The crash occurred about 1/2 mile south of the intersection of Lake Mary Rd & Ashurst Lk Rd. According to the news account from the Arizona Daily Sun (archived) seven cyclists were injured. We have remarkable documentation because a cyclist in front of those injured had a cycliq rear taillight/camera. The driver appears to have misjudged the space available, and struck a rider who was riding in the narrow traffic lane. The coco county sheriff’s office said the driver was cited, with reference to 3-feet, and max fine of $500; so 28-735B.
The posted speed limit here is 50mph. The video could probably be used to ascertain both the vehicle’s and the bicyclists’ speed (the dashes on the centerline are a standard length). The bicyclists appear to be going relatively fast, perhaps 25 mph or more.
Multiple Cyclist Crashes are rare; Bike Crashes on Lake Mary Road are rare
Most MV-bike crashes involve one driver and one bicyclist (about 98%). There are a vanishing small number of MV-bike crashes that involve 4 or more bicyclists. In the database back to 2009 there have been a total of 7 (out of over 22,000 MV-bike crashes) recorded. It’s been hypothesized that groups of cyclists are much more visible to drivers; it’s also been hypothesized that groups don’t make fundamental safety errors like riding against the flow of traffic, or not following lighting rules.
(remember: only crashes involving a MV are included in the official traffic crash database).
Lake Mary Road, specifically has reported only 5 MV-Bike crashes since 2009, four of the 5 were in the city of Flagstaff, and only one (Marshall Lake Rd) was out in the county. All involve a single MV and a single bicyclist — all were low injury severity. Only one involved same-direction traffic, the other 4 involved some sort of turning/crossing maneuver.
2325043 2009-07-16 23:00:00 87 I-17 Exit 339 A-Ramp / Lake Mary Rd 2644721 2012-08-29 11:38:00 87 E Anita Ave / Lake Mary Rd 2671916 2012-11-30 07:33:00 87 E Beverly Ave / Lake Mary Rd 2858006 2014-07-13 13:00:00 87 E John Wesley Powell Blvd / Lake Mary Rd 3239573 2017-05-21 11:48:00 999 Lake Mary Rd / Marshall Lake Rd
In the same time period there was one MV-Ped but OVER FIVE HUNDRED MV-only crashes.
In 2012, bicyclist Ev Ramsay was killed when he appeared to have struck a large rock (presumably on the shoulder) and crashed to the ground; and as mentioned above, this is not a traffic crash by definition because no MV was involved.
So it looks like the quote from Coco County Sheriff in the news story rings true: “Simonsen said Lake Mary Road is not thought of by deputies as particularly hazardous, but it is well-known that it is heavily used by both cyclists and runners”.
Is it a bike lane?
Asking the question is a bit of a non sequitur; but here goes. Lake Mary Road has a clearly marked bike lane in the city (pictured at right at the intersection of Anita). Out in the county, however it does not appear to be consistently marked. There are most certainly markings here-and-there (Example 1; Example 2; Example 3; here’s a nonstandard 3-ft sign), most appear clustered around populated areas.
As a general rule, bike lanes away from populated areas are probably a bad idea, and cause more confusion than they are worth; and are extra-difficult to maintain, leading to obstructions and hazards that cyclists must then avoid. Cyclists are free to ride on shoulders if they choose. In the news story, the statement from the county, interestingly, doesn’t use the term “bike lane”, only shoulder.LakeMaryRd RV sideswipes community bike ride near Flagstaff, reinvigorating safety concerns
The legal issue, though hard for some to understand, is there is no requirement for bicyclists in Arizona to use a bike lane or bike path; this law was repealed in 1989. To see what a real mandatory-use law looks like, see compare to e.g. CA’s CVC 21208. Arizona has no such law.
In other words, they will be in full legal compliance with 28-815A while riding in a travel lane which is “too narrow to share…” (exception #3), which is the case here; regardless of the existence of a shoulder or bike lane. A “sharable” traffic lane is >14 feet, and the lane here appears to be perhaps 11 feet.
Bicyclists’ only duty here (I mean here, along a road such as this) to faster/overtaking motorists is just to comply with §28-704C which has no applicability in the circumstance here, as the video shows; there was exactly ONE vehicle, and it wasn’t being impeded; they never slowed down before impact. They (or any driver for that matter) must also not shift suddenly laterally while being overtaken; which we see in the video is not the case here.
It’s not known why the driver didn’t react prudently either by slowing to the speed of the large group of bicyclists (visible for a long long distance), or overtaking by changing lanes, the oncoming lane was empty, and the area is marked with a dashed line. Bicyclists using the travel lane — for whatever reason — are encouraged to take up more of the narrow lane, not less; as it makes drivers less likely to misjudge passing space and mistakenly thinking there’s plenty of room when, in reality, there’s not nearly enough. The RV here is about 8′ wide not counting any protruding mirrors; an obviously mathematically cannot fit thru an 11′ lane with 3 feet of clearance.
Slow Moving Vehicle Rules Apply
Another way to think of it is that whenever the bicyclist-specific rule, 28-815A is excepted (because one of the exceptions exist), the bicyclist is no different than any other slow-moving vehicle when going slower than the “normal speed of traffic”
Review those rules here.
For the Statistically Curious
I was too. of those 500 and some MV crashes that were reported on Lake Mary Rd in the past 14 years, the VAST MAJORITY were single vehicle crashes, distantly followed by rear-end. That’s a lot of bad driving; so much death and destruction…
eCollisionMannercount(*) SINGLE_VEHICLE 418 REAR_END 53 OTHER 15 SIDESWIPE_SAME_DIRECTION 7 SIDESWIPE_OPPOSITE_DIRECTION 8 ANGLE_FRONT_TO_SIDE 11 REAR_TO_SIDE 1 HEAD_ON 4 LEFT_TURN 6
Here are the queries for Lake Mary road, and the state-wide multiple bicyclist crashes:
SELECT eCollisionManner, count(*) FROM incident i LEFT OUTER JOIN LOVCity ON i.CityId = LOVCity.id LEFT OUTER JOIN LOVCounty ON i.CountyId = LOVCounty.id WHERE ( (OnRoad LIKE "lake mary%" AND CrossingFeature LIKE "%") OR (OnRoad LIKE "%" AND CrossingFeature LIKE "lake mary%") ) GROUP BY 1 ; SELECT SUM(TotalInjuries) , SUM(TotalFatalities) FROM incident i LEFT OUTER JOIN LOVCity ON i.CityId = LOVCity.id LEFT OUTER JOIN LOVCounty ON i.CountyId = LOVCounty.id WHERE ( (OnRoad LIKE "lake mary%" AND CrossingFeature LIKE "%") OR (OnRoad LIKE "%" AND CrossingFeature LIKE "lake mary%") ) ; select IncidentID, IncidentYear, TotalUnits, TotalNonmotorists from 2022_incident where TotalNonmotorists>4 and sF_Bicycle ; SELECT count(*) FROM 2022_incident WHERE sF_Bicycle ;