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.
Bicycling is a low-cost, fun, healthy and environmental friendly way to commute or travel to other destinations. The active transportation option is popular in the greater Tucson region given our great climate. Yet, bicyclists are considered vulnerable users.
That’s why it’s important for cyclists to follow the rules of the road which they share with motorists and pedestrians. Being aware of bicycle safety laws and tips will help our region be a safer place for everyone.
Start your ride with a safety-first mindset and make it 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.
- Always ride with traffic – Ride on the right side of the road with the flow of traffic. Never ride against traffic as drivers exiting driveways or turning at intersections may not see you.
- Ride in the bike lane – Ride in designated bike lanes when available or on the side of the road with the flow of traffic. Do not ride on the sidewalk.
Bicycle Safety Resources
- PAG Regional Bicycle Plan
- A Bicyclist’s Guide to Traffic Law
- Share the Road – A Guide for Bicyclists & Motorists – (En Español)
- PAG’s Tucson Metro Bike Map
- Pima County Regional Bike Map
- The Loop (Pima County)
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 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 correct 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. Even when you have the right of way, it 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.
Pedestrian Safety Resources
- Walk Safe, Drive Safe – PAG Hawk Crossing Video
- Walk Safe, Drive Safe – PAG Pedestrian Crossing Video
- PAG Regional Pedestrian Plan
- PAG Regional Sidewalk Inventory
- City of Tucson Pedestrian Safety Brochure
- City of Tucson Pedestrian Safety Commercial
When driving a vehicle, it is important for drivers to be aware of pedestrians and cyclists to make roadways safe for all users.
Driver responsibility starts with obeying the speed limit. Pedestrians struck by cars at faster speeds suffer more injuries and fatalities. During a vehicle-pedestrian impact, a 2-ton vehicle, equipped with airbags and evolutionary safety features, provides more protection to the driver. A pedestrian or bicyclist, on the other hand, has less protection and will be on the losing end.
Drivers should look for pedestrians and cyclists anywhere, anytime. Eyes on the road can save a life.
Driver Safety Tips
- Don’t Text and Drive – Cell phones cause distractions and reduce your ability to operate your motor vehicle effectively.
- Don’t pass vehicles stopped at crosswalks – When coming up alongside a stopped or stopping vehicles, be prepared to stop for pedestrians who are walking in marked or unmarked crosswalks.
- Yield to pedestrians at marked and unmarked crosswalks – Pedestrians have the legal right to cross a roadway at all intersections. On multi-lane roadways, if you come too close to a pedestrian, you may block the next driver from seeing the pedestrian as he or she crosses other lanes.
- Yield to pedestrians when making turns – Always be on the lookout for pedestrians, and scan crosswalks before turning right or left. Be aware that your windshield may partially block your view, so make sure the crosswalk is clear before turning.
- Be vigilant – Look for pedestrians anytime, anywhere.
- Slow down – Follow the speed limit and slow down when driving near pedestrians and bicyclists.
- Don’t drink and drive – Alcohol-impaired motorists are responsible for 40% of fatal pedestrian crashes. If you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, do not operate a motor vehicle.
- Buckle up – Wear a seatbelt and make sure others in the vehicle are wearing one, too. Younger children should be in a car or booster seat.
Driver Safety Resources
- Teen Distracted Driving Video (Sahuarita)
- TPD Dangers of Distracted Driving Video
- Sharing the Road with Pedestrian Brochure
- Share the Road – A Guide for Bicyclist & Motorists – (En Español)