AZPOST — Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training

It is important to get all Law Enforcement Officers properly trained on the rules of the road for drivers of vehicles; and how that affects bicyclists. A constant bone of contention is where-to-ride-on-the-road, and I have several types of (mostly general, not state-specfic) training materials linked there. 

Relevant to California, the CHP (California Highway Patrol) has a “secret” document CHP 100.68 Traffic Enformcement Policy Manual, (or link to doc on facebook, group membership required) the portion of which as applies to bicyclists was obtained by a public records request by a CA bicyclist advocate. One has to wonder why a government agency’s document that explains the state police’s interpretation of traffic laws is secret; especially given it contains some blatantly wrong and bad interpretations, like claiming riding is abreast is illegal  (note that CA law does NOT proscribe riding abreast); and somehow forgetting to mention the narrow-lane exception.  [This same information is reproduced, it’s actually cut-and-pasted, in this newer, not “secret”, document: CHP 2014 National Law Enforcement Challenge; page 14]

Does Arizona’s DPS have such a document?

Arizona LEO training materials

This material was finalized by Glendale PD and the Coalition in 2015:

These documents remain in draft state, listed here for posterity:

Not specific to Arizona; an excellent article written by an LEO Kirby Beck, linked at  BICYCLE LAW ENFORCEMENT Enforce Laws with Mutual Respect.


In Arizona, all LEOs must pass through a standard curriculum overseen by AZPOST — The Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board.

The first step is to understand what is currently being taught — as such Eric Post received from AZPOST’s Don Yennie what he referred to as ” traffic law lesson plan that is currently being taught through the state in the police academies”. I placed that document here at AZPOST4dot6TrafficLawOutline.doc; and there’s an html version I made for quick reference. This is referred to as section 4.6; and has a total class time of 15 hours.

Anyways i was mostly happy with what it said (it’s just an outline; so not much to grouse about?!) The most obvious complaint is about the “near the right side” rule which was very, ahem, sparse!
Here are my notes on the outline:

  • 28-704A says “1. Shall not drive at a speed as to impede or block normal traffic” — i would like it to be pointed out explicitly that this can not apply to bicycles (since it applies specifically to *motor* vehicles). It also needs to be elaborated that the rule, as interpreted, it is NOT an impeding violation for an MV driver to impede others so long as the driver is going as fast as possible for the particular vehicle under the particular circumstances; think: a heavily laden truck, or any of the many other types of vehicles that may be going slower than the normal speed of traffic. This is a normal traffic situation and not a violation.
  • 28-701E ditto above (only applies to *motor* vehicles).
  • 28-815A says simply “Rider must operate as near to the right side of the road as practical” It is obvious that this is going to cause lots of confusion because none of the conditions (i.e. only applies when less than normal speed of traffic) AND NONE of the many exceptions are even mentioned!!!!! (narrow lane, passing, debris, etc). Oh, and i was sort of pleasantly surprised this was mentioned with regard to 28-815 “The edge of the roadway indicator is not a bike lane (has to be marked)”… though it’s a bit cryptic, it’s apparently a reference to fake bike lanes (edge lines masquerading as a bike lane); plus should be explicitly mentioned that shoulders are not mandatory use for bicyclists (or any driver for that matter).
  • This is one of my personal favorite legal topics: In one bit of interpretation — “DUI laws do not apply to bicycles”
  • Since the outline can’t say what’s NOT in the law; it should be verified that the future LEOs are apprised, e.g., there are no state laws prohibiting or even regulating sidewalk/crosswalk cycling; and that local regulation is key here, as well as briefly discussing Maxwell.

Random / Other Law Enforcement-specific topics

Kirby Beck has a series of three videos Cyclists and Law Enforcement on vimeo. put out the video Bicyclists and Roadway Use Covering Florida state laws. Has as distinct law enforcement bent: (Fairfax county, Virginia) produced this seven minute video covering VA laws, including nice use of iamtraffic’s interactive lane width tools:

6 thoughts on “AZPOST — Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training”

  1. Here’s a high-level/quick bullet point type highlights of Bicycle Law (DRAFT)
    28-101 Bicycle definition – Human powered, inclusion of racing trikes and hand-powered and a brief statement of the distinction/dividing line between motor-assisted bicycle and motorcycle and/or motor-powered transportation.

