have no application.

“This statute does not apply because it governs the rider of a bike in a ‘roadway,’ which is defined as ‘the paved, improved, or proper driving portion of a public highway designed, or ordinarily used for vehicular travel.’ RCW 46.04.500. A cross walk is not a roadway.” Crawford v Mil1er, 18 Wash.App. 151, 152-53, 566. P.2d 1264, 1265-66 (1977).

Judgment affirmed.

STRUCKMEYER, C. J., concurs.

HAYS, Justice, specially concurring:

I concur in the result. However, I am disturbed by the fact that the legal duties and obligations of persons on bicycles are not defined in the law. Some bicyclists ride with traffic, others ride facing traffic, and of course some ride in the crosswalk. Our statutes give no indication of what is and what is not appropriate. I think this is a matter for the legislature and I hope that they will take the time to determine what should be the rights and the obligations of those who use bicycles in today’s heavy traffic.

46 thoughts on “Sidewalk Cycling in Arizona”

  1. This was from the “Ask a Cop” column: Scottsdale Police Sgt. Bill Relyea answered this week’s question. Relyea is the Downtown Squad supervisor. He has been with the Scottsdale Police Department for 22 years.

    Question: My wife and I have recently moved to downtown Scottsdale and we frequently walk the city sidewalks. We have noticed numerous people riding bicycles on the city sidewalks, especially in the area of Scottsdale and Camelback roads. These are the “casual” bikers, school kids, families, etc. It is difficult to get out of the way when you can see them coming, but it is worse when they come up behind you unexpectedly. The “serious” bikers who are equipped with helmets, multi-speed bikes and bike outfits are riding in the street.

    What is the law on this subject? Is it legal to ride bikes on downtown sidewalks?

    Answer: Thank you for your question. There are no provisions in the Scottsdale City Code that prohibit bicycle operation on city sidewalks. Likewise, there is no provision that requires bicycles to be ridden in the roadway. There are many reasons for this, the most important of which is children would be required to operate bicycles in the roadway.

    Bicycle operators and pedestrians should always exercise due care when using sidewalks, crossing streets or exiting alleys. Both should be courteous, and when in doubt yield to one another – and always yield to vehicles.

    Chapter 17 of the Scottsdale City Code addresses bicycle usage. Some of the applicable provisions are…

    http://www.azcentral.com/community/scottsdale/articles/2009/05/07/20090507sr-askacop0508.html

  2. Note that defintion of “Bicycle” is (excerpt)
    “either: (a) Two tandem wheels, either of which is more than sixteen inches in diameter.(b) Three wheels in contact with the ground, any of which is more than sixteen inches in diameter,” and not “smaller than 16″” as stated above.

    Thus, my Bike Friday Express tikit (http://community.bikefriday.com/tikit) with 16″ wheels is not a “bicycle.”

  3. If a person is riding a bicycle on a sidewalk against traffice where there are no clearly marked bikelanes and approaches an exist from a shopping plaza where there is a vehicle stopped, the driver is talking on a cell phone and eye contact is made. The bicycle contines on the sidewalk and the vehicle is still stopped; yet once the bicycle clears the front of the vehicle, the driver of the vehicle then accelerates hitting the bicyclist throwing them into a lane of oncoming traffic.
    Who has the rigt of way? The stopped vehicle seeking to exit the parking lot or the bicycle who is continuing on a sidewalk?

  4. You write in the BUI article:

    §28-812: Bicyclists are “…subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle”

    §28-1381 DUI: a person must not “drive… a vehicle” under the influence, so includes bicyclists.

    hence:
    Driving on the sidewalk is illegal

    28-904. Driving on sidewalk
    A. A person shall not drive a “vehicle” on a sidewalk area except on a permanent or duly authorized temporary driveway.

    Hi Jon,
    That may have been true, except you missed *where* 28-812 applies: “A person riding a bicycle on a roadway or on a shoulder adjoining a roadway”.

  5. Gave this to a Phoenix Police Officer last week. Their reply today was that riding a bicycle in a pedestrian crosswalk counter to roadway traffic flow is illegal.

