Bill to prohibit bicycling on rural freeways moves forward

ADOT, Arizona’s department of transportation must be renewed every four years by the state legislature in order to continue to operate. As the info sheet for the bill states “Established in 1973 to provide an integrated and balanced state transportation system” (emphasis added).

SB1184 continuation; department of transportation

This periodic re-establishment normally pro forma, however this year, a lawmaker has added a number of items via a sweeping amendment which could adversely affect bicyclists; the most stark (Hoffman R-Queen Creek 21 line amendment dated 02/09/2024 12:21 PM) one being that 28-733A would now read:

A. The use of any part of a controlled access highway by pedestrians, bicycles or other nonmotorized traffic or by any person operating a motor driven cycle IS PROHIBITED.

Bicycles are (already) currently prohibited on all freeways (the colloquial term for a ‘controlled access highway’) in metro areas; but are allowed on the shoulder of freeways (all of them happen to be interstates) thru most rural areas — otherwise travel by bicycle would become impractical or impossible in these areas. Safety has not historically been a particular problem, with fewer than ONE incident per year statewide over the course of 11 years, see ADOT studies linked here, since paths of the bicyclist and motor traffic NEVER cross, it’s actually quite safe.

ADOT’s formal written policy: Traffic Engineering Guidelines and Processes, 1030 Controlled-Access Highways as Bikeways (emphasis in original):

Bicycles as defined in Arizona Revised Statutes §28-101 are permitted by law to operate on all State highways, including controlled-access highways, except where excluded by administrative regulation and the posting of signs to give notice of a prohibitionBicycles shall not be prohibited from controlled-access highways except under those conditions where alternate routes are available and where such alternate routes are considered comparable or better in terms of convenience and safety

This bill is would clearly limit freedom, and is antithetical to the stated charter of ADOT of providing a balanced transportation system to Arizonans.

The sponsor of the amendment  in his explanation at the 2/12/2024 TTMC committee hearing rattled off a list of a couple of dozen states [1] that prohibit bicycles on freeways, concluding “I mean, this is not a crazy concept”. He, however, didn’t notice or remark on the pattern, which is that they are all or predominantly more densely populated, eastern and central states which have pre-existing alternative routes. Here, out west, we have vast expanses with NO alternative routes available; and as a result Arizona as well as ALL surrounding states have no such prohibition; see map at right.


The amendments would also prohibit ADOT from establishing targets, or reducing (motor) Vehicle Miles Traveled; or even developing any strategies to reduce greenhouse gas reduction. Developing any passenger rail travel would also be strictly prohibited.

UPDATE 2/2024: The bill as amended passed the Senate Committee and heads to the full Senate.
UPDATE 3/13/2024: Passed the full Senate — However, most of the committee amendments, including ‘controlled access highway’ was amended out; in other words, bicyclists would (continue to) be allowed to use freeway shoulders where allowed.
UPDATE 3/22/2024: The bill failed to pass the House Transportation Committee.

Bill to prohibit building any Bicycle or Pedestrian infrastructure

Sen Hoffman (R-Queen Creek) also sponsored a separate stand-alone bill to prohibit ADOT from building bicycle or pedestrian infrastructure; after a similar prohibition failed to move forward in the last session; even if it means turning away federal money, SB1282

Bicycle paths; pedestrian walkways; prohibition

THE DEPARTMENT MAY NOT PLAN, DESIGN OR CONSTRUCT BICYCLE PATHS OR PEDESTRIAN WALKWAYS THAT ARE PARALLEL TO AND SEPARATE FROM A HIGHWAY OR STATE ROUTE. THIS SECTION APPLIES TO A HIGHWAY OR STATE ROUTE THAT EXISTS BEFORE, ON OR AFTER THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS SECTION.

There was some good discussion of this bill before it passed the senate TTMC committee 2/12/2024:

03:46:55.780 — Sen Marsh: I don’t understand even the logic behind giving up federal matching dollars that will be lost if we go through this but more importantly, I don’t understand the Why we wouldn’t want that I live right near one there’s parents out there on that pathway with their children and strollers and bikers and runners and walkers It’s a very positive aspect to a community for anybody who happens to be lucky to live next to a freeway quite frankly or near a freeway and The pathway along on the other side of the retaining wall like along the 51 is a really Beneficial thing for community members, and I vote no.

Sen Carrol — You may okay Yeah, I’ve got some concerns with this especially given some of the federal funding that we may be drawn down and some of the The Conditions that are with it For today, I’ll Get this through but by the time comes to the floor. I reserve you right to change my vote

UPDATE 2/22/2024: The bill failed to pass the full senate on 2/22/2024, and is — for the time being at least — again dead.

SB1282 ADOT “MAY NOT PLAN, DESIGN OR CONSTRUCT BICYCLE PATHS”

Bill would prevent planning or studying limits to driving Motor Vehicles

SB1195 and SCR1015 ( a twin/copy, that would become a ballot initiative) , would prevent any level of government from, among many other things, studying or planning to  “(reduce) or (replace) motor vehicle travel with walking, biking, or public transit”. Gov’t entities, including the state universities would be prohibited from studying climate change.

