For those of you who love the dirt and park outside your local state park but ride your bike into the park on some other connecting trails- you may get a ticket! It seems to make sense that if you find that magical parking spot outside of the state park that you somehow figured out a clean way to skirt the system. You may learn the hard way that you might just be wrong and a ticket will show up on your parked vehicle. Here’s what you need to know…
State Park Fees are for Entrance into the park not for Parking
Oddly enough some out door enthusiasts and mountain bikers believe that the fees they pay are for parking. However, typical sate park fees across the country are considered entrance fees and just include parking. Some other state parks have an additional fee for parking, but that is less common.
When you understand that an entrance fee is not a parking fee then you may start to realize why some Park Rangers are getting away with writing tickets and leaving them on your windshield. When you return it looks and feels like a parking ticket. But in reality it is a user/entrance fee of the state park.
Local Example: Usery Mountain Regional Park
Here in Arizona a local park full of decent mountain biking and hiking trails is located east of Phoenix. While it’s official name is Usery Mountain Regional Park, we all just refer to it as Usery. There is also a ton of road cyclists who make the paved climb and the decent a regular part of their weekly training.
Like many other state and regional parks, Usery has a main entrance staffed with some park rangers. They collect your entrance fee there at the gate before you’re allowed inside. Once you’re all paid up and parked, you are free to use the many hiking, biking, or horseback trails available to you. There is even some camping sites built around the park.
And like many other state and regional parks, there are numerous trails that start outside the park and lead into the park. One such famous entry point at Usery is the corner of W. McKellips and N. Crismon Road. This is an official entrance to the park, however there is no ranger station built there and you will never see a ranger standing there to collect your entrance fees. Most weekends this corner is full of vehicles parked all over the dirt section. Most of them are mountain bikers.
We actually called the Maricopa County Assessor’s Office to confirm whether or not that section of dirt on the North and East side of those two roads is privately owned rather than park property. That dirt section is in fact owned by Maricopa County. After a conversation with Maricopa County Parks and Recreation we learned that they intentionally cleared out more of that dirt section to make more parking available for users of the park. It is not an official parking lot by any stretch of the imagination but it is widely known as a great parking spot for this entrance into the park and the park itself supports parking there by their own actions.
I get reports from frustrated cyclists that they are getting tickets for parking in the dirt area which has been clearly supported for parking by the park. I always love supporting our cycling community so I start looking into it. Turns out that the park is not writing parking tickets at all but rather writing tickets for non payment of the usage fee into the park. After speaking with a ranger, we learned that they are assuming that whoever parks there is using the park. If someone is parked in that dirt area north and east of McKellips and Crismon roads without a usage permit then you will get ticketed.
The annual pass permit is only $30 and can be purchased in several areas around town but NOT at this dirt lot entrance. If you purchase and display an annual pass then you can park there without any tickets. There is also an option for a day pass of $2.00 per vehicle which you can purchase there in order to gain lawful entry into the park. The $2.00 user fee for a day pass is an “on your honor” type system where you leave your money in an envelope type deal there onsite and take a pass for your windshield. Ironically, the $2.00 fee doesn’t allow entry into the main gate. That is a much higher fee.
Maricopa County Parks and Recreation: Park Rule 104
THE FOLLOWING ACTS ARE PROHIBITED IN MARICOPA COUNTY PARKS:
R-104 ENTRY, USE, OCCUPANCY, FEES
- Entering, using, or occupying of a Maricopa County Park or its facilities, designated trails or waterways under the supervision and control of the Department for any purpose when said parks or areas are posted against such entrance, use, occupancy or where barriers exist.
- Entering upon or using for any purpose, the land, water or facilities within the boundaries of Maricopa County Parks when a fee, rental, admission or other consideration has been established for such land, water or facilities, unless the person entering or using such land, water or facility has paid said fee, rental, admission or other consideration.