    The Officer and I agreed to disagree on the meaning of Maxwell V/S Gosset, but at least they are willing to listen to cyclists complaints.

  6. I got hit by a car while I was on the sidewalk and I got fined for not being on the right sidewalk since they said the driver doesn’t have to look both ways when coming out. I haven’t been able to walk for 2 months and medical bills are stacking up, and it’s apparently 100% my fault and I got to pay the damage I did to his car with my body -.- as well as the fine. How lovely this world is! (sarcasm) I am currently feeling deeply depressed because of this event….

  7. http://azstarnet.com/news/local/crime/article_dadcb133-f12a-58cf-b64a-ee78ab651dc9.html

    This case relates to the death of cyclist Matthew Preston in 2001 in the city of Tucson.
    “Preston was riding his bicycle north on the west sidewalk of North Tucson Boulevard in 2001 when he came to East Lester Street… Charles Eisner, heading east on Lester Street, had been stopped at the stop sign. He started to turn right onto Tucson Boulevard, in front of Preston.” — i.e. the cyclist was riding on the sidewalk/crosswalk counter-flow to the adjacent traffic.

  8. http://bicycledriving.org/law/guide-to-improving-laws/feed

    Hi paul,
    More questions about sidewalk:

    The following states include “bicycle” in the definition of “vehicle” and prohibit vehicle use of sidewalks: Indiana, Nevada, New Jersey, and North Dakota. Arguably, all sidewalk cycling is unlawful in those states.

    But how does this play with the state’s applicability statute? E.g. in NV (and i imagine all or most others?) “NRS 484.503 Traffic laws apply to person riding bicycle. Every person riding a bicycle upon a ROADWAY has all of the rights and is subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle…”. The sidewalk is not part of the roadway. So is riding on the sidewalk really unlawful in NV? I would argue that it is not.

  9. Here is a link to an old (first published in 2006 column, back when he was writing in VeloNews) where Bob Mionske discusses crosswalks and cycling, specifically looking at Arizona.
    I generally agree with his analysis, though sometimes I think it is more complicated than need be; e.g. to determine that it is in fact legal to cycle on the sidewalk under state law he draws a complex analogy from New Jersey law. I believe that the applicability law is much more straighforward than that. In any even, he agrees that cyclists can ride legally ride in crosswalks and discusses right-of-way when doing so:

    “And that brings us to crosswalks; if you can ride your bicycle on the sidewalk, and if a crosswalk is an extension of the sidewalk, then by logic, you can also ride your bike in the crosswalk. However, while you can ride your bike in the crosswalk, the question of right-of-way still remains, because although a pedestrian has the right-of-way in a crosswalk, a bicycle is not a pedestrian. If you think about it, though, you’ll see that a pedestrian has the right-of-way while in a crosswalk and in observance of any traffic control signals. It stands to reason that if a cyclist is also in the crosswalk, and in observance of the traffic control signals, that the cyclist has the right-of-way in respect to vehicular traffic.”

  10. I just came across this article while searching for stats on the relative danger of sidewalk riding v. road riding. Nothing to do with the law, but you stat near the top (72%) doesn’t match the stats in the linked study.

    The 72% number appears to be that 72% of crashes happen with 150 feet of an intersection. As far as I can tell, the only sidewalk stat in the linked study is that 22% of crashes happened to riders on the sidewalk, which only tells us something useful if we have information about what %-age of total riding happens on the sidewalk.

    hey neil,

    i appreciate your comment. Below is what i meant when i said 345.
    Essentially I infer that if a cyclist was struck in the crosswalk, he had come from the sidewalk.

    Oh, yeah and i take your point about we don’t have any idea what percentage ride on the street versus sidewalk; in other words we have no “exposure data”. An another (bigger?) trouble with the phoenix summary is it doesn’t have any notion of severity. Also see this related article: http://azbikelaw.org/blog/understanding-collision-summaries/

    The figures in these tables was taken from p.12 and 13 of the 2005 collision summary; i haven’t looked at other years, but i doubt it changes much. Anyway take a look and tell me what you think.