    28-701 Reasonable and prudent speed and operation (i.e. In the case of collisions involving distracted driving, in the absence of a DD law, DPS is reportedly using the “failure to control and avoid a collision” as potential basis for citation).

    28-735 Explain the three-foot safe passing distance law in detail.

    28-812 Applicability of traffic laws to bicycle riders: (1) Generally, same rights and duties as drivers of vehicles except provisions that by their nature can have no application, (2) Example of same: Riding the same direction as vehicle traffic, (3) Example of exception: Form of turn signal and duration (shorter duration allowed due to necessity of controlling the bicycle).

    28-815 Riding on the roadway – “As near to the right as practicable” (not “possible”, not “practical”). What does practicable mean? Exceptions (such as): Avoiding roadway hazards and debri, avoiding being doored, when passing another bicyclist or pedestrian, when moving over to make a left turn. Also, by law, bicyclists may ride two abreast. NOTE: This law governs and “Trumps” any bike lane or edge line striping…(bicyclists are not required to ride to the right of a white line on the road). Explain the difference between a signed and marked bike lane and an edge line stripe.

    Other : (1) Sidewalks are NOT part of the roadway, so are not covered by state law, (2) Riding on the sidewalk is either allowed or not by local law/ordinance, as is any directional requirement (e.g. same direction as vehicle traffic).

  2. who made this video / Florida Bicycle LEO training?
    There is an avalanche of good stuff coming out of Florida, e.g. that’s where the Cycling Savvy founders are from.

    AZ and FL law are very similar; the only material differences between AZ and FL bicycling law I noted are:
    FL has explicit mandatory bikelane use (it’s a clause in their “As Far Right as Practicable”), AZ does not.
    FL defines bicycles as vehicles; In AZ a bike is NOT a vehicle, but rather grants bicycle riders the RRDV (Rights and Responsibilities of a Driver of a Vehicle)
    and not mentioned in the video….
    FL allows riding on the left OR right in a one-way situation; AZ does not. (there were some clips in the video of bicyclists riding at the left on 1-way streets).
    FL grants bicyclists using sidewalks/crosswalks/etc effective pedestrian status; AZ law is mum on sidewalk and crosswalk use.
    FL requires a rear light AND reflector; AZ only reflector is required.
    FL requires helmets for younger than 16 y.o.; AZ has not helmet requirement

  3. Errata for Glendale LEO presentation 15-minute video
    Slide 4 notes: should NOT say “State law assigns bicyclists the same rights and responsibilities as operators of motor vehicles”. The word motor doesn’t belong, doesn’t appear in the statute being discussed, and is inconsistent with later statements (“bicyclists cannot be charged with impeding” — but motorists can?).
    Also on Slide 4 notes: “Bicycle travel is permitted on all roadways in Arizona except urban freeways, and where posted”. This is more-or-less true, but the part about “where posted” is misleading in the sense that I am unaware of it being posted anywhere in Arizona aside from the already mentioned urban freeways.

    Slide 11 now called Maintain a safe buffer space IMO should revert back to its original title of First Come First Served.
    Slide 15 notes should say: “Many of the bicyclists in these crashes are children under 16 or who have limited skill and experience at traffic negotiation”. In other words, I haven’t been able yet to check the BSAP data but I am relatively certain there are relatively few children in the whole dataset.
    Also, the last sentence in the notes that begins “A leftward…” doesn’t belong to this slide, it should be moved to slide 14.
    slide 23 notes: The Glendale PD inserted this note, “With the exception of protesters intentionally blocking traffic, as in ‘Critical Mass’ events, bicyclists cannot be cited for impeding traffic”. This might leave the incorrect impression that bicyclists intentionally impeding traffic can be cited for 704A. This is not the case; 704A does not apply to bicyclists, as a matter of law. There are other laws that would make this behavior illegal: e.g. Obstruction of a Highway, (local laws against) parading without a permit, or public nuisance laws prohibiting “unlawful(ly) obstruct(ion) …of any… street or highway”, come to mind.

