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Letter: Concerns about cyclist safety in Tempe

In response to Mark Remillard's Aug. 28 story, "Back to school operations continue in Tempe with bike and pedestrian safety education":

Was it just me, or was there something missing in the recent State Press story about the Tempe Police Department and its annual bike and pedestrian safety education effort?

Lt. Randy Wilson was quoted, "When you're driving your car, (you) rarely look at people on the sidewalk coming in the opposite direction."

Maybe you should. And maybe that should be part of Tempe's "educational" effort to improve traffic safety. Sure, anybody who travels Tempe near campus can share examples of cyclists doing stupid things, and I applaud Tempe Police for trying to curb that.

The problem is that Tempe Police does little to safeguard good cyclists from bad motorists. If you bike in Tempe, you know what I mean. Motorists who drive right across sidewalks without regard to pedestrians or cyclists, car windows so darkly tinted that you are hard to see, distracted drivers and motorists who use bike lanes for themselves are good examples of frustrations we face when we bike.

What does Tempe Police do about any of this? Nothing, from my experience.

On Aug. 23, just after 8 a.m. in rush hour traffic, I witnessed Tempe Police with their "safety" campaign in full force on the sidewalk at University Drive east of Rural Road.

An officer scolded a cyclist for using the south sidewalk to ride west to campus. She followed his advice to cross mid-block on University Drive to use the north sidewalk and proceed from there. Not only did he forget that she would then have to cross Rural Road. and University Drive again just to get the quarter-mile to campus, but he stood there while she waited with her bike in the middle of traffic trying to make it through east and westbound motorists traveling nearly 40 to 45 miles per hour.

Does Tempe Police think that improves public safety?

Christopher Berger


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