I appreciated the opportunity to try to clarify some of Arizona's laws related to bicycling on the road in my guest editorial you published on July 7. Immediately beneath my piece was a letter from Richard Careb that referenced various Arizona statutes, but incorrectly interpreted at least two of them. I'd like to correct his statements of Arizona law as follows:
Careb stated that cyclists generally may not ride two abreast. This is incorrect. The very statue he quoted (ARS 28-815) says that cyclists may not ride more than two abreast...etc. Again, I don't personally recommend riding two abreast during rush hour and on busy streets because I don't think it is safe or in the spirit of "Sharing the road" (personal view), but it is legal.
Careb also stated that cyclists must ride "as close to the curb as possible" per statute ARS 28-812. This statue does not make any reference to riding as close as possible to the curb, and he (as is typically the case) substitutes "possible" for "practicable" (which means "practical" and "able," or avoiding hazards and able to ride in a reasonably straight line, as I explained in my guest editorial) which is discussed in ARS 28-815.
When someone writes a Letter to the Editor with the title of "Ignorance of the law is no excuse" and so badly misreads and misquotes the law, it is easy for me to understand why motorists and cyclists are not yet at the point of being able to safely share the road. The Coalition of Arizona Bicyclists would like to encourage all bicyclists and motorists to read Chapter 11 of the Arizona Revised Statues, along with ARS 28-735 (3-foot safe passing distance required when overtaking a bicyclist), all of which pertains to what bicyclists and motorists need to do to safely co-exist on the roads and streets of Arizona. If you have any questions after doing that, whether you are a cyclist or a motorist, please feel free to contact the Coalition of Arizona Bicyclists at www.cazbike.org. We really are all about educating both cyclists and motorists and co-existing safely on the roads. Cycling is a great form of exercise (which this country greatly needs) and it can be done in a way that neither bicyclists nor motorists are significantly inconvenienced.
Thank you again for allowing me to try to clarify Arizona laws related to bicycling and to try to establish mutual expectations between bicyclists and motorists that get all of us on the same page (hopefully, a safe one).
Coalition of Arizona Bicyclists