It’s ironic: Paradise Valley is a pretty good place to ride a bike most of the time. Yet the town wears that status begrudgingly. The town’s government and residents seem united in a hatred of cyclists.
There is simply no other way to interpret their actions.
Paradise Valley Bike Resources Go Off the Map
More than a year ago, I noticed that every scrap of information about Paradise Valley and its bike infrastructure had disappeared from the MAG Bikeways Map. Now, this map is one of the most-valuable resources for anyone who rides a bike in the Phoenix area. That’s particularly true for roadies who scour it for the best bike infrastructure – especially bike lanes and stuff like the Rio Salado bike path.
I finally have a definitive answer about this from a MAG employee: Paradise Valley residents wanted the information removed from the map. They lobbied town officials for this change, and then town officials carried it to the Maricopa Association of Governments.
Poof. No more Paradise Valley bike information.
If the town of Paradise Valley receives any public money from Maricopa County or any other regional agency, the tap should be turned off. This sets a precedent that any other town could follow. No government agency should be allowed to withhold information — especially about transportation infrastructure — from residents.
Paradise Valley Bans Bikes from a Construction Area
In July of 2020, a Facebook thread popped up alleging that bikes were not allowed to use a road that was under construction.
“Now they are not only prohibiting bikes from using the normal traffic lane, they have also stationed an off duty policeman there to prevent cyclists from using the sidewalk,” the original poster said.
I couldn’t find a single law allowing this. In all my time riding in Arizona cities, I’ve seen many closed bike lanes (and sidewalks, but bikes really shouldn’t ride on sidewalks anyway).
Every time I’ve encountered closed bike lanes, there was signage indicating that bikes can use the car lane. That is the way road closures work.
I have never seen an off-duty police officer preventing bikes from using a lane.
Also, I saw a police officer enforcing this during a recent ride through PV. The officer instructed cyclists not to turn onto 68th Street as they headed east on Hummingbird Drive. It might still be going on. (I didn’t see an officer on my Sept. 1, 2020 ride.)
I could find no precedent for other Arizona towns taking any action like this.
What This Tells Us About Paradise Valley and Bikes
Clearly, Paradise Valley would put a gated wall around its borders if it could. And bicyclists are persona non grata.
Paradise Valley gonna Paradise Valley, I guess. If the town is that hostile toward cyclists, who smarter municipalities recognize as a valuable demographic, I wonder who else is impacted by its insular policies. Its population of about 15,000 should think about how this looks in the current political climate.
And its elected officials should definitely remember that, if they run for higher office, people like me will be all too happy to remind them of their actions.
There’s not much recourse. But if any like-minded cyclists out there would like to team up for a “Map Every Single Paradise Valley Bike Route and Share It EVERYWHERE” project, just let me know. I’ve got a GPS and I know how to use it!
Have you had any problems as a cyclist in Paradise Valley? Tell me about it in the comments.