National News

Why Phoenix doesn't have a hot weather 'stupid hiker law'

Posted June 21

— Arizonans experience the extreme heat every summer, with temperatures crawling towards 120 degrees.

Yet, the Phoenix hiking trails remain open.

While hiking is popular in the Valley, trails can be dangerous, even deadly, when it comes to extreme heat.

Arizona has the "Stupid Driver Law," but why hasn't there been a "Stupid Hiker Law?"

The main reason is that first responders don't want people to be afraid of the consequences of calling 911 for help.

Secondly, it's not logistically feasible to enforce such a law. Robert Mann from Radix Law says that a "Stupid Hiker Law" is just not possible from a law enforcement standpoint.

Supporters of such a law have called for it to be modeled after the "Stupid Motorist Law." However, with the stupid motorist law, drivers are required to pay for their rescue only after they have driven around a barrier and onto flooded streets.

There are hundreds of hiking trails with multiple entry and exit points in the Phoenix area. It would be impossible to close trails and put up physical barriers on all of those trails. There is no way to regulate traffic at every point.

Mann says that the problem is not consistent enough for a law to be enacted.

In 2016, the Phoenix Parks and Recreation board rejected a proposal to ban hiking in extreme heat.

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