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Missouri county considers biking ban (and why you should care) – UPDATED

Posted by on July 13th, 2010 at 10:33 am

Joe Brazil wants bikes banned
from country roads due to safety concerns.
(Photo: FoxTV/St. Louis)
-Watch video below-

When a ban on people riding bicycles went into effect in the small casino town of Black Hawk Colorado last month, it seemed like an anomaly. Many people were outraged by it and advocates are still working to overturn it, but it seemed like just a case of small town politics gone awry. Now, Black Hawk’s city leaders must be feeling a bit of validation after a much larger and more formal ban is being seriously considered by the Council of St. Charles County, Missouri.

A County councilman, Joe Brazil, introduced the idea on the grounds that the roads are simply too narrow to accomodate anything other than people in cars. He says it’s a safety issue (and not just for people on bikes). In the video below from local TV coverage, Brazil says:

“There’s no shoulders, there’s limited sight distance, and the speed limit is 55mph. It’s very dangerous to be riding bicycles on these roads and you’re putting the motorists in danger.”

Brazil and other supporters of the ban are using the story of a young girl who crashed her car into a tree in 2003 and sustained serious injuries after swerving to avoid someone on a bike (her badly swollen and stitched up face and her mangled car make an appearance in the TV coverage).

Interestingly, Councilman Brazil opposed a county smoking ban back in April on the grounds that smoking is “a matter of a personal choice”.

There was a St. Charles County council meeting on the issue last night and judging from news reports, the room was packed. The issue has been tabled until next month and the council is considering adding more roads and highways to the bike ban list. Here’s a video with comments from Councilman Brazil and others both for and against the ban:
 Everyone who cares about biking in America should watch this video. I found it to be scary and surreal. Have we really come to a point when we will simply give our roads over to the fastest vehicles? This same line of reasoning could be used to close all types of roads where there are fast-moving cars and no room for anything else.

I feel for the young woman who was hurt trying to avoid someone on a bike, but using that example as a reason to ban people riding bikes is absurd. How many deaths and injuries have occurred on those same roads between two people in cars? Rural roads are the main cause of traffic fatalities in America. We should do more to ban speeding than to ban people using a vehicle that is incapable of it.

For Portland-area readers, did you notice how similar these roads look to the Willamette Valley and rural roads throughout our region? If you think this is something other countys across America won’t consider, you’re fooling yourself.

Everyone frames this as “motorists” and “bicyclists” — but this is not about mode labels, this is about people and mobility. Our shared roads (being different from interstate highways and biking trails) are built to move people from one place to another. It’s an extremely slippery slope to even consider policy that would ban one type of user simply because they travel more slowly than another and are seen as an inconvenience to maintaining a certain speed.

If Mr. Brazil is concerned about safety, perhaps he should focus on educating people to slow down and operate vehicles with caution and consideration for others.

I hope the Great Defender of Non-motorized Transportation, US DOT Secretary Ray LaHood, is paying attention to St. Charles County. If he truly believes his headline-making proclamation about the “end of favoring motorized transportation” he should hop on a train to Defiance, Missouri and find an empty tabletop for next month’s council meeting.

Nothing smacks more of favoring motorized transportation than trying to outlaw other modes simply because they are perceived as a nuisance to going fast.

— Learn more about the proposed St. Charles County ban via the action alert from the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation. Learn how people that ride bikes in the St. Louis area are reacting to the proposal by reading this thread in the St. Louis Biking forums.

UPDATE: St. Louis Today reports that the Missouri DOT says St. Charles County has no authority to enforce a ban like this. But Mr. Brazil is undeterred.

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  • Richard Masoner July 13, 2010 at 10:42 am

    Thanks for cogently articulating this as a public access issue rather than a modal issue.

    If Ray LaHood hasn’t heard about this yet, he probably will soon. St. Charles County borders his home state. Given the politics of Missouri, though, any attention from anyone in the Obama administration on this matter may serve to make this a Democrat vs Republican issue, even though the majority of cyclists who ride on Missouri roads are likely as Republican as Brazil.

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  • Lance P. July 13, 2010 at 10:45 am


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  • John Reinhold July 13, 2010 at 10:51 am

    IANAL, however I am not sure these laws will hold up to constitutional muster. Roads are public and paid for with public tax dollars.

    You can’t selectively decide who gets to use them.

    There is for sure some sort of aspect of discrimination, or interstate commerce, or freedom to travel or what have you.

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  • Gabriel Nagmay July 13, 2010 at 10:52 am

    Funny thing is… many of the drivers that I’ve met in Oregon already think that it’s illegal to ride on the highway.

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  • Nik July 13, 2010 at 10:53 am

    In reality, it’s not cycling that’s dangerous on those roads, it’s driving a motor vehicle that is dangerous. Might as well make it illegal for the sun to shine because the light might blind drivers and make them crash into things.

    Drivers are holy and blameless creatures and must be protected from slowpokes.

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  • pat h July 13, 2010 at 10:54 am

    Wow. What tyranny of the majority.

    Blaming a bicyclist for causing a 16 yo girl to lose control of her Lexus SUV. How does that work exactly?

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  • Brad Fletchall July 13, 2010 at 10:57 am

    All the roads on the ban are the only connectors for very popular cycling routes that are no different than any other state highway in the area, Missouri, Illinois, or Kansas, etc.

    I called Joe Brazil last Friday (I live in STL) and he doesn’t even understand the concept of road cycling.

    He just repeated his statement that “we have spent millions of dollars on parks with bike paths and the Katy Trail {Rails-to-Trails project) and we simply can’t have cyclists on the roads.”

    He also repeatedly stated that “cyclists are a danger to motorists”.

    This is really close to home for us but I hope others can find a way to support our cause, calling, writing, or whatever can be done.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) July 13, 2010 at 11:05 am


      thanks for your comment. i hope you keep us posted as things develop down there. I’m glad you brought up the Katy Trail. It’s a common line of reasoning for politicians and some others to think ‘we made you your own trail, so go use it and stay off of ours.’

      I wonder if Mr. Brazil and others would apply the same reasoning to motorized vehicle traffic. After all, ALL OF US have contributing billions in tax dollars to build and maintain the Interstate Highway System… so perhaps motor vehicles should be relegated to only using those?

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  • Greg July 13, 2010 at 10:59 am

    I wonder if the county is also banning the Amish buggies, considering they are an identical hazard.

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  • WillB July 13, 2010 at 11:00 am

    I can just imagine an armchair of TV viewers cheering Brazil as he champions for motorist safety by removing the bicycle threat from the roadways. Should it come to pass, a dark day for the bicycle indeed.

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  • Jim F July 13, 2010 at 11:02 am

    This is bat#$%t crazy. These are the kinds of people who burn books too. Absolutely ignorant and insane.

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  • Ryan July 13, 2010 at 11:03 am

    If we banned travel on every road there was an accident on there would be no more roads to use.

    It’s awesome that they want to improve the roads with shoulders, but a shoulder is not exactly a recipe for safety. If they really cared about safety they would lower the speed limit, educate and enforce the law.

