bikelaw Blog

Tempe’s Local Ordinance | Arizona Bike Law


Background is 2 occasions; one was the dying of Xiaoying Wen who was killed in a crosswalk in Nov 2017 proceeding with a walk signal; after being struck by a driver who made what would normally be thought-about a “bad left”. Tempe Police said that resulting from local regulation, the bicyclist was at fault. Many people, together with me, think of that as being a improper, or wrongful willpower — whether or not it’s a improper interpretation or a nasty ordinance.

The second occasion, later, was the veritable explosion of escooter utilization on account of dockless scooter sharing corporations beginning operations in Tempe; I overlook when nevertheless it was in all probability Spring 2018. Present native (and state) regulation was hazy or didn’t apply nicely, e.g. the local motorized play car rules. (there had all the time been a good number of skateboards, however in addition to escooters, a gentle improve in powered gadgets: like electrical skateboards)

One other potential source of confusion was added by an ebike ordinance handed by Tempe in January 2017.; this added a bunch of verbiage to Chapter 7, Bicycles. (Arizona then added their own modifications to outline ebikes in Spring 2018)

First Rules

Guidelines of the street are already, and greatest, defined for bicyclists in state regulation; the Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS). Bicyclists driving within the street have the rights and duties (R&D) of the driving force of a car (§28-812), as properly a number of particular duties; probably the most exceptional in all probability being that they have a particular obligation to facilitate passing of quicker visitors, but only underneath particular circumstances, and solely when protected… the so-called as-far-right-as-practicable (AFRAP, typically known as far-to-the-right, FTR, rule) regulation, 28-815.

It’s imperative that localities do not change the principles of the street, they have to be consistent statewide for everyone’s security and profit. Any local ordinances, whether or not intentional or as an sudden/unanticipated side-effect should make sure that they do not muck up the street guidelines embodied in ARS. (see right here for background on powers of local authorities)

The sidewalk (and off-road paths), nevertheless, have a unique story — ARS’s rules-of-the-road don’t say something about how bicyclists should or can experience there. There’s a 1980 AZ Supreme Courtroom determination, Maxwell that more-or-less grants bicyclists the R&D of pedestrians when on sidewalks, including persevering with alongside by way of driveways and crosswalks. This determination continues to be “good law”, in other phrases, the AZ legislature has did not make any rules relating to bicyclists’ use of sidewalks.

In consequence, localities can — and doubtless should — outline rules of movement for bicyclists on sidewalks (or maybe even ban them?) and paths. Tempe does have present guidelines, Chapter 7 Bicycles. Including the novel (I imply novel relative to other Arizona municipalities) rule that bicyclists on sidewalks should go only within the path of adjacent visitors.

It is strongly recommended to simply grant bicyclists the R&D of pedestrians to be able to clarify what’s presupposed to occur when sidewalk cyclists are “crossing”… Right here is how that may be worded, from the UVC Millenium Edition:

§ 11-1209—Bicycles and human powered automobiles on sidewalks
(a) A person propelling a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, shall yield the suitable of strategy to any pedestrian and shall give audible sign before overtaking and passing such pedestrian.
(b) A person shall not journey a bicycle upon and alongside a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, where such use of bicycles is prohibited by official visitors—management units.
(c) A person propelling a car by human power upon and alongside a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, shall have all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian underneath the same circumstances.

The Proposal / April 2019

A serious consolidated proposal was put forth in April of 2019. For reference; I preserved a replica because I’ve problems with these hyperlinks going lifeless. Anyway opentownhall.com/portals/99/Issue_7376 web page was set up for public enter/dissemination.

This complicated-looking chart is supposed to describe what’s codified in the proposal, it was introduced to the Transp Fee at their regular meeting 4/9/2019; p11

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In sum, present Chapter 7 Bicycles (and Ebikes) was solely eliminated and mixed with Chapter 19, which coated motor automobiles and Pedestrians. The category of “motorized play vehicle” was eradicated.

New classes of Human Powered Automobiles and Non-Human Powered Automobiles (I discuss with as HPV, despite that being a virus, and NHPV) have been defined. The thought being Human powered referring to solely human powered, and every part else is Non Human Powered.

