Here we go again.
An elected official — this time in St. Charles County, Missouri — is proposing to ban bicycles from a number of county and state roads for safety considerations.
This comes on the heels of that bicycle ban enacted by the Black Hawk, Colorado, city council. That prohibition has gained notoriety among the bicycling public in recent weeks after police started issuing tickets. I wonder if that's where County Councilman Joe Brazil got the idea.
The roads in question are narrow two-lane highways in the southwestern part of St. Charles County that don't have a shoulder. Brazil told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
“You're going 55 (mph) and there's absolute limited sight distance. You come around a corner and come upon a bike in seconds and you have to react.”
No speed limit change
Brazil said he'll introduce the county council bill at Monday's meeting. He says he gets more complaints on this issue than anything else.
It's interesting that Brazil isn't suggesting lowering the speed limit below 55 mph on these dangerous, shoulderless roads. That would make them safer too. But politicians don't win votes by lowering speed limits or suggesting his constituent motorists just slow down and wait to safely pass when they come upon bicyclists.
(In that Google Streetview capture from Highway F above, you can see the speed limit is reduced to 35 mph on this curve.)
The roads in question are Highways DD, D, F and Z and the portion of Highway 94 southwest of Highway 40 (Interstate 64.) The bill (3620) would ban bicycles on these roads until shoulders or bicycle lanes are in place, according to the council agenda.
According to a group advocating road shoulders in the area, construction of shoulders is scheduled to begin in Spring 2011.
Use the Katy
Until then, Brazil said, bicyclists can simply ride the section of the Katy Trail from St. Charles to Augusta.
I wonder if it ever occurred to the councilmember that maybe the Katy Trail doesn't go where these bicyclists are headed. Maybe some of these folks on bicycles aren't city slickers from St. Louis, but actually some of his own constitutents who prefer to travel by bicycle.
The good councilman wouldn't dare suggest that motorists avoid these roads and use the Interstate highway instead.
Roger also writes that a group that is advocating for “Shoulders for Safety” on roads in that area of St. Charles County supports the measure.
Back to Black Hawk
Meanwhile, if you're still fired up about the bicycle ban in the small gambling town of Black Hawk, the Bicycle Colorado advocacy group has an online “End Bike Bans Petition.”
The fight to rescind the ban and prevent others in Colorado is gaining momentum. Some 100 cyclists showed up to a rally at the State Capitol last month where two state senators endorsed their efforts.