Phoenix e-bike Ordinance


City of Phoenix passed an ebike law recently; I was unaware.

Arizona’s state ebike laws, which were passed in 2018, are essentially mum on ebikes vis a vis sidewalks, leaving them in the same somewhat strange boat as bicycles; “what is not prohibited is allowed”. And leads to a lot of confusion as local regulations, if any, regulate sidewalk cycling. See this long discussion of Arizona’s sidewalk laws including selected municipalities. Continue reading “Phoenix e-bike Ordinance”

Tempe’s Local Ordinance — Part II

Background: in August 2019, City of Tempe made substantial changes to their local codes dealing with traffic[1]. Although the focus shifted over time (the process began soon after a Nov 2017 crosswalk death of a bicyclist), the ostensible reason to get something passed at that particular time was the feeling that escooters needed further regulation; and it would be mayhem if the fall school session began with “no laws” in place. Continue reading “Tempe’s Local Ordinance — Part II”

The drunken crash that led to tougher Arizona DUI law

DUI driver killed (at least) 3.

The Arizona Republic has been running a series of throwback stories from the files of report Don Bolles who was murdered in 1976, presumably related to mob investigations he was conducting.

This one, unrelated to mob, popped up this week Don Bolles files: The drunken crash that led to tougher Arizona DUI law

The quick synopsis was in the early morning hours of  Easter Sunday 1971 a very drunk driver at .251 BAC killed 3 people and left a 4th person in a permanent vegetative state. He was portrayed as being not particularly remorseful. He ultimately served 6 months of a 1 year sentence for a guilty plea to misdemeanor manslaughter. Continue reading “The drunken crash that led to tougher Arizona DUI law”

Arizona to finally restrict cellphone-use while driving.

The political intrigue is fascinating; was Mesnard’s distraction bill just an attempt to derail a cellphone restriction? Did citizens of Arizona really have to wait 12 years for this — even as traffic safety got worse-and-worse —  only because Farley was a Democrat and the legislature is controlled by Republicans? Continue reading “Arizona to finally restrict cellphone-use while driving.”

Bicycle Friendly Delaware Act

The state of Delaware passed a package of updates to rules-of-the-road in 2017; as outlined by

In October 2017, Delaware’s governor signed the Bicycle Friendly Delaware Act, placing into state law some cutting-edge, pro-bike reforms that put Delaware emphatically into a category of one among U.S. states when it comes to favorable statutory law treatment of cycling. The highlights:
1. requirement that drivers have to change lanes to pass;
2. the “Delaware Yield” at stop signs;
3. deletion of the “as far to the right as practicable” provision;
4. no aggressive honking at cyclists.

Continue reading “Bicycle Friendly Delaware Act”

Ebike bill rides again

In 2018, Arizona passed e-bike legislation, adopting the model legislation promoted by the industry. Quick reference, as enacted:


[Update — It’s all passed and signed as of 5/16/2018… see below ]
Late in this legislative season (53 2nd regular), an ebike bill has once again surfaced from Rep Worsley; this time as a “striker” in the former dark sky lighting special plates bill HB2266.

The bill is suddenly, as is always the case I guess with strikers, being heard, scheduled for 3/20/2018 in the senate where it passed unanimously… Continue reading “Ebike bill rides again”

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: Continue reading “Where do traffic laws apply?”

AZ Legislators busy on photo-enforcement again

(Photo: Mark Henle/The Republic)

[update 2022. again]

[ UPDATE 2018. (does this sound familiar?)
A new year, a new session. This year, like every year, some Arizona Republican legislators were busy a work on their top priority — to finally rid Arizona of photo red enforcement once and for all. News Story. HB2208 53rd2R. Opinion piece from EVTrib: Time again to discuss a traffic camera ban, and why it’s a dumb move ]

A new year, a new session. This year, like every year, some Arizona Republican legislators were busy a work on their top priority — to finally rid Arizona of photo red enforcement once and for all. News Story.

Last year, they banned it from the “State highway system” It had been in use in exactly two places, on ‘city’/’town’ streets, not freeways.  Many years ago it was expelled from freeways. Continue reading “AZ Legislators busy on photo-enforcement again”

No more covering your license plate

Illegal in AZ

After years of wrangling and haggling over the meaning of “A person shall maintain each license plate so it is clearly legible”. Any and all coverings, including wax according to one wag, are now banned. SB1073 has passed and was signed by the governor; the effective date is something like 90 days after the session closes; perhaps August(?).  Here’s the new section: Continue reading “No more covering your license plate”

Arizona Electric Bicycle Legislation (bill died)

An ebike bill PASSED in 2018: HB2652. Below info is for historical purposes…

[5/10/2017; bill stalled. Never got a House floor vote]
[Current Status as of 3/1/2017: passed the Senate by wide margins, also passed House T&I Committee but they implied it would need to be amended to pass the floor; as of 3/19 it’s not passed the house; see below ]
ca-e-bike-croppedAs of spring 2017 there is an e-bike bill working its way through the legislature.  SB1273  (2017, 53rd/1st Regular session). This bill, if passed, would address some or all of the confusion documented at length in these pages, at least for e-bikes. The bill’s prime sponsor is Bob Worsley (R-Mesa), is senate president so I’d have to assume it’s going to pass ; [correction, Yarborough is, so I have no idea how i got that wrong] and is moving fast, as of the time of this writing (early February 2017) it has already passed the Senate Transportation and Technology Committee unanimously with little debate. Besides being senate president,  Worsley is the chairperson of the senate Transp committee. I have no idea about the house but there’s little apparently standing in the bill’s way.  Continue reading “Arizona Electric Bicycle Legislation (bill died)”

“Evidence of Identity” Rides Again

Is this valid ID for John Doe under 28-1595C?