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  • shirtsoff July 13, 2010 at 11:07 am

    Does this ban prevent all slow-moving vehicles from accessing the rural roadways in St. Charles County? If so, how will farm vehicles operate on the roadways out there? Or is it really a proposed ban zeroed in on bicycles and not a discussion about fast vehicles interacting safely with slower vehicles?

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) July 13, 2010 at 11:32 am

      shirtsoff wrote:

      Does this ban prevent all slow-moving vehicles from accessing the rural roadways in St. Charles County? If so, how will farm vehicles operate on the roadways out there? Or is it really a proposed ban zeroed in on bicycles…

      Yes. this is just about bicycles: The proposal reads: “Prohibit bicycles on Highway DD, D, F, Z & 94 from Hwy. 40 to County line until shoulders or bicycle lanes are in place.”

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  • Brad Fletchall July 13, 2010 at 11:13 am

    and to get a better idea of what we are dealing with…

    Joe Brazil was very opposed to the smoking ban that was recently put into place because it was making restrictions on personal freedoms.

    There was at least one voice of reason on the council who said that she hadn’t formed an opinion on this issue yet because they hadn’t discussed it during other meetings and no studies have been done yet. She pointed out the fact to Joe Brazil that his opposition to the smoking ban goes against his stance on this cycling ban.

    So there is a glimmer of hope if a real effort can be made to squash this thing.

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  • BURR July 13, 2010 at 11:13 am

    none of these bans will stand up in court

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  • cycler July 13, 2010 at 11:16 am

    Do you want to be the one to test the case? Ask Chipseal about how that’s going for him in Texas.

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  • Stanley Kost July 13, 2010 at 11:22 am

    The county roads here in Missouri are definitely dangerous – for anyone. One reason why they’re so narrow is so that they can accommodate storm water ditches. Because of the sharp drop-offs, any deviation of driving/riding straight on these roads can lead to vehicles dangerously veering off the road rather quickly. I’ve had a few close shaves myself due to opposing traffic hugging or crossing the center lines.

    Coming from Oregon, where I saw bicyclists on nearly every road at one point or another, I know how to safely share the road with (the few, brave) bike riders I encounter. Many people haven’t figured out how to do that.

    If Missouri really wants to solve the problem of bicyclist and motorist safety on these roads, their counties need to invest real money into covering storm water ditches and widening these roads. The rails-to-trails idea is a good start, but those old lines usually don’t connect anywhere in a viable way; therefore, they don’t really serve any other than purely recreational bicyclists. I’d love to see real bike lanes on actual streets and roads here; barring that, if there are at least shoulders to ride on, then we can reduce accidents dramatically.

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  • Paul July 13, 2010 at 11:36 am

    How about banning 16 year old kids from operating speeding heavy machinery?

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  • yup July 13, 2010 at 11:50 am

    Have to say – riding the TransAmerica in 1998, Missouri was my least favorite state. People I encountered talked about doing cyclists harm more than any other place I rode.
    A typical encounter went something like,
    “Oh you riding a bike?, You know we run cyclists off the road around here. Ha Ha”

    So yeah, this does not surprise me one bit.


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  • chelsea July 13, 2010 at 11:53 am

    What a ***personal insult deleted***!!! I don’t even have words to describe how dumb and frustrating it is that anyone actually thinks that is a good idea.

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  • Samuel John Klein July 13, 2010 at 11:55 am

    Whenever I see stuff like this I think of a quip I overheard when some people were discussing bikes: “I swear, sometimes I think every one of these proposals was thought up by some cranky old dude who got cut off in traffic by a rude cyclist.”

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  • Spiffy July 13, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    they continue to mention the high speeds on the road but never mention that lowering the speed may be an option…

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  • Anonymous July 13, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Get to know MO- Joe:

    The 1982 death occurred when Brazil was a senior at McCluer North High School during a prank in which sand was dumped on a parking lot. Norval Pierce was killed when he jumped or fell from a dump truck Brazil was driving and the truck ran over him.

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  • Michweek July 13, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    What can we do here or anywhere else other than St. Charles to combat this ban? What’s next? Banning people from walking along roads or crossing them? This is absurd and it must stop!

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  • Mark C July 13, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    “There’s no shoulders, there’s limited sight distance, and the speed limit is 55mph.”

    If that’s the case, then the speed limit should be much lower than 55 mph. Joe Brazil sounds like a typical tea-bagger. ***personal insult deleted***

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) July 13, 2010 at 12:15 pm

      Folks. I realize there are strong feelings about Mr. Brazil, but direct personal insults are not helpful and I won’t allow them to stay (if I miss some, please let me know). In these situations, the best “win” is to try and promote your position without tearing down or disrespecting the other side. Once you start calling people names, they will either retrench and retaliate or they will disconnect from the dialogue — both of which do not help the situation. Thanks!

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  • Another Dan July 13, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    I Googled Joe Brazil, and found (as I suspected) he’s a Republican. Usually they are the ones decrying “the nanny state”. Given his stance on the smoking ban, I guess personal liberty is trumped by his behind-the-wheel convenience.

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  • Brian E July 13, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    Is it true that texting and hand-held cell phones are OK for drivers in MO?

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  • buglas July 13, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    As I learned Vehicle Operation 101, you should never travel at a speed where you cannot safely react to anything that might be on the roadway in front of you. If you can’t stop in the portion of road that you see before a blind curve or the crest of a hill, you can’t avoid whatever is up there that you can’t see.
    By Mr. Brazil’s logic, the ban needs to extend to deer, dogs, fallen tree limbs, farm implements, and any sort of pedestrian (children, locals checking their mailbox…).

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  • 9watts July 13, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    To some extent the narrow road argument is a red herring (others have noted thoughtfully how speed is a much better variable to home in on). When I was last in Germany, driving on a country road I grew up on I stopped, got out, and measured the width of the road (with my feet/shoes). I knew it as a narrow road, but to my surprise it turned out to be 9′ wide, including both fog lines. While not heavily traveled, it was a two-way road, and the only route by which to access the hamlet where I was staying. Gives one pause.
    And yes, bicycles were both common and accepted on this road alongside cars and the occasional truck.

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  • Brad Fletchall July 13, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    Several areas of the state have some texting/cell phone while driving restrictions but as far as a state law there is a State law for anyone under 21 specifically for texting while driving in MO (does not apply to over 21 for some dumb reason). These accidents are usually handled under the existing “Careless and Imprudent Driving” laws.

    There is also no word on whether the shoulders they are planning to build will be suitable for road cycling as they are typically gravel unless in a city or town.

    Missouri state law allows cyclists to “take the lane when necessary” so even if gravel shoulders are in place we will still be in the lane.

    Several supporters spoke up during the meeting, including the father of the girl that crashed her car and said that they intend to hit cyclists in the roadway instead of avoiding them. The father of the girl said he was instructing his children just to hit the cyclists instead of swerving out of the way.

