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Readers support the rights of cyclists to use the roads

July 28, 2010 Bicycling, St. Charles County, Sunday Poll 11 Comments

ABOVE: State Highway DD via Google Streetview
ABOVE: State Highway DD in St. Charles County. Image: Google Streetview

Readers that voted in the poll last week clearly favor the rights of bicyclist to use public roadways and thus opposing a proposed ban in St. Charles County on cycling on some state highways in the county.

Q: St Charles County is considering banning bikes from some state highways:

  1. Bikes are vehicles and have just as much right to use public roads. 114 [60.96%]
  2. Bikes are fine on local roads, but not on state highways lacking shoulders. 52 [27.81%]
  3. Bikes belong on sidewalks or trails, not roads. 13 [6.95%]
  4. Other answer… 7 [3.74%]
  5. Unsure/no opinion 1 [ 0.53%]

However, nearly 28% think cyclists have a right to the roads, but not highways lacking shoulders.  Almost 7% think cyclists belong on sidewalks and trails.  Seriously? Public roads are for vehicles and a bike is a vehicle.

The “other” answers were:

  1. Ban Cars
  2. Ban the cars and solve the obesity problem
  3. Daft Wankers!
  4. stl bikers need education on the laws – until they stop at stop signs ban bikers
  5. If a bicyclistg wants to risk life and limb on a state highway, go for it.
  6. They are state roads…St. Charles has no jurisdiction in banning bikes on them.
  7. Reduce speed limit to 35 from 55mph for the cars – why do the cars go so fast?

I’ll be interested to see how this issue plays out.

– Steve Patterson


Currently there are "11 comments" on this Article:

  1. sockpuppet says:

    bicyclist having to stop at all 4 way stop signs brings about many problems. many places are changing laws to better fit—such as 4 way stops are treated as yields for bicyclists-makes more sense-it's nuts to have human powered vehicles restricted by same laws applying to motor powered.

  2. Chris says:

    “Readers support the rights of cyclists to use the roads”

    Do they support the responsibilities of cyclists to obey the laws as they now stand?

    I doubt it. As Sockpuppet is alluding to, bicyclists think that a separate list of rules apply to them while on the road–even though the law clearly states they do not. Bicyclists will NEVER win the respect of motorists as long as they continue to break the law in front of motorists' faces.

    I would be perfectly fine with bicyclists being able to yield at stop signs, BUT THAT REQUIRES A CHANGE IN THE LAW. As it now stands, most bicyclists I see sail through stop signs at full speed. Don't give me that crap about how it's just a minority of bicyclists who don't follow the law; the vast majority constantly break it right in front of me.

  3. Phil says:

    Until then, stop at stop signs, particularly if other cars are at the stop signs first!

  4. Doug says:

    I understand why our rural country roads appeal to bicyclists due to the challenge of the hills and serenity of the country, however most of these roads don't have a shoulder and it can be quite dangerous for them when it comes to a hill. I have lived in the Jospehville/St. Paul area since 2004 and yesterday was the first time that a bicyclist waved me past them as they were cresting a hill. Most of the time they ride two abreast and I end up slowing down practically to a crawl before I can safely pass them. This is no different than getting stuck behind an elderly driver that is going well below the posted speed limit on a windy, hilly road where passing lanes are rare. I feel that if they take the risk of riding on these roads (or roads in general) then they must adhere to the laws as written. I'm not sure if there are minimum speed limits for these state highways but if there are then they should be required to obey those laws for the safety of everyone.

    • JZ71 says:

      There are minimum speed limits, but they only apply to motorized vehicles: “304.011. 1. No person shall drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law.” http://www.moga.mo.gov/statutes/C300-399/304000

      So, do you also favor banning elderly drivers, because they tend to be slow, as well? Rural mail carriers? Farm implements? Wildlife? Stock? Pedestrians? I know it's a pain having to slow down, but the law's clear: “304.012. 1. Every person operating a motor vehicle on the roads and highways of this state shall drive the vehicle in a careful and prudent manner and at a rate of speed so as not to endanger the property of another or the life or limb of any person and shall exercise the highest degree of care.” http://www.moga.mo.gov/statutes/C300-399/304000

  5. JZ71 says:

    It'll play out like it has to date – a local politician pandering to his constituents, on an issue that's outside his jurisdiction. If they're state highways, the state sets the rules. It'd be “case closed” except I wouldn't put it past someone in the legislature to make it a statewide “issue” and to try and change state law . . .

  6. Chuck Baker says:

    I like the 7th other answer just because I always feel unsafe going 55 on those winding country highways. I'm in the “bikers have the right to the road but I think they'd be crazy to use it here without a shoulder” group.

  7. Roger Wyoming says:

    Frankly, counties need to take over a lot of these lettered “state” highways that in most states would be county roads…. MODOT likes to mention the extremely high number of highway miles in the system when seeking funding, but they really need to devolve many of these roads to locals. I'd be a bit more sympathic to Joe Brazil if he wants to take it over.

    • JZ71 says:

      But if the counties took 'em over, it would require (gasp, horrors) raising local taxes! In heavily-Republican areas, like much of rural Missouri is, that'd be a non-starter and political suicide. However, at the state level, I could see where that could be really popular, since the legislature and the governor could “fix” the current budget shortfalls without finding any new revenue sources . . .

  8. Rob says:

    GREAT! I can't wait to tell my friend who lost her teenage daughter on that road. She was coming around a curve and a bicyclist was there. She only had time to swerve, hit a tree and died on impact.

    Find me a bicyclist who can go the posted speed limit and I might call it a vehicle. But that still doesn't bring back my friend's daughter.

    • JZ71 says:

      While I wouldn't wish losing one's daughter on anyone, losing control is something that comes from inexperience and/or inattention. As a teenager, I “fell off the road” more than once – it was no one's fault but mine. It doesn't matter if it's a cyclist, a pedestrian, a dog or a deer, most motorists' instincts are to swerve and avoid an impact. You can't legislate away every surprise and every potential road hazard – it's up to every driver to pay attention and to avoid them, and that includes driving at a safe speed, not necessarily the posted maximum, so that one doesn't “come around a curve” and only have “time to swere [and] hit a tree”.


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