Monday, August 2, 2010

Bike ban and bike ride in same town?

"Dude, we just want to ride our bikes for transportation"

This weekend it was brought to my attention that a bike ride, Buffalo Bill Century Ride, will be having a SAG stop at the City Hall of Desoto, Kansas. Find out more about the Bike Ban in Desoto, Kansas at Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation and Kansas Cyclist site.

I ranted over the weekend, you can see some it on Car-free American Facebook page.

I am sure the organizers intentions are good, but, I still do not believe Desoto, Kansas should get any positive support from bike clubs. I beleive the Ban to be unlawful and a violation of my civil rights.

Having a SAG at their city hall is a huge slap in the face to all those who have fought the ban over the years, those who were ticketed, and those who were harassed by law enforcement and the people of Desoto.

Why am I pissed? This is the sign that greets cyclists as you are going into Desoto, you ride past it and you break the law, Kansas and yes that is a bicycle in a circle with a slash in the the center. Should we, the cycling community, support a town who does this?


Here is part of an article by a KC local newspaper

DeSoto means 'no'.

As an example of cyclists spoiling their own fun, Crawford cites an incident earlier this year in DeSoto, KS. A citizen complaint lead to the DeSoto City Council banning cycling along a 2 1/2-mile stretch of 83rd Street east of town. What precipitated the complaint were three cyclist riding abreast down the two-lane roadway last spring, holding up traffic and violating traffic laws. One of the cyclists allegedly made rude gestures to frustrated motorists who had to share the road.

Official statements cited safety of the narrow, hilly roadway as a reason to ban cyclists. But no cyclist interviewed for this article familiar with the stretch recalled anything in the recent past that indicated there was a problem. Crawford, who testified before the city council about the ordinance, said research had shown no accidents in the recent past involving cyclists.

About 60 cyclists on the Critical Mass Ride challenged the city of DeSoto June 19 to ticket them for riding on a 2 1/2-mile stretch of 83rd Street where cycling was recently banned by the DeSoto City Council.

The road is particularly important to cyclists as the only paved, direct route from northeast Johnson County to Lawrence. Alternative routes, including 135th Street, 151st Street and Kansas Highway 10 were no safer and the 13-mile detour would do more to discourage cycling than to save the lives of cyclists.

While the DeSoto incident showed how cyclists themselves can set people against them, it also showed the attitude of the city council. "They see a wide shoulder on K10 and wonder why a cyclist can't ride on that," Crawford says. "Cyclists seek the safest route. K10 is not safe, with a posted speed limit of 70 miles per hour versus 45 for 83rd Street. At those higher speeds, motorists and cyclists don't have time to think. The DeSoto council does not understand that wind blasts from semis frequently can blow you off the road."

In testimony before the DeSoto council, Crawford and others suggested alternatives to closing the road, including designated cycling routes and lane striping, but banning the cyclists seemed the easiest, cheapest solution. In addition, the city council increased the daily number of dump trucks a local quarry could put on the stretch of 83rd Street where cycling was prohibited.

Jason Peck, a computer analyst for a Midtown insurance company, has been cycling seriously for five years and lives near Ottawa, KS. While adding 26 miles to a round trip to Lawrence is bad, he says, "This is a matter of equality. There is no legal basis or foundation for this ordinance. Originally, the ordinance was to ban bicycles from all streets with posted speed limits of more than 35 miles per hour. If they were concerned about safety on that one stretch, then why ban bikes all over town?

"Someone flipped someone off. There were violations of the law, but law enforcement should enforce the law before making new ones. We can't do anything with political pressure, so we have to seek our relief in the courts."

Peck's organization, Citizens for Alternative Transportation, filed a lawsuit against the city of DeSoto after several riders were ticketed for attempting to ride on the banned stretch of 83rd Street. About 60 cyclists participated on the Critical Mass Ride, June 19, organized by Citizens for Alternative Transportation.

"We weren't sure what would happen," Peck says. "We rode to the line and all but five or six people cycled the banned road. We all got a written warning on the other side, but the cops said that to go back was to get a ticket. Even then, 10 or 11 of us had to ask to be ticketed. They did not want to give citations to us."


  1. Putting the SAG at the De Soto City Hall is a brilliant move. It showcases the positive aspects of cycling and the benefits cycling could bring to a more bike-friendly De Soto, right at the town's seat of power.

    I say the bike clubs should be putting *more* events in De Soto, not fewer.

    Boycotting the town might feel good from a revenge perspective, but it will do absolutely nothing to change minds. It would probably do more damage - keeping us out of sight and out of mind. Positive, respectful engagement is what will change minds.

  2. I am not trying to get revenge, just fighting for the right to use a viable transportation route and not be unlawful in my action.

    Think about this- one town has invoked a ban and got away with it for years(Desoto). Now others are trying or have invoked bans-and the new town ban leaders can say they have precedent-just look at Desoto, Ks, and oh, by the way, the local bike clubs are still friendly to them, so lets invoke the ban and the cyclist will get over it.

    I get the diplomacy thing, but it is my understanding that has already been tried? If we don't continually let Desoto know their actions are not acceptable to the cycling community, we will in effect be saying that what they did is ok and therefore opening the door to more such bans( maybe that is happening now), is that what you really want Eric?


  3. Btw, lets not forget that Desoto does more to hurt cycling by having that sign up with the bicycle in the circle with the slash. Come on people-do not support that.

    I would be open to seeing some compromise-ideas?

  4. The weekend warriors seem to do more to upset the people who create the bans then the people trying to use the road to get some where.

    It makes sense in a way that a weekend ride would function just fine in DeSoto because it is the recreational weekend warrior, those especially who drive their bikes to events, who are just fine keeping the roads cleared of cyclist since they only want their official routes for the event cleared so they can fill the entire lane pissing people off and not caring how they ruin it for the people who actually use a bike for real transportation.

    To me there are two classes of riders and really they have two entirely different agendas.

  5. After reading this,I can say with firm conviction, that most of you four bike wide, speed bumps have a death wish. If you want to ride a bike on a motorway for gods sake put a freaking motor on it,I did.