     

    Bicyclist Properly Positioned before Collision
    In bike lane / at-near intersection
    9
    In bike lane /midblock
    4
    Total in bike lane
    13
    In street / at-near intersection
    24
    In street / midblock
    25
    Total in street
    49
    Properly positioned
    13%
    Bicyclist Improperly Positioned before Collision
    Crossing midblock / near intersection
    28
    Crossing midblock / not near intersection
    21
    Total Crossing
    49
    Wrong Way bike lane / at-near intersection
    8
    Wrong Way bike lane / midblock
    8
    Total Wrong Way bike lane
    16
    Wrong way in street
    6
    In unmarked crosswalk (direction not specified)
    77
    In marked crosswalk (direction not specified)
    161
    Sidewalk, with traffic / midblock
    12
    Sidewalk, against traffic / midblock
    63
    Sidewalk, with traffic / near intersection
    5
    Sidewalk, against traffic / near intersection
    27
    Total Sidewalk / Sidewalk related
    345
    Improperly positioned
    87%
    Total collisions noted
    478
    Oops, I am off by two collisions — should be 480
    ————————-
  11. On August 11, 2004 cyclist Gerardo Munguia was killed as a Laidlaw bus turned right while cycling straight through the crosswalk. This appeal from AZ Court of Appeals Div 1 (strangely, i can’t find it on the CoA website anymore? Local copy CV080510 I found on archive.org; shows up now [june 2013] searching by case number
    http://azcourts.gov/Portals/0/OpinionFiles/Div1/2009/1%20CA-CV%2008-0510.PDF ) affirms that bus driver was not negligent, because she was already into her turn, BEFORE the cyclist entered the crosswalk. To put it another way: the cyclist rode into the middle/side of the turning bus. In any event, the court recognizes that which party has the right-of-way in a crosswalk; a straight-through cyclist, or the turning motorist, depends on which is there first… the appeal revolved around the denial of a jury instruction; the instruction quoting 28-645 would have implied the bus driver was at fault: part of the disputed instruction was “Under Arizona law, the school bus had a duty to yield the right-of-way to a bicycle or pedestrian in the crosswalk while the light was green”

    “For the jury instruction to have been proper, there would have had to have been evidence produced at trial showing that Decedent was ‘in the crosswalk’ at a time when the bus could have “yield[ed] the right-of-way,” or in other words, at a time before the bus itself occupied the right-of-way. See, e.g., Luellman v. Ambroz, 516 N.W.2d 627, 634 (Neb. Ct. App. 1994) (‘If [the bicyclist] was riding in the crosswalk prior to the time [the motorist] made her right turn, [the bicyclist] had the right-of-way.’)”

  12. Hi guys,

    Im reading through the comments, an excellent help but ill be visiting phoenix next week and I want to hire a bicycle for transport.

    I am not a driver here in scotland and this is a first visit to the US so im obviously wanting to do my homework first. Im likely to be drawn to the sidewalk so im not directly in the traffic so does anyone have any clarification and tips/advice for me?

    Much appreciated!

    Rosie

  13. References to Risks of Sidewalk Riding:

    John Allen’s list.

    Wachtel and Lewiston ITE Journal, published by the Institute of Transportation Engineers, September 1994, pages 30-35. html and pdf version here.
    Used data from several years of crash data from the city of Palo alto, CA. It also correlated to risk exposure data by using bike counts. Overall, the relative risk of being involved in a collision riding on the sidewalk was 1.8 times higher than riding in the road.
    It did not attempt to quantify the risk by severity.

    Table 5 demonstrates that sidewalks or paths adjacent to a roadway are usually not, as non-cyclists expect, safer than the road, but much less safe. This conclusion is already well estab­lished in existing standards for bikeway design, although in our experience it is not widely known or observed.

  14. Cycling should be allowed on the road and not on the side walk,where mothers with strollers are, children playing and etc., that’s my opinion.

