Proposed laws affecting Missouri bicyclists defy logic

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As a reader from St. Louis suggests, “crazy season has come early to Missouri.”

At least that’s the case for one legislator, Republican Rep. Jay Houghton of Martinsburg.

BWorks in St. Louis shows what 15 foot flag looks like

BWorks in St. Louis shows what 15 foot flag looks like

It started with his HB 2046, which would require all bicycles using “lettered” county roads to display a fluorescent orange flag suspended 15 feet above the road when the bicycle is standing upright.

If you’ve ever bicycled in Missouri, you know these lettered county roads are everywhere. The TransAmerica Trail uses them almost exclusively. I get the impression that Houghton must be worried about low-flying aircraft colliding with bicyclists using these roads.

The bill is still sitting there in the hopper. It hasn’t been assigned to a committee or been the subject of a hearing. Yet.

Katy Trail

It doesn’t stop there, however. Rep. Houghton also submitted House Bill 2047, which would allow ATVs (all terrain vehicles) and golf carts to be used by disabled people or those over 55 on the Katy Trail on the first and third Wednesdays of the month.

entiretrailBKTThe 238-mile-long Katy Trail is one of the nation’s premier rail-trails with many towns along its route that benefit from bicycle tourism to the tune of $18 million a year. It was named a Hall of Fame Trail by Rails to Trails Conservancy and has been designated a Millennium Legacy Trail.

Putting ATVs and golf carts on this gravel trail just sounds like a bad idea. And it will be costly.

According to the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Foundation, the research division of the Missouri legislature said the trail isn’t wide enough for two golf carts to pass each other and needs widening to 14 feet. The cost for a new base, ballast and surface, if contracted out, would be about $168,000 per mile … This does not include what it would cost to modify our bridge decks.”

A vote by the Conservation and Natural Resources Committee was scheduled Monday, but postponed.

Brent Hugh at MoBikeFed urges bicyclists to contact their legislators and explain why this is a bad bill. He gives directions about how to contact the legislators here.

I’d imagine they’d also like to hear from out-of-state bicyclists who might be changing their Katy Trail bike tourism plans because of the bill.

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    • Marylyn on February 17, 2016 at 12:38 pm
    • Reply

    I’m not sure what prompted you to present this bill….but, I have to say that messing with a good thing for the state of Missouri and the communities that have benefited from this trail, is just incomprehensible. The Katy trail is what got me hooked on rail trails. The simple fact that I didn’t have to share the road with anything motorized is what wooed me. Safe riding, I can bring my grandchildren and not have to worry.

    Its a good thing, leave it alone.

    • Charles Wrather on February 17, 2016 at 4:09 pm
    • Reply

    I have business in Missouri and plan to use the Katy trail. But I will not spend a nickel there if they allow ATVs and gold carts.

    • Rodger D. on February 17, 2016 at 4:35 pm
    • Reply

    Hola Yoal

    If Jay and those nodding the heads with him would ever ride a Recumbent Trike ( for more than a quick trip around the block ) — they will learn the being seen – knowing what is in front and passing is a Stick Bike issue

  1. This would be bad for tourism.

    I’m from Chicago, and I’ve often taken Amtak south, and ridden a good part of the Katy Trail.

    One example:

    • Jack on February 19, 2016 at 6:45 am
    • Reply

    MO people and their elected reps are carbon lovers who believe that the relationship between pollution and quality of life is positive. Silly, expensive, anti-bike ideas are seen as reasonable and deserve to be law.

    Even in Forest Park in StL you’ll see cars parked on the bike path and golf carts driving on them. These MO yahoos are blasting their country tunes while drinking Mich Light speeding in their carts – it’s the state’s MO. Trying to get a local police officer to stop this nonsense in FoPa is not seen as “reasonable”.

    Hoffarth who headed the expansion of the New 64 for MoDOT now manages Forest Park Forever – that’s right the woman who created the nightmarish expansion of highway which destroyed hundreds of homes is in charge of our largest park in StL.

  2. Allowing ATVs and golf carts along with bike would be a dangerous mix and probably result in some bad injuries. Very bad idea.

    Plenty of Illinois folks currently do bike touring on the Katy Trail. If this change happens, those tourism dollars will be spent elsewhere, probably not in Missouri.

    • Kathy Schubert on February 25, 2016 at 2:29 pm
    • Reply

    I’ve never ridden the Katy trail, but I’ve heard so many good things about it that I’d like to ride it. However, if this law allowing motorized vehicles on it is passed, I never will ride it.

    • Bikeman on February 25, 2016 at 2:46 pm
    • Reply

    That is one of the worst ideas they’ve cooked up yet. I lead a bike-touring group on an annual trip across MO on the Katy Trail. If we have to compete with drunken hicks on 4-wheelers we’ll not be spending our money in those quaint small towns along the trail.

  1. […] Biking Bis Encourages Everyone Everywhere to Contact MO Legislators on Proposed Katy Trail Bill […]

  2. […] The same Rep. Houghton is proposing a bill that would allow ATVs (all terrain vehicles) and golf carts used by the disabled, or those over 55, on the 238-mile long Katy Trail on the first and third Wednesdays of the month. The Katy Trail runs east-west across Missouri, from roughly St. Louis to about 80 miles from Kansas City. More, from the Biking Bis blog: […]

  3. […] From 15-foot-tall flags on bikes to ATVs on what have typically been bike paths, Missouri seems to have some odd ideas on the ‘proposed laws’ table this season. […]

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