St. Charles County could be among one of the few counties in the United States to enact a wide sweeping ban on bicycle use. Councilman Joe Brazil has offered a solution to issues that can arise between motorists and bicyclists, through Bill 3620. In this bill bicycles would be banned from several state highways in the southwestern part of St. Charles County. After discussing the Bill during the July meeting, the bill was tabled until the issue could be further explored.
According to MO DOT, the county does not have the right to enforce a ban on bicyclists using state highways.
However, according to Joe Brazil. the county’s Charter County status gives them the authority to regulate the use of roads, even state roadways.
Living in a period of time that seems to be testing our values as a society, it is up to the citizens of a community to be involved and be heard. There are times when the contradictions can seem obvious to everyone except those that are too close to the situation. With the economic and environmental situations as they are, there is an increased awareness that an individual can make a difference by making alternative choices. This was reinforced by “Ride Your Bike to Work Day”. There are also those who are fighting the obesity that we see in our country by teaching the benefits of exercise, including the riding of bicycles. Getting out and enjoying the great outdoors while supporting those businesses who are dedicated to tourism, is a way to support the community as a whole, during an economic crisis.
All of these are good reasons to ride a bike. However, they also may place the rider on certain roadways, considered to be too dangerous for the use of both motorists and bicyclists. The contradictions are too numerous to list, but they are worth considering.
There will always be issues concerning motorists and bicyclists. However, the use of roadways has always included the mutual use of these two methods of transportation. Would the answer be more about educating the public in safer ways to share the road, rather than the ban of one in favor of the other?
- Could the answer include a greater emphasis on signage and warnings placed along the roadways in question, that motorists should watch for those on bicycles?
- Could it be as simple as reinforcing the seriousness of driving above the speed limit, or approaching a blind curve without respecting the individual that may be on the other side of that curve?
- It may also include more education for bicyclists about the reaction time that a motorists may have, upon seeing them.
- Included could be the need for more reflective devices for bicyclists.
This is not an issue that seems to be going away any time soon. There are several ways to educate yourself about the issues involved. You might even wish to attend a County Council meeting. Below are links to sites that contain detailed information about the proposed ban. You will also find a facebook page that will allow you to get more involved.
Council Meeting Schedule
Report on League of American Bicyclists
St. Charles County Update
Facebook, Stop St. Charles County Bike Ban
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