  15. Me and my wife just bought bikes for exercise purpose and I have decided to now ride mines to work since I live so close to my job and my shift starts so early in the AM that traffic and heat is not an issue.

    Asside from wearing a helmet and sticking bike lanes can someone direct me to the bicyclist traffic laws.

    Curious about sidewalk laws such as what to do if there’s no bike lane or sidewalk present on the flow of traffic side and the shoulder area is so small its unsafe. Do I go against the traffic, ride in te steet etc…

    Also I may sound a little dumb for asking this one but as a kid I rode all over the rode with diregard to the law but when making a left turn on a bike am I suppose to enter the turning lane with the cars or cross as if I was a walking pedestrian?

    Thanks

    Hi Derrick:
    by far the best thing you could do would be to take a bike safety class, such as Traffic Skills 101, see cazbike.org/BikeEd Right now there are no classes scheduled yet (in the phoenix metro area?) but you can do the online portion for free anytime, follow the link.

    And an excellent resource is ADOT’s Arizona Bicycling Street Smarts, the entire booklet is online, and additionally you can find it at bike shops, and sometimes at the library…

  16. This was interesting in the sense that Police cited the motorist in a crosswalk collision. The relative positions in this crash were the same as in Maxwell.
    There is good discussion in the Tribune comments, they have city ordinances and so forth. However, nobody there, or at least not mentioned, knows about Maxwell.
    Cyclist was “counter-flow”; and the cyclist and motorist were traveling in opposite directions, with cyclist traveling straight and motorist turning right.
    Differences between Maxwell and this case would be that this happened at night; It’s not stated whether or not the cyclist has a light; it’s also not clear that cyclists in crosswalks are required to have a light at night (though it’s clearly a good idea, for safety).

    http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/local/article_43400fd2-45ef-11e1-931b-0019bb2963f4.html

    A 32-year-old man was killed after he was struck by a Nissan Pathfinder while riding his bicycle on Alma School Road near Guadalupe Road late Saturday.
    The bicyclist, identified as Daniel Everlove, was pronounced dead at the scene after the Pathfinder driven by Levi Chappel struck his chopper bicycle at the intersection about 11 p.m.
    The Pathfinder crashed into Everlove as Everlove was eastbound on the north sidewalk adjacent to Guadalupe and attempting to cross Alma School. Everlove was thrown from his bicycle.
    Impairment or speed were not identified as factors in the crash, but Chappel was cited for failure to yield at an intersection, police said.

  17. It would be good to check and see if this citation gets issued; unfortunately, Scottsdale PD did not release any names so now it’s anybody’s guess as to whether or not they will follow through. Unfortunately sometimes the ball gets dropped, as we’ve seen. Why does Scottdale PD withhold this information? They did the same thing with the suspected alcohol involved (and maybe hit-and-run) driver who killed Steven Douglas Langager in January 2012. Are the names being withheld to protect the guilty? To their (the Scottsdale Police Dept, and pio Officer Dave Pubins) credit, i received a very prompt reply to my question to pio@scottsdaleaz.gov:

    —– Forwarded Message —–
    From: “Pubins, David – 539″
    To: ‘Ed Beighe’
    Sent: Wednesday, February 22, 2012 2:22 PM
    Subject: RE: driver’s names?

    Ed,
    The Jan collision included Roger Stevensen, 60 yrs old. (probably ROGER ALLAN STEVENSON, 05/1951)
    The Feb collision included Scott Frane, 48 yrs old.