I’m very frightened that hidden within this large ordinance there shall be some gotcha’s. It’s so much to get one’s thoughts around but here goes. A few of these are attainable drafting errors (like apparently dropping the narrow-lane exception!), others are simply ideas that might streamline the language

It’s also potential that AZ state legislature will move an escooter regulation this session (2019); (I imply it seems more likely to me, it’s handed both committe hearings and one in every of chambers already). How does this bill “play” with the proposal? Likewise; does the proposal “play” good with final yr’s AZ state ebike regulation?

Difficulty #zero Dismounting is just not in the regulation or code

The chart says that the regulation permits Bicyclists/ebikes/NHPVs to make use of crosswalks but there’s an asterisk that claims dismounting is required. I’m not seeing that. Someone instructed it’s already in the regulation– i’ve by no means seen it.

I might oppose it for reasons I’ll elaborate on later. I don’t like that Tempe has what I’ve referred to in my LAB Bike Pleasant Group feedback as a “sidewalk driving culture“, but I don’t assume this can be a good method to handle it. (here’s a common article masking how, because the AZ state degree,  sidewalk driving is addressed)

Challenge #1 Inequity in crosswalk-yield rule was not addressed

I (still) don’t assume the new regulation is equitable to bicyclists (et al,) with regard to getting into crosswalks from a sidewalk; word that even when getting into on a inexperienced (or ped stroll) sign, the bicyclist must unconditionally yield, that was the Xiaoying Wen crosswalk fatality state of affairs:

SEC. 19-212.(D) ANY PERSON RIDING A BICYCLE, ELECTRIC BICYCLE OR NON-HUMAN POWERED VEHICLE ON A SIDEWALK OR SHARED USE PATH THAT IS ABOUT TO ENTER OR CROSS A ROADWAY SHALL YIELD THE RIGHT-OF-WAY TO ALL TRAFFIC ON SUCH ROADWAY.

Along that same vein; i don’t just like the phrase chosen right here “difficult”… This seems to be a watered-down version of ARS 28-792. Additionally notice this a brand-new subsection:

Sec. 19-151. (D) NO PEDESTRIAN OR HUMAN POWERED VEHICLE OPERATOR SHALL SUDDENLY LEAVE A CURB OR OTHER PLACE OF SAFETY AND WALK, RUN, OR RIDE INTO THE PATH OF A VEHICLE WHICH IS SO CLOSE THAT IT IS DIFFICULT FOR THE OPERATOR OF THE VEHICLE TO YIELD

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Difficulty #2 Merging the Ped guidelines has issues

Learn at face worth, this section seems to ban bicyclists from driving on the street.

Adding carte blance “OR HUMAN POWERED VEHICLE OPERATOR” onto the prevailing ped rules a, b, and notably e has unclear results because the thought of “crossing” a road on a bicycle isn’t defined. If a bicyclist is driving along a road — that’s ok, proper? — he’s going to “cross” different streets, and not in a crosswalk, nor should he.

This must be cleared up by merely extending the R&D of pedestrians to bicyclists; but only once they’re working as peds — as is completed within the instructed language of the UVC, quoted above.

Sec. 19-151. – Crossing a roadway AND PROHIBITED OPERATION.
(a) No pedestrian OR HUMAN POWERED VEHICLE OPERATOR shall cross the roadway inside the central business district aside from inside a marked or unmarked crosswalk.
(b) Each pedestrian OR HUMAN POWERED VEHICLE OPERATOR crossing a roadway outdoors of the central enterprise district at any point aside from inside a marked or unmarked crosswalk shall yield the right-of-way to all automobiles upon the roadway.
(c) No pedestrian OR HUMAN POWERED VEHICLE OPERATOR shall cross a roadway where indicators or visitors management alerts prohibit such crossing.
… (D) was dealt with above.
(E) NO PERSON OPERATING A HUMAN POWERED VEHICLE SHALL GO UPON ANY ROADWAY EXCEPT WHILE CROSSING A STREET IN A CROSSWALK OR IMPLIED CROSSWALK, AND WHEN SO CROSSING, SUCH A PERSON SHALL BE GRANTED ALL OF THE RIGHTS AND SHALL BE SUBJECT TO ALL THE DUTIES APPLICABLE TO PEDESTRIANS. THIS SUBSECTION SHALL NOT APPLY UPON ANY STREET WHILE SET ASIDE AS A PLAY STREET.

p.s. What’s a “play street”?; it must be defined.

Difficulty #3 Tempe shouldn’t have an AFRAP code!

