Pima Association of Governments’ planning efforts focus on providing a safe and reliable transportation network in the greater Tucson region for all users. PAG offers various bicycle and pedestrian safety resources, including safety programs and outreach materials, to make our region and communities a safer place to walk, bike and drive.
In the greater Tucson region, about 1 in 30 people commute to work by bike. That’s five times the national average. While taking advantage of the region’s great climate, it is important to protect yourself and follow the rules of the road. Being aware of bicycle safety laws and tips will help our region be a safer place for everyone.
Bicycling is so popular that the region has over 1,000 miles of bicycle infrastructure – one of the highest mileage amounts in the country – dedicated to bicycling. Yet, bicyclists are considered “vulnerable users.” Starting with a safety-first mindset, make your ride a smooth one.
Bicycle Safety Tips
- Use a headlight – A white front headlight and a red rear reflector are required for nighttime riders.
- Be seen – Wear white or brightly colored clothing when riding at night.
- Wear a helmet – According to studies, 85% of brain injuries can be prevented by wearing a helmet. All bicyclists under 18 are required to wear a helmet in Tucson and Pima County.
- Use hand signals – Use directional hand signals to show your intentions and ride in a safe/predictable manner.
- Never ride against traffic – Ride on the right side of the road with the flow of traffic. Never ride against traffic as drivers turning from the side cannot see you.
More than 160 miles of new sidewalks and 70 new signalized pedestrian crossings added to the transportation network in recent years are enhancing pedestrian safety across the region. Many of these improvements are funded by the Regional Transportation Authority’s half-cent sales tax.
These safety improvement projects are designed to help reduce pedestrian injuries and fatalities. Every year, an average of 250 pedestrians within Pima County are injured while crossing the street. Of those, about 20 die from their injuries.
We all have a role to play in ensuring the safety of others, whether as a pedestrian or motorist. By following pedestrian safety laws and practicing safety tips, we all contribute to a safer transportation network and help protect the quality of life of the people who we call friends or family in our communities.
Pedestrian Safety Tips
- Be aware of your surroundings – Headphones and cell phones cause distractions and reduce your ability to hear traffic. Your ears are your first line of defense near traffic.
- Be visible to motorists – Wear brightly-colored, reflective clothing and carry lights when walking at night.
- Walk the right way – On roadways without sidewalks, walk facing traffic whenever possible.
- Don’t jaywalk – Be sure to cross at corners, traffic signals or in marked sidewalks.
- Look both ways – Look both ways and try to make eye contact with drivers before you cross the street. Just because you have the right of way, that does not mean it is safe to cross.
- Assume drivers may not stop – Make sure all vehicles are stopped before crossing in a marked sidewalk.