Crackdown: Tucson cops target cyclists, jaywalkers

Pedestrians wind through traffic on Fourth Avenue on a recent weekend.

Story and photos by Kyle Wasson

Bicyclists and jaywalkers beware: Tucson Police Department has increased its enforcement of cycling and jaywalking violations on Fourth Avenue.

After receiving a $44,000 grant from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, TPD is looking to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety in the city.

If you visit Fourth Avenue, you’ll spot officers strategically placed at stop signs and crosswalks. They’re seeking to ensure that bicyclists follow traffic laws and that pedestrians cross the street safely.

Arizona law ARS 28-0793 outlines various jaywalking infractions. Violations carry a fine of $161 per offense. Key requirements for pedestrians include:

  • Use marked crosswalks or roadway intersections when crossing streets downtown and in all business districts.
  • Cross the street only when the green light for traffic runs parallel to the crosswalk.

Tucson police have said they are specifically targeting reckless jaywalking in front of traffic.

Bicyclists must follow the same traffic regulations as motor vehicle drivers. Key regulations for bicyclists include:

  • Give hand signals when turning or stopping.
  • Ride in the same direction as traffic.
  • Stop for red lights and stop signs.
  • Don’t ride on sidewalks.
  • Have a working headlight and rear reflector when riding at night.

Pima Community College student Martin Halstead said he will be careful to obey all statutes.

“I ride my bike to school and work every day,” he said. “I’ll definitely be on the lookout. I can’t afford that fine!”

Halstead said he disagrees with increased police enforcement. “I’d rather see our state’s money being spent on making our streets more bike and pedestrian friendly.”

Thom Reynolds, an Arizona native and Fourth Avenue resident, echoed that opinion.

“I believe this is simply an example of “pro-car/anti-cyclist” bias on behalf of our state,” Reynolds said. “We can focus our money in a better direction.”

The state grant also calls for preventative safety education. Tucson police are working with the Tucson-Pima County Bicycle Advisory Committee, which provides free classes in safe bicycling. For class schedules, visit http://biketucson.pima.gov.

For more information on state laws regarding traffic violations and jaywalking, visit the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety website, www.azgohs.gov. Additional information is available on the Arizona Bike Law Blog, www.azbikelaw.org.

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  1. Grief says:

    “To keep us safe”, yeah right! I get stopped on my bike for rolling through a stop sign when no one is coming. Coming to a complete stop would change nothing. It wouldn’t cause an accident either way. It’s a misuse of police. I have called the Tucson police for domestic violence and they don’t even show up until 12 hours later. I consider this petty harassment. Even the police officers seem a little weirded out by the rule as if they’re just bothering someone and they are. FYI: I’ve seen police cars roll through stop signs numerous times. They know this is stupid. Whoever wrote this law/rule is an idiot just looking to make money in fines. I also agree with the guy above: The bicycle lanes are so sooo full of debris that you can’t really even ride on it and then motorists get angry that you’re not, honking their horns which is illegal because expressing anger via the horn is illegal. There’s sand, metal, nails, thorns, and it never gets sweeped. So why don’t you put that $44,000 into a street sweeper. A good looking road system and community creates the mentality of wanting to obey the law. Tucson streets is so trashy and bumpy I do ride on the sidewalk because it’s smoother. I have spinal injuries and its literally painful to ride some streets. Why are our roads so unkept?

  2. rachel says:

    My daughter-in-law is a runner and was ticketed the other day for jaywalking. 200.00 dollars….I just read here fine is 161?

  3. Chris says:

    I wish there was an outrage button, because this is ridiculous.

  4. Cameron says:

    This is a disaster. Every single person that visits any establishment on 4th Ave is a pedestrian at some point in the process. 4th Ave should be made more accessible to pedestrians instead of discouraging people from feeling safe walking down the street.

    In addition, 4th Ave is in terrible shape. Between the trolley tracks, the street cracks and all of the potholes it is not safe to ride your bike one handed to signal according to the law. This law should be changed as no cyclist should have to put their life in danger in order to avoid a traffic citation.

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