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April 26, 2008

Where are the bicycle paths?

I attended a public hearing in Jefferson City where Missouri Department of Transportation officials promised members of the Missouri Senate that MoDOT would include bicycling and walking facilities in every project around the state where appropriate.

MoDOT recently presented its plans for Route 45 through an area of Parkville lined with homes, apartments and businesses. Not a bike lane, path or sidewalk is in sight.

Can we trust MoDOT to keep its word when what it says and what it does are so different?

Brent Hugh
Executive director, Missouri Bicycle Federation
Raytown

Comments

Engineer

devin
You seemed to be suggesting that cyclists intentionally impede traffic. That would not be "cyclists riding in a perfectly legal manner". But hold your fire, I believe both that more bike lanes would be good and that we should do all we can to share the road.

devin

That's the problem, Joe, most cyclists would love to stay in the bike lanes...the problem is bike lanes are almost non-existent in the metro area. As you go about your day doing the things you do in a car, try counting how many of the miles you travel have a bike lane. I can't even think of a single bike lane within five miles of where I live, so in the course of my commuting and running errands (on my bike) I never encounter them.

As for sidewalks, it's illegal for cyclists to use them. Plus it's a really bad idea. Bikes routinely travel 20-30 mph on flat or downhill routes. Combine that with pedestrians that don't follow any "rules of the road" for predictable behavior (as vehicles must) and you've get a recipe for a lot of nasty encounters.

To some extent I agree with those who are upset with bicyclists who behave erratically and unsafely. I often see cyclists doing things that make me shake my head in disgust, and I try to encourage fellow cyclists to ride according to the rules of the road. Cyclists engaged in dangerous and erratic behavior should be subject to tickets like any other vehicle on public roads. On the other hand, motorists don't obey the rules of the road consistently either. If we did an honest sampling, I'm sure the majority of motorists would admit they commit routine traffic infractions (speeding, not coming to a full stop at stop signs, etc.) on a very regular basis. Most people stuck at a red light at 3am with nobody around are going to run the red light, motorist or cyclist. So let's stop pointing fingers over minor infractions. When a cyclist drops to 4 mph and takes to the sidewalk for a block or two, it's really no different than that car running the red light at 3am.

Engineer, if cyclists riding in a perfectly legal manner causes us to get banned, then fascism has truly arrived in America. Why are motorists so obsessed with getting cyclists into cars where we can raise the demand for gas even further and put even more money in the pockets of terrorist-funding nations?

Engineer

Like beauty in the eye of the beholder "where appropriate" is in the minds of those making the promise. But devin, IMO, your ideas would cause the appearance of "Bicycles Prohibited" signs.

Stifled Freedom

And bicylists will take the available lane and behave like a car sometimes and then behave like a pedestrian or something else at other times (running stop signs and going through red lights and jumping on to the sidewalks)....depending upon which ever is convenient at that particular time.

That is my problem with bicylists. They want to be a car, but they dont want to consistently obey the traffic laws that apply to cars.

Quite frankly, I think the should stay on teh sidewalk or in a designated bike lane.

Stifled Freedom

"here are the bicycle paths?"

Right out in the middle of the street is where I have notice them. Holding up traffic.

What is the deal now with people wanting to jog down the middle of the street instead of using the sidewalk? Is this another "get off my street" attitude.

Rogue

I am thinking getting some of those little stickers you know, the ones with a circle and a line crossing the circle for my SUV. Some would have a few little foreign made cars in them, and others would someone on a bicycle in them.

devin

I'm beginning to think the solution is quite simple, it just requires a certain amount of bravery. Cyclists just need to start occupying the lane we're entitled to. If MoDOT isn't interested in building bike lanes, or even decent shoulders, the only safe options left for cyclists is to simply take the only available lane. If enough of us take this option, motorists will get tired of it and start to push for bike lanes as well just to get us out of their way.

I've stopped playing the game of trying get as far to the right as possible to stay out of the way of cars after reading a number of studies indicating this behavior puts cyclists at greater risk. So if motorists don't understand why it's in their interest for roads to have bike lanes, I'm doing my best to show them. It's not for my safety that I want to see more bike lanes, it's for the convenience of motorists who get stuck behind me. Of course, being a strong cyclist and living downtown, I can actually move just as fast as the cars most of the time...maybe I should slow down to make my point ;-)

 
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