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  • PdxMark July 13, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    And the poster child for the ban was a 16-year old driver who crashed seven years ago… I’d think that with no better evidence of a problem in the interim, the seven year gap shows that there ISN’T a problem …

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  • Brent July 13, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    Generally, state laws trump local laws in traffic matters, but I haven’t been able to find much in Missouri statutes that would prevent a county from banning bicycles. But I also haven’t found much that would prevent a county from banning any vehicle — car, tractor, horse-drawn carriage, etc. — from its roads.

    This question may end up having to be defined at the state level, and at the federal level to the extent that counties receive federal road funds.

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  • wsbob July 13, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    How wide are the roads in question? Commenter Stanley Kost #17 says,

    “The county roads here in Missouri are definitely dangerous – for anyone. One reason why they’re so narrow is so that they can accommodate storm water ditches. …”

    So Stanley, I’ll ask you…how wide are the roads County councilman, Joe Brazil is talking about? He, or someone else believing a ban of bikes on county roads is in order, is going to have to produce stronger evidence that a true danger that can’t be remedied outside of a ban, exists.

    Washington County here in Oregon has been largely agricultural for many years. For many years up until the last couple decades, many of it’s roads were kind of narrow, had little shoulder and sloped into ditches as you describe. Allowing for occasional exceptions, I think that people using bikes and people operating motor vehicles mostly got along fine together on these roads.

    There’s always someone that’s going to be frustrated about going a little too slow, or being temporarily held up behind a slower vehicle while waiting for a break in traffic to make a pass. This isn’t a sufficient reason to eliminate the opportunity for people to use a primary mode of transportation on the road. Not everyone can afford a motor vehicle, or has access to public transportation.

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  • Ross Nicholson July 13, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    Just mark the roads we CAN use and WHEN on GPS units and give the maps out to cyclists and we will be happy to stay off whatever road you want. Have the GPS monitor us if you like to keep us in line–do the same with motorists. Just give us some way to get where we’re going. Where joint use is mandatory, put in a bike lane & share the road signage. Cyclist are happy to obey traffic laws promulgated by local authorities. We’re also happy to vote against them in the next local election.

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  • 9watts July 13, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    there is majority rule and there is logic.

    One wonders here what would happen if logic overwhelmed the perspective that is assumed to carry the day simply because the majority are assumed to drive (and not bike) and therefore side with a perspective that advantages that approach.

    Logic here and in other instances discussed here would suggest to me that if something must be banned it is the car, or at least the speed or manner of driving that is associated with the ‘danger.’ Without seeking to assign blame, the girl who crashed because her passing maneuver was unsuccessful would almost certainly not have died if she had been riding a bicycle. The overall level of danger present would decrease in patently obvious ways if cars–the mode that makes speed the norm–were reined in rather than bikes whose presence it seems to me is difficult to equate so obviously with danger.

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  • Brad Fletchall July 13, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    I do want to point out that cycling in central MO specifically in and around Sedalia, MO is amazing. I’ve been missing it ever since moving to Saint Louis.

    The roads are great, share the road signs are going up everywhere, the Katy Trail runs through the middle. No different than these on the bill though.

    I put on a Criterium and Road Race there 2 years in a row a couple years ago before moving.

    If you get a chance to be in the area stop by Pro-Velo in downtown Sedalia and say high to Ebby and Norm.

    Stay in Hotel Bothwell and go for a bike ride. If you stay at Hotel Bothwell and you tell them you are cyclists they will stock Gu or Gels or what ever sports drink you want within reason to make your stay more accommodating. Its great and former U.S. Presidents and Elvis have stayed there. Its also across the street from the bike shop.

    So my point is that its not a state wide problem. Missouri as a whole loves cycling there are just a few ill-informed persons who sometimes have positions of power but you’ll find that anywhere.

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  • 9watts July 13, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    I meant ‘she would have been less seriously injured.’

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  • Dan Liu July 13, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    Yikes. Somehow speed has managed to become a legal or natural right, one which is most evident when people are frustrated with traffic jams or when we open the throttle on rural roads. I remember when biking in Montana, drivers would give me tons of space if they could, but they’d never slow down if they couldn’t.

    I’ll agree with Stanley (#17): Midwestern rural roads are dangerous, if only because the lack of both cars and bicyclists can lull anyone into a false sense of safety and solitude. Most if the rural county roads I’ve ridden in Wisconsin don’t have the same drainage problem, however. The best approach to this more general issue is taken by WSDOT, who not only do a pretty good job making sure rural highways have decent shoulders, but also publishes a statewide map showing the best routes for bicycling (http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/bike/statemap.htm).

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  • J.R. July 13, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    Having ridden across Missouri, I can understand the fear of unseen objects over the next rise or around the next bend. It is hilly with mostly 2 lane blacktop and fair distances between destinations. It was also the only state in my transcontinental ride where anyone threatened our group’s safety by throwing bottles and cans from passing vehicles. The Council of St. Charles has an opportunity to educate road users of all kinds how to share the resources they’ve all paid to use. Lowering speed limits would be great but a basic Share-the-Road campaign would go a long way toward ensuring the safety of all users by educating the citizenry rather than dividing it up into factions. If you pass this ban, you will be fighting over it at your expense for a long time to come. Much more cost effective (and re-election secure) to have everyone slow down a bit, save money, and watch out for their neighbors. I am astonished that in this time of increasing concern for energy security, public health and domestic economic well being that such a ban could be considered. Totally bassackwards but don’t be ashamed because you found a teachable moment. Use it.

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  • q'Tzal July 13, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    How did we get here? To a society that prizes freedom, mobility and no personal responsibility for drivers of autos?
    I think the elephant in the room in this case is that EVERYONE realizes, even if only subconsiously, that driving in traffic is so dangerous that it is almost impossible to do it without screwing up if anything out of the ordinary happens.
    Sure there are some Top Gun drivers that will never get in or cause a crash. The realization that you could die on the road from your own or someone elses screw ups must cause a denial that reaches all the way way back to the motive: “I must drive therefore I am a safe driver”.
    And so drivers deny that they could possibly be to blame for an “accident” because to admit that is to admit that they could have just as easily been snuffed out.
    Makes me want to be able to opt-out of road taxes.

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  • wsbob July 13, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    I’ll semi-agree with 9watts back apiece that narrow width roads being a strong reason to ban bikes, may be overstated. Haven’t personally been there, but what I’ve seen of roads in film footage of various places in Europe, England, Switzerland…France, Italy…show narrow, even single width road that people are accustomed to using all modes of transportation on…foot, bike, motor vehicle, horse/mule and wagon.

    Advent of the cheap automobile…the model T in this country, has likely played a major role in people losing respect for walking and biking. This has happened in China, and it may happen in India with introduction of the Tata car.

    On the other hand most of us reading probably recognize that some of the people that ride bikes do a number of things that generate animosity from other road users, directed towards bikes as transportation. Here’s a recent thread from over at bikeforums that gives a possible example of this:

    <a href="link“>Massachusetts Road Biking Scenario, what do you think/bikeforums, posted by ‘covalent jello’

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  • wsbob July 13, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    Did something wrong with the link…I’ll try it again:

    Massachusetts Road Biking Scenario, what do you think/bikeforums, posted by ‘covalent jello

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  • Stig July 13, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    Bicycles are dangerous. Children should be able to drive SUVs without bicycles on the same roads. Think of the children!