This part, in line with First Principals, above, shouldn’t exist in local codes, because it solely impacts roadway use which is covered fairly neatly by ARS; examine to ARS 28-815A; Here is the proposed code:

SEC. 19-214. – GENERAL RULES AND PROHIBITED OPERATION.
(H) A PERSON OPERATING A BICYCLE, ELECTRIC BICYCLE, OR NON-HUMAN POWERED VEHICLE ON A ROADWAY AT LESS THAN THE NORMAL SPEED OF TRAFFIC, AT THE TIME AND PLACE AND UNDER THE THEN EXISTING CONDITIONS, SHALL RIDE AS CLOSE AS PRACTICABLE TO THE RIGHT-HAND CURB OR EDGE OF THE ROADWAY, EXCEPT UNDER THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS AND WHEN THE MOVEMENT CAN BE MADE SAFELY:
1) IF OVERTAKING AND PASSING A BICYCLE, ELECTRIC BICYCLE, NON-HUMAN POWERED VEHICLE OR VEHICLE PROCEEDING IN THE SAME DIRECTION;
2) IN PREPARING FOR A LEFT TURN AT AN INTERSECTION OR INTO A PRIVATE ROADWAY OR DRIVEWAY;
three) IF REASONABLY NECESSARY TO AVOID HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS AHEAD IN THE ROADWAY; OR
four) IF THE LANE IN WHICH THE PERSON IS OPERATING THE BICYCLE, ELECTRIC BICYCLE, OR NON-HUMAN POWERED VEHICLE IS TOO NARROW TO TRAVEL SAFELY SIDE BY SIDE WITH ANOTHER BICYCLE, ELECTRIC BICYCLE OR NONHUMAN POWERED VEHICLE.

If for some good cause, Tempe insists on inserting it, there are a number of problems with this in comparison with the ARS model —

“except under the following” must be “except under any of the following” as it’s in ARS.
I don’t perceive what this phrase is doing there “when the movement can be made safely”; Though I don’t see any drawback with it
I see #3 was re-worded; although I don’t see any drawback with it
Number #4 has an enormous mistake — it needs a further “vehicle” added to the listing of issues that have to be shared with. As a matter of reality, i actually don’t see why it just doesn’t read the same as ARS — as a result of all those different issues (bicycle, ebike, non-human powered car) are by no means any wider than a car. Number 4 — as written — would in impact take away the slender lane exception; the slender lane exception is arguably an important exception.

I’m not clear if the working group drafters are conscious of motorcycle/visitors safety; and the way the AFRAP regulation is designed to work. It’s a motorist-convenience statute to facilitate in-lane passing but only where protected. Bicyclists are permitted to, and educated to, move left in slender lanes to discourage close passes, and motorists overtaking must change lanes. Exception #4 is the most-common exception; current on almost all “busy” roads.

As a little bit of cautionary tale; the town of Flagstaff in 2012 tampered with the AFRAP regulation; omitting the word ‘safely’ from the slender lane exception. Nobody there has ever answered or defined why this was accomplished; nor have they made any try and right of fix it. The result’s cyclists in slender lanes in Flagstaff are in a worse place.

Challenge #four What occurred to Class 3 ebikes?

These have been defined in Tempe’s ebike ordinance; known as “light motorized vehicle”. As it’s, the ebike definition only covers what are referred to as class 1 or class 2 ebikes (prime assisted velocity of 20mph). This part alludes to class 3’s which, keep in mind, in Tempe are NOT ebikes by Tempe’s definition:

SEC. 19-214(E) WHEN TRAVELING IN A BICYCLE LANE OR STREET, AN ELECTRIC BICYCLE OR NON-HUMAN POWERED VEHICLE MAY NOT BE OPERATED AT SPEEDS IN EXCESS OF TWENTY-EIGHT (28) MILES PER HOUR, OR THE SPEED LIMIT, WHICHEVER IS LOWER; OR AT SPEEDS THAT ARE DEEMED REASONABLE AND PRUDENT.

Challenge #5 Speedo requiment?

This could be an issue/situation; i’m unsure if Class 1/2 ebikes sometimes have a speedometer(?). If the top (assisted) velocity is just 20, is that basically a problem?

(B) ALL ELECTRIC BICYCLES MUST BE EQUIPPED WITH A SPEEDOMETER THAT DISPLAYS THE SPEED THE ELECTRIC BICYCLE IS TRAVELING IN MILES PER HOUR.