Update as of end of February: Both the SCR and SB passed committee on party-line vote.
Then, the SCR failed on full senate vote. The Bill was passed on a party-line vote of 16-12-2; Every Republican voted for it. The bill then moves to the House.

Footnotes

[1] At the moment I can’t find an authoritative list, but these are the states Sen Hoffman mentioned as having prohibitions, he didn’t cite his source, e.g. in a wikipedia article, (the map, above, is rendered from the article) the states he mentions all are listed as “prohibited(possible exceptions)”: 0:57:37 “Nebraska, Kansas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina,  North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia Ohio, Indiana Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan,  d c, Maryland, Road Island,  Connecticut, New York, Maine, Vermont,  New Hampshire”

Arizona, as well as ALL western states are currently “Allowed if no suitable alternative”; or “Allowed unless prohibited”

Comments
8 Responses to “Bill to prohibit bicycling on rural freeways moves forward”
  1. Eric says:

    23 USC 109(m)
    (m) Protection of Nonmotorized Transportation Traffic.-The Secretary shall not approve any project or take any regulatory action under this title that will result in the severance of an existing major route or have significant adverse impact on the safety for nonmotorized transportation traffic and light motorcycles, unless such project or regulatory action provides for a reasonable alternate route or such a route exists.

    The legislator should be informed that such a bill may well impact federal highway funding.

  2. Mark Luffman says:

    As a bicycle traveler who has ridden over 30,000 miles on limited access rural freeways, I am in unbelief that anyone would even think to disallow this privilege.

  3. billie says:

    https://tucson.com/news/local/government-politics/tucson-phoenix-commuter-train-jake-hoffman/article_32e22568-c9f3-11ee-a111-071dc300ee63.html

    Hoffman:
    “This is another insane policy of the climate change leftists in this country who are pushing all sorts of alternative focal points,”
    “I want a transportation department that works for the people of Arizona when it comes to transportation, not one that social engineers and uses half-cocked faulty data to justify some insane social agenda.”

  4. billie says:

    ATA wants a CLEAN BILL:

    00:11:13.360 — Mr. Chairman and members of the committee for the record.
    00:11:15.360 — My name is Tony Bradley.
    00:11:16.360 — I’m President C.
    00:11:16.360 — Over the Arizona Trucking Association.
    00:11:19.360 — I’m here respectfully asking that you pass a clean continuation of the bill.
    00:11:25.360 — While I appreciate a lot of the policy reforms that have been suggested, this simply isn’t the place to do it.
    00:11:32.360 — The agency does a heck of a job with limited resources.
    00:11:37.360 — If there’s policy issues you want to include, we should have those as a separate bill and have those discussions.

  5. Gene Z. says:

    28-733. Restrictions on use of controlled access highway
    A. The director may, and local authorities by ordinance may, prohibit the use of any part of a controlled access highway under their respective jurisdictions by pedestrians, bicycles or other nonmotorized traffic or by any person operating a motor driven cycle.
    B. The director or the local authority adopting the prohibition prescribed in subsection A shall erect and maintain official signs on the applicable controlled access highway. When the signs are erected, a person shall not disobey the restrictions stated on the signs.

    Wow! Where have I been?! I just read about this today. This statute is a tyrannical and arbitrary can of worms and absolutely unnecessary. Hoffman is an embarrassment to the state legislature. He is so self-absorbed that he can’t see past the end of his nose. When arguing against the Tucson-Phoenix commuter rail he said: “People love their personal automobiles…they love the freedom that it entails them, they love the ability to go when they want, where they want, how they want.” (https://tucson.com/news/local/government-politics/tucson-phoenix-commuter-train-jake-hoffman/article_32e22568-c9f3-11ee-a111-071dc300ee63.html) The short sighted arrogance! THAT is exactly why we ride bicycles! We “love the freedom that it entails them, they love the ability to go when they want, where they want, how they want!”

    If this law is about the safety of the cyclist, my wife and I have pedaled our tandem from our home in north Phoenix up I-17 to Flagstaff, up SR87 to Payson, up to Wickenburg via SR74, SR60 (among other roads), to Tucson via SR87, SR387 (among other roads). We have pedaled on SR64 from Williams-Grand Canyon-Williams, on SR67 from Jacob Lake-North Rim-Jacob Lake. We have never felt so safe. The irony is I have been hit three times on the streets of Phoenix (and don’t even get me started on how Phoenix police and the courts handled these).

    Added to that, we have pedaled our tandem the full length of the Pacific coast from Canada to Mexico on the PCH, the 101 and other highways along the way, 2055 miles, for six weeks, without an incident.

    ARS 28-733 is just dumb! What can we do to address this in the legislature?

  6. admin says:

    SB1195 and SCR1015 would make it a crime for any branch of gov’t to plan or try to
    “reduc(e) or replac(e) motor vehicle travel with walking, biking, or public transit”
    https://azbikelaw.org/satan-and-transportation-policy/

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