    Must be really funny looking roads if they’re too narrow for bicycles yet wide enough for luxury SUVs.

    What would have happened if the Lexus SUV driving 16 year old girl (now 23?) had encountered a broken down vehicle instead of the bicycle?

    Don’t drive too fast for conditions.
    Don’t cycle too fast for conditions.

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  • El Biciclero July 13, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    Car head. The obvious potential solutions here are a) raise the legal driving age to one that better ensures drivers have the maturity necessary to exercise good judgment while “operating speeding heavy machinery”, b) Lower the speed limit on narrow roads with blind corners.

    Banning bikes from non-interstate highways is the most backwards “safety measure” ever conceived. If bans like this start going into effect unchallenged, the domino effect could be horrendous.

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  • ride don't slide July 13, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    Next thing you know they’ll be banning mountain bikers from trails used by hikers.

    Oh, wait…

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  • yarrrrum July 13, 2010 at 1:50 pm



    Event Will Cancel If Sponsorship Funding Not Released by Tourism

    May 27, 2010 (St. Louis, Mo.)
    — After a seven-month negotiation with State Tourism, which included a bi-partisan state senate and house approval of $1 million in support for the Tour of Missouri sponsorship, the United States’ second biggest professional cycling event and one of the top stage races outside of Europe, will be officially cancelled should earmarked funds not be released by Tourism and the Governor, according to the board of directors of Tour of Missouri, Inc.

    “This may be a win for the Missouri Tourism Commission and the Governor, but a huge loss for the state of Missouri and its citizens,” said Mike Weiss, chairman of the Tour of Missouri, Inc. “It has been an insanely complicated battle for something so beneficial, and it’s left all of us absolutely baffled. This event, in three short years, has blossomed into the crown jewel for the state of Missouri with a broadcast to 150-plus countries, visitors from more than 40 states, direct economic impact of more than $80 million dollars over three years, and garnered state legislative support, only to have funding held up by the director of Tourism and the Governor for 2010.

    Weiss added: “What has been lost in the mix is whether this money is better spent on things like print ads or a multi-dimensional approach that garners regional and international publicity for our state. The ROI is evident but we haven’t been able to plead our case to the Governor because he won’t take our meetings despite all the public support.”

    Weiss and Vice Chairman Brent Hugh acknowledged and expressed gratitude to the enormous public support and the bi-partisan state senate and house leaders that supported the legislation to appropriate $1,000,000 to Tourism earmarked for sponsorship of the event. They have been declined meetings with the Governor regarding the decision.

    “All you really have to do is look at the hundreds of comments posted on various news sites and social media forums to see the overwhelming support for Tourism to fund this event,” said Hugh.

    Weiss noted that the $3.5 million event budget is less than 30 percent funded by the Missouri Tourism sponsorship and that most of the corporate and city funding has been tied to the assurance of endemic support from the state.

    “The success of the Tour of Missouri the past three years has been a result of the public-private partnerships, thanks in part to the initiative of the State, ” said Chris Aronhalt, managing partner of Medalist Sports, Inc. the event’s managers. “The leadership and support unfortunately appears to no longer exist, which is an integral element of a successful event of this nature. Of course, we are very disappointed, but we are also proud of the Tour’s meteoric rise in the sports world, as well as grateful for the long lasting relationships made along the way.”

    Weiss said Medalist Sports of Atlanta and its marketing partner KOM Sports Marketing of Colorado Springs are “the only group in the country that could have brought the Tour of Missouri to its world-class level” in such a short period of time.

    “From the first-class marketing of the event, to the world’s best teams, to the flawless execution; the teams, athletes and spectators loved this event,” said Weiss. “In three short years, along with the host cities and corporate partners, Medalist and KOM really made this event shine internationally. As a Missouri native, I thought it was great to have a world-class event roll into town every year. I think everyone who experienced this event was very impressed. This race is the rare world-class professional sporting event that everyone could enjoy for free.”

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  • yarrrrum July 13, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Grew up in MO. Loved the bike tours between the wineries. Lots of black top and VERY few cars out in the country. No cans or bottles thrown at me, but everybody I know experienced it.

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  • stearns July 13, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    hey Brent,
    In Texas there’s a town called Anna, and they where able to prevent cycling down the major roads in their town even though state law would allow bikes to ride there.

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  • Marcus Griffith July 13, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    Gives a new meaning to the phrase: “Black Hawk Down”

    Brazil didb’t hold himself accountable when he drove a dump truck over a highs school student, so why would anyone think he would care to hold another driver accountable for killing a cyclist?

    Just a question Brazil, when you dream a night, do you hear the kid’s screams, or do you just pretend the truck noise covered it up?

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  • Roma July 13, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    “Brazil didb’t hold himself accountable when he drove a dump truck over a highs school student, so why would anyone think he would care to hold another driver accountable for killing a cyclist?

    Just a question Brazil, when you dream a night, do you hear the kid’s screams, or do you just pretend the truck noise covered it up?”

    Huh? I’m no fan of Brazil, but I think you’re making some assumptions here. What makes you think he didn’t hold himself accountable? What makes you think it didn’t affect him like it would anyone else? The article above is about him trying to clear his name when someone accused him of being drunk when it happened. Something which is totally false. Where’s your compassion?

    If you start acting like the people you despise, you’ll become them.

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  • Marcus Griffith July 13, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    My point is simple, Brazil himself should know that reckless and childish drivers–and not their victims–are responsible for their actions.

    I am no fan of reckless and childish cyclists either but the point at hand is Brazil’s flawed decision making. Now his flawed and illogical thought process raises its ugly head again, at least this time, no high schoolers are in eminent danger.

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  • Roma July 13, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    “I am no fan of reckless and childish cyclists either but the point at hand is Brazil’s flawed decision making. Now his flawed and illogical thought process raises its ugly head again, at least this time, no high schoolers are in eminent danger.”

    He himself was in high school when the accident happened. I’d venture to say that all of us did stupid shit when we were that age. It was a horrible accident, and using it to attack him seems a little malicious to me.

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  • spare_wheel July 13, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    “Where’s your compassion?”

    You confuse compassion with Arendtian banality. Anger is a *compassionate* response to those who indirectly or directly harm others.

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  • Loran July 13, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Are they going to ban farm equipment also? Many of these narrow rural roads are used by farmers moving everything from combines to over-sized irrigation trailers and they are both slow and unwieldy.

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  • Roma July 13, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    “Anger is a *compassionate* response to those who indirectly or directly harm others.”

    Based on that definition you should all be angry at the cyclists who indirectly caused harm to the woman who had to swerve her car to avoid her.

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  • K'Tesh July 13, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    Lived in St. Charles Mo. It was screwed up then… Looks like thing aren’t any different now.

