Bicycling is an amazing source of exercise. And with some of the highest rates of sunny days in the United States, Tucson is a great place for it. Tucson is the home of The Loop and a number of other beautiful cycling routes. In this article, we offer you tips to keep yourself safe on Tucson’s roads by providing information about biking gear, riding skills, and cell phone use. We also give you resources to explore the city by bike.
While you might ride for fun, or to commute (or both), it’s important to be mindful that bicycling has its dangers. A bicyclist is exposed to the elements in a way no automobile driver is. As you would expect, when a bicyclist gets into an accident with an automobile, the bicyclist gets the worst of it every time. Should you be in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, particularly a car driver, you may have cause for a bike accident lawsuit.
Gear for Safety on Tucson Bike Routes
It’s not required by law in Arizona, but it’s a good idea. We all know what bike helmets look like and we know what they do to your hair. But if you’re going to be on the bike, you need the helmet if you want to be safe
- Bicycle Repair Kit
It’s a good idea to carry a basic repair kit around with you in case of flats. You can find a complete list of everything you need, but the basics include tire levers, a patch kit, a hand pump, a spare tube, and a wrench or multi-tool (depending on your bike).
- Get the right bike!
Dirt bikes might feel safer because of their sturdy build, but if you’re going to be on the road, the road bike is the safest choice. It’s also crucial that you pick a bike that’s the right size for you. Ideally, you should be able to touch the ground with the tips of your toes while sitting on the bike seat.
If you’re going to be doing any night riding, or if there’s even a chance of night riding in your future, you should get some lights for your bike. There’s nothing more important than making sure the drivers around you know you’re there.
- Don’t Use Headphones
Actually, there might be one thing more important than letting the drivers know you’re there: making sure you know they’re there! If you put on a pair of headphones, you’re seriously limiting your awareness of the world around you. Don’t take that chance.
Skills for Tucson Bicycle Routes
Some of these skills may sound obvious, but they are absolutely necessary for any cyclist to keep safe on the road. Adults should master these skills before getting out on the road, and parents should make sure their children have them down before allowing them on long trips. (Note: we don’t recommend allowing children to ride their bikes unsupervised.) These three skills are necessary for any cyclist:
- Riding in a straight line.
I told you these skills would sound obvious.
But still, if you or your child can’t ride the bike in a straight line, you don’t belong on the road. Especially when riding in traffic, it will be crucial to keep yourself in lane. This is a foundational skill that’s necessary for any cyclist who wants to be safe on the bicycle routes in Tucson.
- Scanning the area while maintaining direction.
It’s important to be able to stay aware of your surroundings while riding. Many beginning cyclists have a tendency to swerve when turning their heads to scan the area. A cyclist who can’t look around and keep moving in a straight line at the same time poses a danger to everyone on the road.
- Controlling the speed of the bicycle.
Most importantly, you need to be able to stop when the bike needs to stop. Another important aspect of controlling speed is being able to maintain speed while going downhill. Riding downhill causes the bike to accelerate, and if the bike starts going too fast it’s easy to lose control. It’s important to be able to avoid this.
Cell Phone Use and Safety on Tucson Bike Routes
We all know cell phone use can be a serious danger for automobile drivers. At highway speeds, an automobile can travel half the length of a football field in the time it takes to read a short text message.
Most crashes between bicycles and automobiles are caused by the automobile driver. But even though that’s true, it’s important for cyclists to avoid using their cell phones while riding. The cell phone can be a major source of distraction for a driver, but for a bicyclist who has to maintain the balance of the vehicle one-handed, it can be even more of a distraction.
Oro Valley instituted a hands free cell phone ordinance at the beginning of 2017. The town ordinance prevents drivers from using cell phones while driving unless they’re using a hands free device. It’s unclear whether or not the law applies to bicyclists, but either way it’s advisable for cyclists to avoid taking the risk.
Checking a message or answering a call isn’t worth the risk of fishing your phone out of your pocket while riding and then having to ride the bike one-handed while being distracted by the call. If you’re in a low-traffic area and you absolutely can’t miss a call, you can pull over to the side of the road or trail. Otherwise, it’s better to wait.
Map Resources for Tucson Bicycle Routes
This site for out-of-towners gives in-depth information on a few of the trails committed cyclists would be most interested in. Covers The Loop through Tucson and Pima County, along with the bike trails at Sweetwater Mountain.
The city government offers PDF and paper maps (available for order) covering bicycling in the Tucson Metro. Includes a Tucson Metro Bike Map, a map of bike routes in and around the University of Arizona, a map of The Loop, and a handful of neighborhood bike maps.
Bike Tucson includes a range of trails and routes in the Tucson and Pima County area. One of the more useful features is that this site includes many safety tips for bicyclists. You’ll find guides for long and short trails, along with a list of areas to avoid—either on account of danger or sheer annoyance, such as a tendency for certain routes to cause flat tires.
Includes basic maps and directions for premade routes, along with the option to create your own route. The option to create your own route is probably the best feature, considering that the site doesn’t offer extensive information on road conditions or scenery.
The link is to a list of the top 10 road bike rides in Tucson. Includes in-depth information on each of the routes and gives you the option to vote for your favorites.
Injured? Contact Us.
At The Khalidi Law Firm, PLLC, we offer representation for clients who have been injured, not only in bicycle accidents, but also in motorcycle accidents, car accidents, and pedestrian accidents. Ultimately, our goal is to get you the recovery you may deserve for your medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more. If you or a loved one has been involved in such an accident, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with us today.