On July 31, signs went up banning bicycles from access to the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort. This is a 1.7-mile two-lane road that winds along a beautiful artificial stream on its way to the resort entrance. This road is very popular among local cyclists, who travel it mostly in the early morning hours. The signs were erected at the request of the Wild Horse Ranch Development Authority. This is a private road and not subject to the bicycle access requirements of public roads.
I spoke with Kim Young, who is the assistant general manager, she cited safety as the reason the cyclists were banned. Banning is an extreme action. While this road lacks a proper bicycle lane, there is more than enough space for cars and cyclists to co-exist, as has been demonstrated by several years of use. To improve driver awareness of bicycles, “Share the Road with Bicycles” signs could be placed. Issues with cyclists blocking drivers could be improved by placing “Bicycles: Single-File Riding Only” along this section. General safety for both cyclists and drivers could be improved by lowering the speed limit by 5 mph.
As the Sheraton and Wild Horse Pass are vital and responsible members of the Ahwatukee community, and good road choices for recreation and fitness for cyclists are very limited in this area, I hope that the management of the Authority will work with local cyclists to regain safe access to this beautiful road. Cyclists are patrons of the resort, too. Not only the local Ahwatukee residents who take advantage of summer rates, the fine restaurants, and the Aji Spa, but those guests of the resort who may not have their bikes with them, but are cyclists nonetheless. Cycling is the No. 2 most popular outdoor adult activity, and seeing a sign at the entrance to the resort that says “you’re not welcome” isn’t the best way to guarantee return guests.
Paul B. Anders