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  • matt picio July 13, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    Roma, spare_wheel – “Anger” is a feeling. As such, it is neither good nor evil. Feelings just happen. They cannot be controlled, nor completely suppressed – they just are. It’s the reactions we choose to have to feelings which *are* under our control. Anger is a natural response to those who harm others, but we choose how to react to that feeling, and how it manifests in terms of action.

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  • Ryan July 13, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    One of my coworkers, a Harley Davidson enthusiast, told me that he thinks bicycles should be banned from Skyline Boulevard. I asked him why and his reasoning was much like what I’m hearing from Brazil. He said,”Well Skyline is really popular for motorcycles, you know, and it’s just not safe for you guys on that road. I get really worried for you guys when I’m riding up there. Do you know how many times I’ve almost taken out cyclists on that road, coming around corners and such? You just can’t see them until you’re right on top of them.”

    I asked him if he had considered slowing down on those corners, or if he’d considered riding somewhere else- somewhere where he wouldn’t have to worry about us poor little endangered cyclists. Of course then he went into the old rant:

    “Why the hell should WE be banned? WE’re the ones paying road taxes, they need to start taxing YOU guys!” Etc, etc…

    I get really tired of drivers trying to restrict cyclists’ rights in the name of our safety when it’s clearly only about their convenience.

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  • Jerry_W July 13, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    You’ll never convince Joe Brazil of anything positive, he sounds like a Rush devotee. Bike people in Missouri need to work HARD on other council members, as well as state reps. I bet this ban will never happen, but who knows about St Charles MO, Bush sure spent a lot of time there.

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  • 9watts July 13, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    “I get really tired of drivers trying to restrict cyclists’ rights in the name of our safety when it’s clearly only about their convenience.”

    If you believe Ivan Illich, the pursuit of speed is actually worse than a zero sum game–we all end up worse off:
    “More energy fed into the transportation system means that more people move faster over a greater range in the course of every day. Everybody’s daily radius expands at the expense of being able to drop in on an acquaintance or walk through the park on the way to work. Extremes of privilege are created at the cost of universal enslavement. The few mount their magic carpets to travel between distant points that their ephemeral presence renders both scarce and seductive, while the many are compelled to trip farther and faster and to spend more time preparing for and recovering from their trips.

    The captive tripper and the reckless traveler become equally dependent on transport. Neither can do without it. Occasional spurts to Acapulco or to a party congress dupe the ordinary passenger into believing that he has made it into the shrunk world of the powerfully rushed. The occasional chance to spend a few hours strapped into a high-powered seat makes him an accomplice in the distortion of human space, and prompts him to consent to the design of his country’s geography around vehicles rather than around people. (…)
    The habitual passenger is conscious of the exasperating time scarcity that results from daily recourse to the cars, trains, buses, subways, and elevators that force him to cover an average of twenty miles each day, frequently criss-crossing his path within a radius of less than five miles. He has been lifted off his feet. No matter if he goes by subway or jet plane, he feels slower and poorer than someone else and resents the shortcuts taken by the privileged few who can escape the frustrations of traffic. If he is cramped by the timetable of his commuter train, he dreams of a car. If he drives, exhausted by the rush hour, he envies the speed capitalist who drives against the traffic. The habitual passenger is caught at the wrong end of growing inequality, time scarcity, and personal impotence, but he can see no way out of this bind except to demand more of the same: more traffic by transport. He stands in wait for technical changes in the design of vehicles, roads, and schedules; or else he expects a revolution to produce mass rapid transport under public control. In neither case does he calculate the price of being hauled into a better future. He forgets that he is the one who will pay the bill, either in fares or in taxes. He overlooks the hidden costs of replacing private cars with equally rapid public transport.”

    more here: http://ranprieur.com/readings/illichcars.html

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  • Jerry_W July 13, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    Ryan @ 59

    You’ll hear that same tired crap everywhere. It’s coming off of rightwing talk hate radio and Fox News. Won’t change until that is all shut down.

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  • Mycle July 13, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    This just in:

    BTW – wonder if the 16 year old was wearing a seatbelt?

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  • Raleigh Rider July 13, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    No one remembers just a couple of years ago when gas cost $4 per gallon.

    I plan to steer my 1993 model bike and my tourism dollars elsewhere than Missouri.

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  • wallis July 13, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    This is great news. Let Missouri become a bad bike place. Then maybe some of those who hate bikes will move there, and the places they leave will become more bike friendly. Living in Vancouver, I would love to see some of my fellow citizens move to Missouri. If we got rid of enough of them, who knows what good things would follow.

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  • sparewheel July 13, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    “you should all be angry at the cyclists who indirectly caused harm”

    I’m confused. Could you please explain how riding a bicycle indirectly *causes* a teenager to crash an SUV.

    “Anger is a natural response to those who harm others…”
    Matt, I agree. 😉

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  • billh July 13, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    Council member Joe Brazil might appreciate a phone call . . .

    Joe Brazil’s cell # is 636-399-2975

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  • Jerry_W July 13, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    This more free publicity for a Republican hot button issue in an election year. Car drivers are lining up to vote. If the ban never happens, Brazil wins.

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  • BrentH July 13, 2010 at 8:04 pm

    FYI there is some indication the girl who was injured was speeding by quite some amount.

    I’ve ridden many miles on these type of roads and really (though the 55 mph speed limit really is often too high) therebis rarely any problem with people actually driving 55.

    However, those driving 65-75–oh, yeah.

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  • Drew July 13, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    The root of this comes from the fantasy that motorists pay for the roads.

    Of course, the roads belong to everybody. Motorists are heavily subsidized. Using a car is like being on welfare. The driver is relying on all citizens to pay his way.

    This fact is easily researched and carefully ignored by almost every media outlet. It’s huge news that a driver would rather not hear, so papers like the Oregonian dutifully avoid reporting it.

    Any road sharing argument that begins leads to the motorist demanding that the bike rider start paying for the roads.

    The motorist argues thus, displaying a profound ignorance shared by most drivers of the heavy financial burden they cause to society, which leads to a false sense of entitlement that has sent countless non-motorized road users to their grave. All you have to say is “I didn’t see him”.

    When it is suggested that bicyclists should start paying for the roads, the question must be changed to: should everybody continue to heavily subsidize motorists?

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  • Meghan H July 13, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    This is the backlash that always seems to happen anytime a minority group starts to exercise what little political power we have. Those whose reckless ability to abuse our roads and put vulnerable users at risk — up until now — are pushing back to maintain their dominance.

    We have to keep pushing for our rights. (Or, as I did, move the hell out of Missouri to somewhere with more forward-thinking elected officials.)

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  • Duncan July 13, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    Ryan (59)

    as a bicyclist and motorcyclist, I can tell you what irritates me about bicyclists on skyline (and I bike there myself too). Its when two or three bikers decide to bike abreast and chat while biking. Now I will do that plenty on a MUP or even a quiet side street in portland- but Skyline is neither. It is a through street with a lot of traffic. My closest call was when two bikers were in the oncoming lane and a car swung wide to pass both of them and nearly hit me while I was in my own lane, doing the speed limit. As far to the right as possible and you will make the road safer for everyone…. thanks

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  • Bill July 13, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    Duncan #69,
    I dont care for riders riding two/three abreast in most cases. However, your paragraph seems to be putting the blame for the near miss on the cyclists rather than the driver who obviously didnt have enough sight line to be pulling off the pass.
    again, this comes down to speed and the willingness to make very risky maneuvers for small conveniences.