    Officer David Pubins
    Scottsdale Police Department

    SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — A 12-year-old boy is in the hospital after being hit by a truck while riding his bike Monday morning.
    It happened at about 9:15 a.m. at Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard and Thompson Peak Parkway.
    According to Officer David Pubins of the Scottsdale Police Department, the boy was riding northbound through the crosswalk at the intersection on the east side of the road.
    The light was green for north-south traffic. A pickup truck on the north side of the intersection hit the boy while turning left from southbound Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard to eastbound Thompson Peak Parkway.
    The child was not wearing a helmet.
    The boy suffered multiple head fractures and a broken leg, but Pubins said the injuries were not considered life-threatening. The child was in serious condition when he was taken to Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
    According to Pubins, the 49-year-old driver of the Ford pickup will be cited for his involvement in the wreck.
    Investigators said impairment was not a factor.
    Eastbound Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard was closed in the area for several hours.

    http://www.azfamily.com/news/Boy-on-bike-hit-by-pickup-truck-in-Scottsdale-intersection-139720323.html

    Scottdale PD released this photo:

    According to Scottsdale muni court records, the driver, was charged with 28-672, a misdemeanor:
    Defendant Name: SCOTT ALLYN FRANE
    Case #: M-751-TR-2012004749
    Case Type: Title 28 – DUI/Transportation
    Citation(s): C-08055926
    Charge Code: 28-672A
    Charge Description:
    FAIL TO YLD TURN LFT W/I INTER CAUS ACC SERI INJUR
    Criminal Division Arraignment
    Court Date: 3/9/2012

    Court records indicate the driver plead (was found?) guilty 4/20/2012 to the 672; it’s not clear what happened to the 28-772 violation; online records do not indicate the sentence/fine

  18. Interesting reading. Federal Appeals courts have ruled that sidewalks are actually part of highways/streets,(here in MI they are defined the same). Bicycles are allowed in general, local governments have right of prohibition on sidewalk riding such as my home city of Royal Oak, to be ridden on sidewalks. If by definition the sidewalk is part of the street, as maintained by the US 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, then the law requiring that a bicycle being ridden on a street or highway would seem to apply. The California courts have also ruled that sidewalks are part of the street. Being that the bicycle must be ridden in the direction of traffic flow.

    Here are links to two cases referred to, above: caselaw.findlaw.com/ca-court-of-appeal/1403039.html; and caselaw.findlaw.com/us-2nd-circuit/1120328.html. Individuals in both cases are maintaining that the police pulled them over without probable cause. The police cited riding against traffic flow on the sidewalk as cause to pull defendants over. These were upheld. The defendants were riding against the flow of traffic, but maintained since they were on the sidewalk, it was in inappropriate act on the part of the police. The courts in both instance ruled that that is not the case, as sidewalks are part of a street or highway by definition. This would seem to be true in MI. A street here is defined to include all the area from the roadway surface to the property lines. Since the sidewalk falls between the curb and the property line, it thus is part of the street. Roadway here is the actual driving surface, and is part of the street/highway.
    Most bicycle law firms do not seem to be aware of this definition? At least I have not seen one yet.


    Here are links to the cases on Google Scholar:
    US v. McFadden, 238 F. 3d 198 – Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit 2001
    In re Devon C., 94 Cal. Rptr. 2d 513 – Cal: Court of Appeal, 2nd Appellate Dist., 3rd Div. 2000

  19. Specific to California Law:
    Cal. Veh. Code § 21200(a) Every person riding a bicycle upon a highway has all the rights and is subject to all the provisions applicable to the driver of a vehicle…

    Note well: the term highway (in CA’s current statute) vs. roadway (in AZ’s applicability statute).

    There is a CA Attorney General’s opinion directly on point about the legislature’s broadening of the 21200 in 1983, where the terminology changed from roadway to highway. Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 214, 9-29-93. Opinion No. 93-418 (if that link is dead, just search it out at AG’s site)
    “CONCLUSION Persons riding bicycles on sidewalks are subject to the same Vehicle Code requirements that apply to persons riding bicycles on roadways and may be subject to additional local regulations”

    So, then in CA — at least according to the Attorney General — “…to the extent that a vehicle must be driven on the right half of the roadway, a bicyclist riding on an adjacent sidewalk must travel in the same direction as the vehicular traffic.”

    Also, as noted in a previous comment; In re Devon C., 94 Cal. Rptr. 2d 513 – Cal: Court of Appeal, 2nd Appellate Dist., 3rd Div. 2000 states unequivocally, using the same reasoning, that helmets are required (for those under 18) when riding on the sidewalk.

