Feb 08


I recently moved to Tucson from Albuquerque, NM to start my Ph.D. in optical physics at the top optics program in the country, the College of Optical Sciences at UA.

I have been an avid mountain biker for years, and recently became an avid commuter in Albuquerque (which I continue here in Tucson) as well.  I had the impression that Tucson was much better than Albuquerque for cyclists.  I have found that the reality is, however, different.

How Tucson is great for cyclists:

  • The weather here is awesome.
  • The bike paths are nice, and the lanes put to the left of the right hand turn lanes are great
  • There are a lot of cyclists on the road, a lot more than Albuquerque
  • There are more miles of bike friendly paths here, including MUPs
  • Tour de Tucson
  • Fantasy Island
  • There is more cycling advocacy here

How Tucson is unfriendly to cyclists:

  • Drivers here are worse.  They are more aggressive towards cyclists and seem to be less aware of them than in Albuquerque.
  • Despite there being less physical infrastructure in Albuquerque, that infrastructure is designed much better for the safety of cyclists than the design here in Tucson.
  • The police in Albuquerque are cyclist neutral.  The police here in Tucson are actively anti-cyclist.
  • The laws regarding cycling here are crazy, and do not protect cyclists from negligent or criminal drivers.

So, in summary, I think Tucson is really no better than Albuquerque for cyclists, yet it is trying to be a top cycling city.  I was recently informed of HB2633, which will allow cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs.  There is a great deal of evidence showing that cyclists treating stop signs as a yield has no effect on safety.  If this bill were passed, it would improve the cycling scene in Tucson, and probably raise it above Albuquerque on the cycling scale in my eyes.

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