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El Tour de Tucson emphasizes importance of safety, security ahead of race day

Published: Nov. 19, 2021 at 7:03 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) -

El Tour de Tucson is kicking off Saturday, and event organizers are making safety and security a top priority among riders.

T.J. Juskiewicz, Executive Director for El Tour de Tucson, said about 6,500 riders will be coming to Tucson from all over the world. He said that’s the most the event has seen in nearly 10 years.

“The biggest thing is to keep those riders safe, and the help we have from law enforcement all across the area and engineers. Just looking at the roads, making sure at intersections we have law enforcement officers there,” Juskiewicz said.

All of those riders were encouraged to participate in a safety and security meeting prior to the race. Seven meetings were held Thursday, and six more will be held Friday. Those meetings discuss road conditions, the ride in general and give riders an opportunity to ask questions.

Juskiewicz warns drivers that it may take longer on the roads to commute Saturday.

“Just a reminder it may be friends, loved ones, so it may take you an extra few minutes to get through,” Juskiewicz said. “Plan your day out, look at the route and make sure if you’re crossing the el Tour route, give yourself some extra time.”

Earlier this year, El Tour received a chunk of the $9.4 million Arizona tourism recovery grant. Juskiewicz said some of that money was put towards additional safety measures for the event this year after it was cancelled last year due to Covid-19.

“We have barricades all throughout, just to make sure cars are separated from the bicyclists, so we have lots of funds we were able to use from the Visit Arizona initiative. Lots of law enforcement, like I said a multi-agency effort right here.”

Juskiewicz said law enforcement will help with getting riders out of downtown, throughout the county and back to downtown in one piece. Around 400 police officers will be working to not only make this event a success, but also keep drivers and riders safe.

“We want every rider to get home safe, and have fun,” Juskiewicz.

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