  20. I did some research on AZ law. It seems that the laws as they pertain to motor vehicles never define streets or highways, although they reference them in multiple locations. However, on an ADOT website for pedestrians, these terms are defined, through the use of AASHTO definitions. By extension, these definitions that are being used in an official publication by the State of Arizona, could be inferred to represent the position of the state government. It says that the sidewalk is part of the street. If the sidewalk is part of the street, and while riding on a street as traffic, as defined by the AZ state code, then you would be required to ride with the flow of traffic anywhere while riding on that street. This is good sense, as we all seem to agree that riding against the flow of traffic is unsafe (some authoritative studies indicate at least 4X as unsafe as roadway riding).

    Hi John,
    Let me start by agreeing whole-heartedly that, for safety purposes, those who choose to ride on the sidewalk (for whatever reason) should always ride with the flow of traffic.
    That being said, I think you are barking up the wrong tree here (in AZ law); our applicability statute, 28-812, does NOT use the term street or highway. Anywhere. The operative term is ‘roadway’, which has both an accepted and in fact a statutory definition 28-601 which plainly does NOT include the sidewalk.
    Further for you to be right, the case mentioned above, Maxwell v. Gossett, would have to be wrong — and I don’t think it is. In that case, the bicyclist was riding counter-flow in a crosswalk.
    (links to all mentioned statutes and that case are above in the main body of the article)
    –ed

  21. Safe Turning Statutes:

    28-751. Required position and method of turning: prohibits swinging wide — that is left turns must be made into the left-most available lane, and right turns must stay as close as practicable to the right.

    The LEFT statute 28-772 says “yield .. to a vehicle”. (and enables 28-672).

    The generic turning statute, 28-754 requires “reasonable safety” (does not enable 672):

    There is also 28-729(1) Driving on Roadways Laned for traffic, drivers must “drive as nearly as practicable within lane and shall not leave lane until movement can be made safely”

    Very generally, all drivers “shall control the speed of a vehicle as necessary to avoid colliding with any object, person, vehicle or other conveyance on, entering or adjacent to the highway in compliance with legal requirements and the duty of all persons to exercise reasonable care for the protection of others”, 28-701A. Violation of this statute is often denoted as Failure to Control.

    There is also some broad requirments for Drivers to exercise due care 28-794 (and is an enabling statute for 28-672). #1 applies specifically only to pedestrians “1. Exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian on any roadway”, and #3 applies to children and some others: “3. Exercise proper precaution on observing a child or a confused or incapacitated person on a roadway.”
    Though it’s not at all clear how or when it would be expected that a driver could be expected to discern whether a particular person meets those criteria; which would make it all the more shakey if the driver was charged with 28-672 (a criminal offense).

  22. Cottonwood, AZ Title 10 Vehicles and Traffic

    “10.32.020 Bicycle on Sidewalk Prohibited A. Riding on Sidewalks Prohibited: No person shall ride a bicycle upon a sidewalk”

    Interesting that they don’t have the, …unless there’s a sign allowing, clause, like Tucson does.

    I tried looking for Sedona’s code but couldn’t find *anything* about the operation of bicycles. Sedona (as of 2012 anyway) has a profusion of “BICYCLE wrong way/ Ride with traffic” signs, MUTCD R5-1b / R9-3cP, see section 9B07.

  23. Story out of Flagstaff from 2004:
    http://azdailysun.com/article_622eb371-1da7-5ec3-91db-d72372dd4868.html
    And while there’s nothing wrong with trying to address this matter, the story is loaded with confusion and half-truths. for example the statements:
    “There is nothing in the city or state code that prohibits it (riding in the crosswalk), but it has been interpreted as illegal by the judges,” said Ken Lane, chair of the Bicycle Advisory Committee. “What we are looking for is clarification.”
    We have very specific clarification from the judges of the Arizona Supreme Court, that bicycling is NOT illegal per A.R.S. This clarification came many years ago (see, Maxwell, above). All others, including mistaken judges (hearing officers, magistrates, and so forth), mistaken police, etc. who hold other interpretations in conflict with this are wrong. The Supreme court’s view “wins”.
    Local ordinances may be enacted so long as they are not in conflict with state statutes, so I’m sure there is room for clarifying ordinances.

