For years, bicyclists have complained about Tucson drivers’ lack of consideration for slower-moving two-wheel traffic on the city’s streets.
But when it comes to the county’s popular Loop trail stretching from portions of the northwest side to the south and east sides of town, roles have reversed.
Earlier this month Pima County wrote an “open letter” on its website directed at Loop-using cyclists.
The message: Slow down and share the road, or hit the road.
The county posted the notice after receiving complaints on The Loop’s website and Facebook page from people who claim some bicyclists are treating the multi-use path like El Tour de Tucson.
The letter pleads with bicyclists to slow down and show some consideration to joggers, dog-walkers and other Loop users who are not riding on two wheels.
“The Loop is not intended to be a racetrack or serious training ground for cyclists, either singularly or in groups. If you’re that good, or that fast, you should be on the road — not on a recreational facility,” the letter says.
If bicyclists do not ease up on the pedals, the county hints at placing some restrictions along the trail.
“We do not desire to further regulate Loop usage by installing speed limit signs nor do we desire to have to redirect limited public safety resources to provide enforcement of speed limits,” the letter says. “All that is really needed is for path users to exercise a little trail etiquette and practice a little common courtesy.”
Because of the conflicts, county officials are looking to embark on a safety campaign that will increase the presence of bike ambassadors along the path and possibly add more signs.
“We’re trying to remind people to be courteous,” said Assistant County Administrator Nanette Slusser.
The letter mentions two ways to practice trail etiquette and show some consideration to other users.
Bicyclists who are overtaking another user should call out “passing” and ring their bike bell, if they have one.
Riders also should not pass another user if there is oncoming traffic or walkers.
Slusser said the recent concerns likely stem from the increased number of people who use the trail, although it’s not as busy right now as it will be when the weather turns cooler.
“We’re thrilled when people give us comments. It helps us make the trail better,” Slusser said. “They’re letting us know when there are issues they want us to be aware of.”
The letter addresses other issues as well, calling out dog-walkers and pedestrians for their transgressions.
The biggest offenders are groups of people who block the path by walking three or four abreast, those who abruptly change directions and others who don’t control their pets or, even worse, let their dogs wander without a leash.
“We expect them to clean up their act, too, because they are no doubt reading this letter as well,” the letter says.