Monday, August 2, 2010
Bike ban and bike ride in same town?
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.
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."