I’ve been following this since as far back as 1999 (a deaf-mute bicyclist was arrested and held in jail overnight because he lacked ID); with some interesting updates in 2014 (police demanding ID from an ostensibly “jaywalking” pedestrian).

The rules revolving around operators of a motor vehicle are pretty clear; drivers must have a valid drivers license for other reasons (e.g. to comply with §28-3151 ), and the DL satisfies the elements set forth in 28-1595: name, address, height, etc — but for everyone else it’s remain vague, and in fact court rulings have (repeatedly) looked at the non-motorist provision and struck it down, most recently in 2003 Atkins; and the law hasn’t changed since. Continue reading ““Evidence of Identity” Rides Again”

Arizona e-bike model municipal law

ca-e-bike-cropped[UPDATE: spring 2018 in AZ State legislature, HB2652, has PASSED; how this relates to local laws isn’t completely clear to me]

This is not coincidentally  similar to legislation passed in California in 2015, and pushed by People For Bikes along with the e-bike industry, so start there. I say similar because it’s odd it doesn’t follow the class 1/2/3 in the CA (and as of Aug 2018 the AZ law?)

Electric bikes fall under the category of what Arizona calls a Motorized Bicycle at the state level. There are a number of gotchas involved, which have been copiously documented on these pages, e.g. start here. The main gotcha is illustrated below about unwittingly needing a drivers license, insurance and registration.

No municipality can fix these gotchas, they can only be addressed by the state legislature. I can only speculate the idea is for Tempe (or whoever; there is similar effort for MAG to recommend/adopt model regulations) to adopt rules that would in effect only kick in when the state “fixes” the state statutes. Continue reading “Arizona e-bike model municipal law”

AZ Legislators finally ban (some) photo enforcement

(Photo: Mark Henle/The Republic)
(Photo: Mark Henle/The Republic)

After a decade (or more?), Arizona lawmakers have finally banned photo-enforcement; but only on roads which are part of the State Highway System. Lest you be confused, the state highway system includes not only the interstates and other “controlled-access”/ freeways, but  many miles of country highway, and also includes some what would appear to be normal city streets.

The state of arizona did used to have photo enforcement years ago on some freeways; but were removed by executive, not legislative, action.

Anyway, there are two. I mean two camera locations, in the entire state, that are affected by the ban. (I am unclear as to whether these were only speed, or red-light, or both, or just what). Continue reading “AZ Legislators finally ban (some) photo enforcement”

Arizona’s “Truth in Sentencing” Law

Sentencing Reference Material

Criminal Code Sentencing Provisions; currently 2017-2018

If that link goes dead, there’s a landing page at for the sentencing material.

Sentencing is fairly intricate; With felony crimes the primary determinant being whether or not the crime is sentenced as “dangerous” vs. “non-dangerous”; this apparently is determined on a case-by-case basis; and non-dangerous crimes are all probation-eligible (meaning can be no prison time; even for serious offenses)

References; here are the general rules, there are many other sub-categories with special rules for offenses e.g. involving children, or drugs:

  • §13-707 misdemeanor jail sentence
  • §13-802 misdemeanor fines
  • §13-702 felony prison / non-dangerous offenses (all probationable) / non-repetitive
  • §13-704 felony prison / dangerous offenses (not probationable) / first offenders
  • §13-801 & §13-803 felony fines

Also note that, unlike a civil judgement, criminal restitution is not dischargable through bankruptcy.

§13-708. Involves sentencing for crimes committed when out on release for earlier felony crimes, see e.g. case of Frank Kitko.

Class 1?

The felony rules above, like 702/4, as well as the reference guide only cover class 2 through 6. What about class 1?

(In Arizona’s homicide world, Neg Hom is a class 4, Manslaughter is class 2, and 1st AND 2nd Degree Murder is class 1.)

13-710 Sentence for second degree murder
1st degree murder is: 13-1105
Sentence of death or life imprisonment 13-751.

Apparently 1st and 2nd degree murder are the only Felony Class 1 crimes.

Vehicular Assault / Vehicular Homicide

References to homicide / assault:

Jury Instructions

As a reference document: The State Bar of Arizona publishes a lengthy document — Revised Arizona Jury Instruction (Criminal) currently in its 4th Ed 2018, direct link

And contains amongst the instructions useful references to relevant case law.

Arizona’s “Truth in Sentencing” Law

I feel like I’ve looked this up before…
Arizona passed a major overhaul to the state’s sentencing code (Senate Bill 1049, Chapter 255, 1993 laws) in the 1993 legislative session. Annoyingly, the online lookup doesn’t go back before 1997, so at the moment I don’t have access to the bill itself. (need to look it up thru library). Continue reading “Arizona’s “Truth in Sentencing” Law”