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  • Bill July 13, 2010 at 10:25 pm

    sorry, I meant Duncan #72

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  • wsbob July 13, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    Skyline’s been a great road to ride a bike for many years… not a lot of traffic, quiet, beautiful scenery and vistas onto the valley below. Two riders abreast shouldn’t be a big deal. Pull up and pace behind them until they hear you…which under some conditions can take awhile…and have room for one or the other to fall back single file and they probably will.

    Too much new housing has been allowed to build adjoining Skyline, resulting in a greater volume of motor vehicle traffic on the road. The loss of this road’s functionality for recreational riding, through excessive motor vehicle use is going to be a big one.

    Crotchrocket club riders, and occasionally the slower, more easy going Harley riders also like Skyline’s serpentine curves, the former to test their bikes performance limits.

    Too much increased demand for limited space on the roads due to population growth and old urban planning methodology is probably part of what’s made people like St. Charles County councilman Brazil feel they should introduce the idea of a bike ban on some roads.

    People interested in preserving access for bikes to roads in this situation can object, but ways still need to be determined to deal with the increased demand on roads that prompts people to call for banning bikes on them.

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  • resopmok July 13, 2010 at 11:32 pm

    Actually, what I could gather from looking at budget allocation numbers, the majority of money that funds roads does in fact come from gas taxes, vehicle weight taxes, and licensing and registration fees. Vehicles “subsidize” the road in this regard, but the real truth of argument lies one step back from the picture. I think there are a few good, strong points in the argument which do stand up.

    First, most bicyclists also own cars, and therefore pay for expenses related to them, including gas taxes and fees. Second, we do not get to pick and choose which taxes we pay and how they are spent, necessarily. For example, as a single homeowner, I pay property taxes to support schools for other people’s children (since I have none of my own). Also, to the federal government I pay into a social security program from which it is unlikely I will ever see a real benefit. Third, federal subsidies of oil companies artificially lower the price of gas to make drivers’ transportation costs lower (paid for by income tax). Lastly, bicycles do little if any damage to the roads that need to be repaired, and if anything the taxes on freight should be a good bit higher in proportion to gas in order to reflect the maintenance needs. Of course, that would be “bad for business.”

    We live in a free society where people are allowed to freely choose their modes of transportation. For all the right-wingers like Joe Brazil, I say: if you don’t like freedom, move to China.

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  • encephalopath July 13, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    No, Skyline is not the place to test the performance of a motorcycle. There is simply too much traffic and too many driveways around blind corners.

    I would have to take those corners at 70 mph to test the limits of my SV. There is no way doing that would be reasonable.

    Go to a river canyon in Eastern Oregon to do that kind of thing… or better yet a trackday at PIR.

    If you can’t safely pass a bicycle on your motorcycle on Skyline, you’re doing it wrong.

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  • Duncan July 13, 2010 at 11:37 pm


    yes two bikes abreast IS a problem to people who are abiding by the speed limit… and they dont pull over when they hear me- and my bike is plenty loud. They can hear it.

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  • 151 July 14, 2010 at 12:21 am

    Duncan, you’re misplacing the blame for your near miss on the cyclists. It is in fact the motorist who made a dangerous and illegal pass, which potentially threatened your life.

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  • Dennis McGlasson July 14, 2010 at 4:19 am

    What’s frustrating about this is the Missouri Highway Patrol crash report website, and the Shoulders for Safety website, list about 15-20 accidents on the roads in question, back to 2009. NOT ONE OF THEM INVOLVED CYCLISTS. Deer, too fast on corners, stopped vehicles, leaving roadway yes. Cyclists no. The solution is NOT to ban cyclists (you’d also have to ban tractors, combines, pedestrians, deer, dogs), but to reduce the speed limit and improve sight lines. This ban will impact the Adventure Cycling Great Rivers and Lewis and CLark Trails, and the (not Adv Cycling) Mississippi River Trail. What’s sad, is the media attention this is getting will probably induce ehundreds of other counties to try the same thing… snowball effect could be devastating for cycling.

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  • Drew July 14, 2010 at 7:05 am

    “Actually, what I could gather from looking at budget allocation numbers, the majority of money that funds roads does in fact come from gas taxes, vehicle weight taxes, and licensing and registration fees. Vehicles “subsidize” the road in this regard, but the real truth of argument lies one step back from the picture. I think there are a few good, strong points in the argument which do stand up.”

    Resopmok #74, I would point out that motorists pay a little and get a lot.

    In other words, they are heavily subsidized by everyone.

    Once I become defensive about what I contribute as a driver to the roads, I loose the argument and the point. I drive as well as bike, but that in no way makes my presence on the road on a bike more legitimate.

    When I drive I rely on non-drivers and future generations to pay my way and clean up the mess.

    Many bike riders are eager to pronounce themselves guilty as charged for not “paying for the roads” while drivers suck big financial resources from the public at large.

    May I suggest you begin your next paying for the road argument with “should everyone continue to heavily subsidize motorists?”

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  • Pete July 14, 2010 at 7:43 am

    ‘Senator’ Joe Brazil… that’s the thing that scares me most after reading all this.

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  • Rob July 14, 2010 at 8:25 am

    I live in Saint Louis City and frequently ride out in St Charles county along some of the routes mentioned for the ban. While hwy 94 is a little scary, the other roads included have some of the best cycling to be found (think undulating hills, 16 percent grades, and little traffic). St Charlese is the pinnicle of white flight and autocentric cookie cutter suburbia. People have little else to do here except complain and tea bag. The city and St. Charles have been at odds for some time regarding many issues such as using our parks for free, voting down public transit for the region twice, eroding our tax base, all while doing a standup job of complaining about how terrible the city is while abusing our assets. Having spent some time in Portland and seeing your wonderful cycling culture first hand, i am sure many of you are outraged about this ban. In the city of St. Louis, we are working tirelessly to promote cycling through some excellent advocacy groups such as Trailnet http://www.trailnet.org and Great Rivers Greenway – http://www.greatrivers.info/. I am proud to be working on opening a commuter station for cyclists in downtown St. Louis, and i think this region has the potential to become an excellent place for cycling. Idiots like Brazil, thankfully, are not in the majority, as a lot of people are out riding regularly. Having the Tour of Missouri this past couple of years has been a great showcase to the state’s excellent cycling, and for the most part drivers and cyclist get along well. If anyone is in the city, i would be glad to dispell some of the myths about backwards Mo. St Charles county, however… i dont know. Great Blog Mr Maus, I wear my bike portland tshirt with pride in the stl!

    As i am writing it appears the state DOT is upholding the proposed ban calling it illegal and not under the jurisdiction of St. Charles county.

