See update: Feb. 21, 2013 — Missouri legislator goes ahead and files bike ban bill
Here we are, less than two weeks after the Colorado Supreme Court overturned a bicycle ban in the town of Black Hawk, and the issue of banning bicycles from the roadway is back again — this time in Missouri.
The Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation (MoBikeFed) says a state legislator is circulating a draft bill that would ban bicycles on any state road within two miles of a state-owned bike path or trail.
This so-called “side-path law” probably makes a lot of sense to motorists and legislators who don’t ride bicycles. I’m sure they look at the perfectly good gravel path they made for bicycles and can’t understand why a bicyclist would opt for the road instead.
To anyone who rides a bike, the proposed law makes no sense at all.
Brent Hugh, executive director of MoBikeFed is quoted in the Riverfront Times:
“Missouri should be the most outstanding state in the nation for biking — it’s a huge economic draw. This is completely impractical.”
Republican Rep. Bart Korman, from High Hill, Missouri, is passing the proposed legislation around among his colleagues to find co-signers. The side-path law reads:
“2. Notwithstanding any provision of this section or any other law, bicycle operation on a state-maintained roadway is prohibited when there is a state-owned bicycle path or trail that runs generally parallel to and within two miles of a state roadway, except a bicycle may operate on the shoulder of a state roadway when the bicycle is operated as a means to ride to or from the operator’s home to another residence, to a place of business, to a school , or to any public facility.”
There are so many ways that is messed up.
Here’s one that would have been relevant to my friend and myself when we rode our bicycles across Missouri on our TransAmerica Bicycle Route travels — How in the heck would we know when we were riding within two miles of a “state-owned bicycle path or trail” or whether we were on a “state-maintained roadway?”
Most of the time we didn’t know whether we were riding on a federal, state or a county road, or who was responsible for maintaining such a road. About all we knew is that we were generally heading in a westerly direction and the roads has no shoulders.
As bicycle advocates in Missouri say, it’s a far better idea to improve the roads in Missouri so that they can safely handle bicycles as well as motor vehicles, instead of create a law limiting where bicyclists can travel.
In an advocacy alert put out by MoBikeFed, Hugh is asking bicyclists to contact their representatives by email, phone or snail mail and ask them not to co-sponsor this very bad bill.
The advocacy alert tells how to identify and contact your local reps in Missouri, as well as suggests some talking points.
A coordinated effort can prevent this bill from ever getting filed.