    MISSING (was cut due to time limitations but IMO are too important to leave out). I haven’t had the opportunity to compare exactly what was taken out, Ver3 was complete, i believe.

    Slide title: Types of Bicyclist Crashes (Nationwide). insert pie chart. Notes read: Most bicycling crashes involve falls, collisions with fixed objects, and collisions with
    other bicyclists, pedestrians, and animals. Such crashes are more likely to happen on sidewalks than on roadways. Because bicycles have the maneuverability characteristics of wheeled vehicles, it is usually safer for bicyclists to operate on vehicle facilities according to the rules for drivers than to attempt to follow pedestrian rules on pedestrian facilities.
    Reference: William Moritz. “Adult Bicyclists in the United States – Characteristics and Riding Experience.” Transportation Research Board, 1998.
    A copy is online at

    Missing the catch phrase: “First Come, First Served”. I think this is a useful and catchy.

    Justin sent me some suggestions:
    p9: .. “total of 475 REPORTED car / bike crashes”
    p15: I *suggest* a few changes:
    Many of the bicyclists in these crashes are children under 16 AND OTHERS who have limited skill and experience at traffic negotiation.
    p18: Motivated by the cycle savvy ideology, I suggest to switch the order:
    This makes it clear to approaching motorists that there isn’t room to pass in the same lane, causing them to (change lanes sooner) or (slow down sooner). A lane change is what’s best, and, if done well, doesn’t (necessarily) require slowing down. But perhaps only
    programmers care about the order of clauses of “or” clauses.
    p24: It might be nice to point out that overtaking a group of abreast
    cyclists is possible/easier than passing the same group would be if
    the group was twice as “long”.
    p25: I would make it very explicit what defines a bicycle lane … the pavement marking (there are three).
    p28: Add a comma after “When you are interacting with motorists”
    p30: ACR: should we point out common problems? Ask Colin?
    Some slides are overly repetitive (p28, p29, others?)

    Mark Sent the following additions:
    “Bicyclists have the right to decide for themselves how far right it is safe for them to ride.”
    Harassment unlawful
    Intentional acts to endanger or injure other road users such as swerving toward or throwing objects at bicyclists are criminal assaults, not traffic violations
    Sharrows remind motorists to expect cyclists in general travel lanes
    Paved Shoulders are legally optional for bicyclists
    May feature safety hazards including:
    Poor surface conditions
    Inadequate usable width
    Inadequate sight lines
    Increased junction conflicts
    Striped bike lanes look and perform like paved shoulders
    Legally optional for cyclists
    Similar safety hazards as paved shoulders
    Increase hazard of right-hook collisions
    Some feature dooring hazards
    May reduce visibility [Mark’s added point]
    May increase risk of left cross through intersections [Mark’s added]
    Group Rides (at 21:30 in video of full presentation). This is important to cover.
    Groups are a primary tool bicyclists use to learn and enhance skills [Mark’s added]
    [Groups require more operational space in the roadway and many bike facilities may be inadequate to safely accommodate their needs]

  4. What Can Officers Do to Improve Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety?
    Attend Pedestrian and Bicyclist Specific Training
    In many States, basic law enforcement training is approximately 16 weeks. About a week may be devoted to motor vehicle law and traffic crash investigation, and within that, many officers are fortunate to get even an hour of training time focused on pedestrian and bicyclist laws or issues. Thus, it’s common for officers to feel they do not know enough about the laws that may enhance pedestrian or bicycle safety, or how to enforce them

    Blank, K., Sandt, L., & O’Brien, S. (2020, August). The role of law enforcement in supporting pedestrian and bicyclist safety: An idea book (Report No. DOT HS 812 852). National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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