Bicycle crashes mapped along streetcar route - Tucson News Now

Bicycle crashes mapped along streetcar route

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The modern streetcar and cyclists have already had some conflicts, and the passengers have yet to start riding the rails.  A study by the Living Streets Alliance found 86 crashes by cyclists along the route between August 2012 and April 2014.  A "heat map" of crashes found them to cluster around tight turns by the rails, at University and Fourth Avenue; Fourth Avenue and Toole Avenue; and Main Gate Square.

"Biking on the road is difficult anyway because cars aren't always looking out for you, so sometimes you need to swerve out of the way and when there's a rail there, it's pretty dangerous," said Mary Owen, an employee at Epic Cafe and a cyclist.

"I see a lot of people get doored between cars, or getting wedged between the cars and the streetcar," said Moses Martinez, an employee of Grape Ape Tattoo and a a cyclist.

Out of the 86 crashes analyzed by Living Streets Alliance, 37 were from crossing the rails at a bad angle, 24 were from an obstacle in the bike lane, eleven were from pinch points where a cyclist could not avoid the rails because of a curb or a parked car, and ten were from an evasive maneuver by the cyclist to avoid a car or a person.  These challenges could mean eliminating more parking spaces along the street, more signage about dangerous areas, and more warnings by police to drivers who park in tight areas, such as delivery drivers.  Tucson City Council member Steve Kozachik said that these measures could be taken by the city before the street car starts carrying passengers, instead of the city waiting to conclude its own study.

"We can point to Wilco, Epic Cafe, areas south of Rialto I just mentioned where we have conflict points that are causing bike riders to do less than a 90 degree angle turn to get across the tracks.  Address those now.  You can continue your analysis," Kozachik said.

See the streetcar crash data here.

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