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  • 9watts July 14, 2010 at 8:52 am

    Duncan @ 76
    “yes two bikes abreast IS a problem to people who are abiding by the speed limit… and they dont pull over when they hear me- and my bike is plenty loud. They can hear it.”

    That habit of fiddling with the muffler to make motorcycles extra loud is obnoxious. Maybe the cyclists didn’t appreciate your attempt to scare them off the road with your decibels? I know I wouldn’t appreciate that kind of auditory harassment. Your description reminds me of what it is like for most everyone on the German Autobahn. The folks with the super fast cars act as if they owned the left lane and do the kinds of things you apparently do on Skyline to make lesser folks skedaddle. It is dangerous, unpleasant for everyone but the fastest, and, given what has been said about population growth up there, probably ill-advised.

    For that matter, ‘abiding by the speed limit’ doesn’t mean treating the speed limit as a minimum. Many folks make that mistake. It is a limit. Many circumstances require speeds slower than the limit. In fact I would be tempted to say most. It is a limit.

    What I don’t understand is the sense of entitlement folks who are fast exhibit vis-a-vis others who are less fast. You who are fast don’t own the road. It’s a shared thing. The slower folks aren’t in your way; they’re just slower. They may have their reasons for being slower and in general we’re all going to have to learn to go slower in the future when we can’t afford the oil anymore.

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  • wsbob July 14, 2010 at 9:11 am

    Duncan …aside from your bike being loud, which I don’t doubt, because plenty of them are, how are you knowing that they can hear it? Are you seeing them turn their heads to acknowledge your presence, but not falling back single file? That of course, isn’t reasonable or a fair use of the road.

    Under certain circumstances, even ordinarily very loud vehicles aren’t always easy to be heard. A loud vehicle approaching cyclists from the rear in a situation where the wind is blowing against them is one example. That wind can blow most of the sound from a loud vehicle away from the cyclists, so that they can’t hear the vehicle until it gets maybe a car length or two away.

    You can probably hear the sound of your own bike at all times, but other road users may not, until you’re fairly close to them.

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  • resopmok July 14, 2010 at 9:17 am


    “The root of this comes from the fantasy that motorists pay for the roads.”

    We’re straying off topic from Brazil, but the points are important so it’s worth discussing. If we are to enter debates in the public arena about this topic, it’s important to be armed with the facts and correct positions. I agree largely with your conclusion, however, my point is that the roads themselves are in fact paid for through taxes which are expenses largely to motor vehicle operators – you can review my source information at:

    http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/COMM/docs/BudgetBooklet_09-11.pdf?ga=t and


    There are many additional costs to having a society which is addicted to driving – financially, environmentally and economically – which are essentially subsidized in a way that makes driving affordable for most people. There is much weight in those arguments as well, but it isn’t a fantasy that motorists pay for the roads. They do.

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  • Mike Shea July 14, 2010 at 9:24 am

    If the police told me that I could not ride my bicycle I would thank them, dismount and calmly walk with my bike at my side down the middle of the street.

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  • chris c July 14, 2010 at 9:56 am

    I live in the City of St. Louis, of which St. Charles is a suburb. For the very reasons the Councilman points out I would never ride on the rural roads of St. Charles County; for me it is not fun or enjoyable riding on a road with no shoulder, wondering when the next speeding car is going to pass by, but this is my “personal choice” and shouldn’t be mandated as a matter of policy. It seems like an infrastructure issue as much as anything. The roads are inadequate, and should be improved. Roads with broad shoulders are good for a number of reasons besides accommodating bicyclists, such as a safe pull-off area for motorists with disabled vehicles, pedestrians, etc.

    For better or for worse, St. Charles County is a sprawling suburb that simply can’t function without cars. Aside from abandoning them, which isn’t going to happen, such communities have real challenges in the future for transportation, when petroleum becomes scarcer and more expensive.

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  • Brent July 14, 2010 at 10:26 am

    @resopmok: Thanks for the links. These stats are sometimes hard to come by. However, I’m not sure that they settle the matter in favor of motorists. The first link, for instance, says that ODOT’s biggest revenue source is state gas tax and licensing revenue, but lists it at just 43 percent of the budget. The second largest source, at around 21 percent, is state revenue bonds. If we stopped there, we’d probably have a good case that bicyclists carry their share, as revenue bonds are generally paid for by the taxpayers at large, of whom bicyclists compose a representative portion, and use an unrepresentative portion of the road. The further revenue sources listed also seem to support the bicyclists’ argument: money from the lottery and the general fund comes from the general population. Finally, the federal portion is sourced at least in part from non-vehicle taxes.

    That said, I think the fuel tax argument against bicycles will become less interesting as electric cars take to the roads over the next few years. Although … we’ll probably just replace it with some argument over whether bicyclists pay their fair share of whatever use tax we invent then.

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  • billh July 14, 2010 at 10:29 am

    here’s the type of guy we are dealing with in Councilman Brazil. Please pray for us!

    “What could be driving this for Brazil? Last month he sponsored a bill endorsing Arizona’s ‘immigration’ law which passed 6-1. They also passed a law against boom boxes, but exempted golf courses! Before that, Brazil sponsored a bill to ‘opt out’ of health care reform. Before that, he was ready to introduce a bill to support Rush Limbuagh’s purchase of the Ram’s. He served as the organizer of a ‘tea-party’ event in SCC.”

    billh, St Louis, MO

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  • Andrew July 14, 2010 at 10:52 am

    I hear a lot of people here talking about county roads. There are no county roads in this proposal. Highways DD, D, F, Z & 94 are all state highways. Most lettered roads used to be county roads but were acquired by the state in the 30’s or 40’s for the “let’s get Missouri out of the mud” paved road campaign.

    I’m very happy MoDOT is asserting it’s place as the responsible agency for these roads and letting St. Chuck county know they won’t cooperate with this extreme and unjustified measure.

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  • Nono July 14, 2010 at 11:04 am

    Was that 16 year old girl facebooking on her phone when it happened? Maybe she should be riding a bike instead.

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  • Drew July 14, 2010 at 11:30 am

    “There is much weight in those arguments as well, but it isn’t a fantasy that motorists pay for the roads. They do.”

    When I was studying the matter, gas taxes, registration fees etc, pay for about half the upkeep. In other words, they pay for roughly half the car related damage and infrastructure. Yes, motorists pay for part of the tab for their motoring needs, and they stick the public at large for the rest of it. Motorists are subsidized. To me, that is not “paying for the road”(a strange choice of wording since roads belong to the public anyways). We don’t even need to list all the other hidden costs associated with driving.

    A bit off topic, yes, but it is this rampant sense of entitlement among most drivers that generates support to the argument of banning bikes from the road.

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  • John July 14, 2010 at 11:31 am

    I’m worried this is part of the larger trend of literally anything being game for nonsensical political theater. There’s no reason people of different political persuasions or lifestyles need to posture “against” bicycling.

    It’s as ludicrous as taking a stand against science, or air quality, or… oh wait.