Difficulty #6 Helmet requirement?

I don’t have any drawback with helmets, actually I typically wear one whereas bicyclist. Nevertheless, I am usually towards obligatory helmet requirements; for quite a lot of causes (e.g. they’re recognized to decrease participation rates; claims of safety are often over-stated), however as a practical matter they’re not often enforced, in order that when they’re it’s arduous to avoid the appearance of selective enforcement. Mother and father can enforce it themselves as they see fit. And, again, as a sensible matter I do not know how age-based legal guidelines are capable of be enforced:

SEC. 19-215 – HELMET USE REQUIREMENT.
NO PERSON UNDER EIGHTEEN (18) YEARS OF AGE SHALL OPERATE A BICYCLE, ELECTRIC BICYCLE OR NON-HUMAN POWERED VEHICLE OR BE A PASSENGER ON AN ELECTRIC BICYCLE, UNLESS THE PERSON IS WEARING A PROPERLY FITTED AND FASTENED BICYCLE HELMET…

If it’s going to enter the ultimate ordinance, a minimum of make a disclaimer to the effect that a violation of this part can’t be used to determine legal responsibility. (so that when e.g. a driver runs a pink mild and hits an unhelmeted rider, the driving force can’t claim it’s the rider’s fault).

Problem #7 Obligatory Bike Lane Rule(?)

This seems to be a miscommunication/misunderstanding however it’s necessary sufficient to spotlight. Obligatory amenities use legal guidelines are all the time dangerous for bicyclists (here’s a abstract of why).  Arizona does not have any obligatory amenities use regulation (AZ did have a compulsory sidepath regulation which was repealed in 1989).

Anyway, I had heard from employees one thing to the effect that “… in some cases (bikes, ebikes, escooters) would be required to use a bike lane”. As issues end up, what they appear to have meant was more like: in some instances, sidewalk use can be prohibited; observe the distinction between allowing sidewalk use versus a compulsory BL rule. Here’s the part they referred me to:

SEC. 19-212.(E) A PERSON MAY OPERATE A BICYLE, ELECTRIC BICYCLE, OR NON-HUMAN POWERED VEHICLE UPON A SIDEWALK WHERE NO BIKE LANE IS AVAILABLE AND WHERE THE SPEED LIMIT IS 25 MILES PER HOUR OR HIGHER.

notice there’s a misspelling BICYLE. I’m still having a tough time processing this subsection however it’s NOT a compulsory BL regulation.

Where did they provide you with 25 or greater? So far as I do know, there are NO posted velocity limits under 25 anyplace in Tempe (aside from lively faculty zones for elementary/middle faculty). And why is that this part wanted because I don’t see another sidewalk prohibitions, apart from the as-posted provision in 19-212(A)?

I get the impression that at one time the working group had imagined they might put into the code one thing to the impact a blanket sidewalk prohibition each time there was a BL present — but I don’t see that within the proposal(?did I miss it?)

I’m still frightened about NHPV (assume: stroller or wagon).

Minor issues

#1 – A few places, the brand new language says “MPH”, and in all places else it says “miles per hour”. Decide one and keep it up.

#2- sidewalk is defined but I see no definition of ‘shared use path’, ‘shared path’, ‘multi-use path’ or ‘bicycle path’. Worse but, these four all appear to used indiscriminately / interchangeably. In the event that they’re actually the identical decide one (or two or no matter you want), define it, and be consistent. Here’s a useful record of definitions from different documented sources.

#three – Are gasoline powered issues (motorized bicycles, “go-peds”) adequately coated or addressed? E.g. I see this one:

(G) IT SHALL BE UNLAWFUL TO OPERATE A NON-HUMAN POWERED VEHICLE THAT USES GAS-POWER ON ANY TRAILS.

However meaning they are allowed on paths? Is that okay?

Lifeless or seemingly non-issues that I had at one time frightened about

Difficulty #X Are HPVs (aside from bikes; e.g. strollers) banned from some sidewalks?

This is apparently not an issue/true; as HPVs aren’t granted the R&D of bicyclists, right?

I don’t have this clear in my thoughts, but if an HPV has to comply with bicycle rules; that might imply that, e.g. strollers, wagons, child’s things with wheels wouldn’t be permitted on sidewalks the place bicycles are banned (e.g. Mill Ave, beneath RR tracks on McClintock.