  24. Regarding the Jan 13, 2012 collision which killed
    Steven Langager, an (unnamed) PIO officer responded that they filed charges for manslaughter and leaving the scene. (Technically it may be more accurate to say that they submitted the case for review of those charges?). The (county) prosecutors’ office first denied their ability to disclose any and all information, but seemed willing to at least put me in touch with the individual prosecutor who handled it, but that requires more information than I’ve been able to get so far. I’ve requested the PD report, #12-01022.

  25. Phoenix moved their codes to http://www.codepublishing.com/az/phoenix/

    36-116 Applicability of vehicle laws.
    Every person propelling a pushcart or any device propelled by human power and having one or more wheels sixteen or more inches in diameter, shall be subject to all provisions of this chapter applicable to the driver of any vehicle, except those provisions which by their very nature can have no application.

    Is it problematical that this definition varies from the equivalent ARS (28-812)? Why do cities do this (reiterate state statutes?).

  26. Barnes case against city of Tucson involved a minor sidewalk cyclist who sustained injuries when he hit a post in the sidewalk erected by the city. Sidewalk cycling in Tucson is illegal per city code.

    Barnes v. City of Tucson, 760 P. 2d 566 – Ariz: Court of Appeals, 2nd Div., Dept. B 1988
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=16876606200393049121

    Scan from ARS Annotate Statutes:
    http://azbikelaw.org/contrib/lawlib/barnes-v-tucson-157-ariz-566.pdf

    I *guess* that 811 is mostly important for bicycle-specific statues,
    like 28-817: lighting requirements. For example, this makes it
    apparent that a headlight is required when riding on a sidepath. It’s
    unclear to me if 811B matters for any of the traffic laws “enabled” by
    28-812, which specifies “roadway or shoulder”. Perhaps 811B could be
    better phrased:

    - Except as otherwise provided (in this article), this (chapter)
    ARTICLE applies to a bicycle when it is operated on a highway or on
    a path set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles.

    INSERTED (deleted)

    There are several interesting bits just from the so-called
    “headnotes” of the Barnes case:

    - Duty owed by city to public is to keep its streets and sidewalks
    reasonably safe;
    - … “although it was claimed ordinance [prohibiting operation of
    bicycle upon pubic sidewalk] was enacted to protect pedestrians …
    the ordinance is intended not only to protect pedestrians from
    bicycle riders, but also to protect bicycle riders from hazards of
    riding on narrow sidewalks.
    - … “riding bicycle was not typical adult activity.”

    more on 812 vs. 811 see here:
    http://azbikelaw.org/blog/applicability-statutes-why-are-there-two/

  27. Something has GOT to be done to prohibit cyclists from riding on sidewalks. I have walked my dogs along Central up around the Heard Museum as well as the vicinity of N 16th St between Bethany Home and Glendale Blvd. Cyclists do not defer to pedestrians. Rather,they think that THEY own the sidewalk. Case/point, last December,I was walking my 2 small dogs along Central near the Phoenix Theater,north of McDowell.A cyclist came up so fast behind and around us that i couldn’t get out of the way,he clipped my smallest dog who is a special needs dog and she was injured. Not only that,he cussed me out for it! 10 min later,my injured dog had a seizure from the ordeal. There have been so many other rude cyclists that I could scream. But tonight we had another bad experience. I was walking along 16th st at Rose Lane (no of bethany home) A woman came racing across the street and jumped up on the sidewalk behind my deaf husband. she was yelling at him to get out of her f’ing way. But since he did not hear her she slugged him as she sped by. NOT EVEN STOPPING!!! I couldn’t even get her info. I was walking in a lawn about 25 ft behind my husband with my dogs when i witnessed this crime!! SOMETHING has got to be done!! PLEASE SOMEONE DO SOMETHING TO STOP THIS CRAZINESS!!! I HAVE HAD IT!!!