So 104(1) doesn’t apply to the McKellips/Crismon parking issue because there is no barrier there as intended by this rule. However, Rule104(2) does specifically states that you are not allowed to enter or use the land without paying the use/entrance fee. And in this scenario the use/entrance fee is clearly posted at the entrance with means to leave your money and claim your permit right there.
For sure ride your bike more! When riding in regional or state parks be sure to understand what permits/usage fees are required to gain lawful entrance. Regardless of where you park make sure you have obtained the correct permit to lawfully ride. Most state and regional parks require one. Support local, regional, federal, and state parks as much as possible by paying the appropriate fees to use them.
Enjoy the ride! Hopefully you’ll never need us, but if you are ever involved in a wreck- we are here for you. My practice is exclusively for cyclists. I manage a national network of cycling attorneys who represent cyclists in every state. I ride. I race. I advocate. I choose to live and ride. #mylawyerdoesntsuck #arizonabicyclelawyer #bicyclelawyer #BAA
Ben Dodge, Esq., Endurance/Ultra Cyclist
Bicycle crash and bicycle accident lawyer Ben Dodge
A bicycle crash is not always an accident. If you, or someone you know has been injured in a bicycle crash or accident caused by a road hazard or dangerous road condition, hire a personal injury attorney who is experienced and has a successful track record. Ben Dodge, a licensed Arizona bicycle accident lawyer, has dedicated his entire firm to one purpose: representing cyclists. Bicycle accident cases are the only cases Bike Accident Attorneys, PLC handles. Home based out of the great state of Arizona, Ben can still help cyclists in the entire United States. Ben also founded Bike Accident Attorneys Network, a national network of attorneys who focus on representing cyclists. He can find you help anywhere in the country.
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A consultation with experienced Arizona bicycle accident attorney Ben Dodge is free
In recent years there has been approximately 700 bicycle fatalities in the United States every single year. Approximately 2,000 bicycle accidents are reported in Arizona every year. Approximately 30 fatal bicycle accidents are reported in Arizona every year. Bicycle fatalities are terrible and horrific tragedies that affect the lives of too many families and friends to count. Understanding your rights and obligations as a cyclist can bring clarity to your specific accident situation. It will always be in your best interest to be represented by an attorney who knows the bicycle laws and has a successful track record of winning bicycle accident cases. The negotiation tactics and strategies of winning a case are extremely important, but should always take a back row seat to the litigation experience and knowledge of court room rules, local, state, and federal rules of civil procedure that can have significant impact on your bicycle accident case. Ben is certified through the National Institute of Trial Advocacy (NITA) as having completed extensive litigation courses and has demonstrated these skills over and over again. Most lawyers are pencil pushers and shouldn’t be in a court room… not Ben Dodge. He is a gifted and aggressive litigator. It is wise to be represented by someone well versed in bicycle accident law, local and state bicycle ordinances, rules, regulations, policies, and laws. You should hire someone very familiar with negligence and tort law, civil procedure, and the rules of evidence as they all relate specifically to bicycle accident cases.
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Bike Accident Attorneys, PLC
Call Ben Dodge, the Bicycle Lawyer today at 1.855.663.3922. Reach him by fax at 1.800.958.8902.
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His main Arizona offices are located at:
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Mr. Dodge represents cyclists in the entire state of Arizona including but not limited to Mesa, Phoenix, Tucson, Yuma, Gilbert, Peoria, Glendale, Scottsdale, Ahwatukee, Tempe, Chandler, Prescott, Sedona, Flagstaff, Surprise, Kingman, Page, Lake Havasu City, Payson, Goodyear, Buckeye, Queen Creek, Paradise Valley, Show Low, Winslow, Maricopa, Nogales, Globe, Avondale, Cave Creek, Fountain Hills, Apache Junction, Carefree, Wickenburg, Pinetop-Lakeside, Strawberry, Anthem, Safford, and more. Ben Dodge is currently involved with bicycle accident cases all over the country and has founded BikeAccidentAttorneys.com a National Network of independent and incredible bicycle lawyers that can assist in representation in all 50 states.