  28. So, as things turn out, Arizona Universities are granted special powers to regulate both vehicles and what are referred to as nonpedestrian devices, specifically to include bicycles.
    So there’s a whole ‘nuther parallel universe and layer of bicycle regulations!

    I think, but am not entireley sure, that this applies only to ASU, NAU and UofA.

    15-1627. Control of vehicles and nonpedestrian devices on university property…
    http://www.azleg.gov/ars/15/01627.htm

    Note that intrepid readers of ARS Title 28 Transportation, would have missed this one entirely because it’s in Title 15.

    At NAU “Bicycles may not be ridden on sidewalks”.
    http://nau.edu/Parking-Shuttle-Services/Policies/ and then for actual regulations:
    http://nau.edu/uploadedFiles/Administrative/EMSA_Sites/Parking-Shuttle_Services/Forms/2012%20-%202013%20Rules%20Regs%20Final(3).doc

    > near to the right side of the roadway as practical
    not “practicable”?

    > non-pedestrian devices shall be ridden to the right of the strip
    strip => lane line. even when at speed, or too narrow.

    > Non-pedestrian devices may not be operated on roadways or bicycle
    > paths. [...] Non-pedestrian devices must be dismounted
    Huh?

    > Bicycles may not be ridden on sidewalks.
    Who knew?

    > Non-pedestrian device riders must ride single file.
    Two-abreast never allowed.

    Here, there’s reasonably good advice, including “take the lane”. It says “Don’t ride double”, which is unclear, I assumed that meant “two abreast”, but actually means “multiple persons per bike”. http://nau.edu/Parking-Shuttle-Services/Rules-of-the-Road/

    I will probably give them a hard time at some point about duplication of laws, inconsistency of laws they perceived to be the same, or otherwise poor/outdated requirements, and grammar issues :-)

  29. I would like to know what folks think of the following proposal (suggested ordinance) for the city of Phoenix? :

    When there is no bike lane or bike route, and where the law does not otherwise prohibit it, riding on a sidewalk in the same direction as the street traffic is permitted. Pedestrians shall at all times have the right of way on sidewalks and be given due warning of any approaching bike. The speed of any bike on a sidewalk shall not exceed 10 mph.

    Ed. note: Steve, also see http://azbikelaw.org/blog/ruling-cyclists-are-required-to-satisfy-nighttime-lighting-requirements/ for much more about Phoenix… p.s. check out the PhoenixSpokesPeople on facebook

  30. Here’s a good explanation of a jury trial from North Carolina where a bicyclist was struck in a crosswalk:
    http://www.bikelaw.com/blog/take-that-contributory-negligence/

    “I know – our client wasn’t on a sidewalk, he was on a multi-use path. But he was headed into a crosswalk. There is no law saying what someone on a bicycle is supposed to do when they get to a crosswalk. Having the sidewalk instruction let me argue, by implication, that it was perfectly legal for him to be in a crosswalk. The defense argued he should have stopped, gotten off his bike, and walked it across. The jury also heard that a driver has a duty to stop at a red light and look both ways for traffic and pedestrians before turning on red.”

  31. By calling them sidewalks and cross walks, isn’t the societal contract that people using them will be walking. They are not called side-ride-your-bike or side-running-at-top-speed. I was pulling out of a driveway at dusk and a gentleman was riding at high speed, on the sidewalk, without a light, against traffic. I was already part way across the sidewalk long before he arrived and he pulled in front of me as I started to go. Luckily I saw him and stopped in time.

  32. Bicyclists need to yield to pedestrians just as drivers need to yield to pedestrians and bicyclists. It doesn’t help our bicycle advocacy when some bicyclists aren’t courteous to pedestrians. But not all drivers and bicyclists are discourteous, the majority of each try to be good, to follow the laws, to be courteous.

    Many city codes, eg Phoenix and Tempe, require bicyclists to give an audible warning when passing. Some cities require a bell and even if not required it’s a good idea.

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