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  • dan July 14, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    Sounds to me that the real problem here is that the girl ran off the road and hit a tree. Problem solved – cut down all the trees!

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  • spare_wheel July 14, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    “I’m worried this is part of the larger trend of literally anything being game for nonsensical political theater.”

    If you haven’t noticed that the reality-challenged crowd has fixated on cyclists you’ve not been paying attention. Cyclists are a terrific wedge issue. They are small minority that inconveniences (and disturbs) the car-addicted majority.

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  • Paul Tay July 14, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    Bicyclists: N*gg*rs of the roadway. Jim Crow for cyclists.

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  • Duncan July 14, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    Ok… first…

    The muffler on my bike is street legal and NHTSA approved. its runs 60Db @ 6 feet. Motorcycles run loud, but it isnt ilegaly so.

    Did I mention I had a sport bike? No, in fact I have a classic motorcycle… It handles like… well a classic motorcycle. If you ride you understand. So my speeding isnt an issue.

    And yes I can pass one bike. I keep a fairly wide area to my right clear as I go around corners in case someone is biking in the curve. Remember I bicycle Skyline too, I know what it is like. But no I have no way of predicting when I am going to come around a corner and see two or three bikes riding up the hill at 7MPH abreast chatting. SO when someone is biking FAR BELOW the speed limit, they run put me in danger forcing me into an emergency stop, and secondly because I am then in danger of getting hit from behind by some car (cars dont see motorcycles either). Yes that would be the drivers fault, but wouldnt it be easier if the bicyclists would FOLLOW EXISTING LAWS AND ACCEPTED PRACTICES OF STAYING AS FAR TO THE RIGHT AS IS SAFE?

    And there is no reason on skyline where you will need to take the lane to be safe unless you are approaching the speed limit, in which case take the lane and have fun, but when you (or I) are struggling up some hill in Granny gear what makes you think its OK to break the law?

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  • 151 July 14, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    I just don’t see how it’s bicycles that are the issue. If it were a slow moving car, or truck, or a kid in the street you’d have to slam on your brakes or swerve or do whatever else to avoid hitting something that surprised you coming out of a corner. The solution is obvious–the speed limit is currently too high for conditions, and needs to be reduced.

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  • are July 14, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    what if it was a fallen tree branch or an animal or a stalled car or someone exercising poor judgment coming the other way in the wrong lane. maybe you need to slow down when you are approaching a blind curve or crest. duh.

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  • Helen McConnell July 14, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    Hand-wringing and name-calling is useless. Take some action folks, or live to regret not doing so. When this story first broke a while back, I emailed the City Manager of Black Hawk,Michael Kopp, and encouraged everyone I know to do the same. He can brush us off, but at some point, critical mass might get his attention. The point is to get people – all people – into solution mode and away from “us-against-them” mode. You’ve got to give people a reason to be friendly to bikes. And it usually comes down to money. In what way could the town of Black Hawk BENEFIT from allowing bikes on that stretch of highway?
    Let them know we’re watching. I’ll even make it easy for you: MCopp@CityofBlackHawk.org

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  • Duncan July 14, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    So its OK for the bicyclists to break the law and ride unsafely, and everyone else has to pick up the slack.

    And you wonder why folks hate bicyclists- I bike and I hate people that bike like that.

    Should your vehicle be a hazard to other users equal to a limb in the road- NO!

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  • 9watts July 14, 2010 at 1:31 pm


    what is the law that cyclists are breaking to which you allude? Since it is legal to take the road, are you implying that riding slowly is breaking the law? Are we back to the speed limit (which many who know Skyline better than I do have suggested may be too high given the circumstances) as speed minimum issue?

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  • Paul Tay July 14, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    #101, Helen, help me understand why bicyclists have to economically justify our right to the road. We’ve already paid for it, right?

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  • are July 14, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    three abreast would be a violation under 814.430(2)(e), but i have an idea duncan’s gripe would extend to two abreast, which is permitted so long as it “does not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.”

    until some hotrodder pops up over the hill behind you with his 60db muffler (legal but maybe a bit antisocial), there is no traffic to impede.

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  • Paul Tay July 14, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    If bicycles are defined as vehicles, and traffic defined as the movement of vehicles, define “normal and reasonable movement of traffic.”

    Trotwood v. Seltz: Bikes don’t “impede” traffic. Bikes ARE traffic, legal at ANY speed.

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  • dan July 14, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    I’m not a motorcyclist, and I bike Skyline all the time. I have to agree with Duncan here; riding 2 abreast there is unnecessary and creates a hazard to other road users. There are other roads where we can ride side by side and chat — roads with shoulders.

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  • Duncan July 14, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    thanks dan…

    and as I are… had you read my post you would see that I am not a hotrodder. And the legal limit for a muffler is somewhere around 97Db. Its an old bike, things were different then.

    Paul, bikes are vehicles, but ones that operate under special rules. Dont play stupid. They cannot maintain the same speeds as vehicles, and their speeds vary depending on the terrain. On a bike you can choose to take the lane or filter forward at a light- on a motorcycle you don’t. You stay in the lane. That is just one example. If you expect vehicles to operate with the existing laws, then you should do the same. If other road users are constantly slamming on the brakes and slowing down for you, you are impeding them- and unless you have a safety reason for doing so, then you are violating the same set of laws you hold other road users accountable to. Share the road means share not take over and make everyone go the speed of your bike. There is plenty of room on skyline is everyone plays their part.

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  • BURR July 14, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    In California filtering forward on a motorbike is legal, as it is in Paris, Barcelona and many other European cities.

    Point to remember – impeding traffic laws actually do not apply to pedal cyclists.

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  • wsbob July 14, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    As I said back in post #75, Skyline’s a scenic route. It’s one of the singular scenic routes near Portland and Beaverton. Fairmount Blvd around Council Crest is faster, but it’s also a scenic route.

    Anyone that lives near, drives on or rides on either of these two roads more than once probably is aware of their distinction as scenic routes and frequency of use by recreational road users, including people on bikes. It’s tradition, or at least a given that people driving these roads need be on special lookout for people on bikes.

    This is especially evident on Fairmount Blvd. Most drivers on that road accept that they will encounter people on bikes, runners, walkers, dog walkers, etc. etc.

    I would not say two abreast is proper as standard procedure on these roads, but occasionally, if there isn’t a lot of traffic on road, it can be o.k. for a few minutes. At 7mph as Duncan mentions? No. That’s only twice walking speed. Almost might as well get off the bikes and talk by the side of the road or at the Skyline Tavern. 15-20mph? Probably yes, for a few minutes, but like I also said earlier…always listening and looking back for cars and being prepared to fall back into single file.

    I don’t know particularly why St. Charles County councilman Brazil thinks thinks a bike ban on certain roads in that county is a necessary proposal. Not as easy for me to say, as it seems to be for some people.

    Politicians can be funny guys. Often can’t tell right off why they say and do what they do. Maybe his constituents have been complaining about bikes on the road, and this is what he thinks he’s got to do to hold on the the chair. It may just blow over…no ban…and he’ll still have proven to them that he’s their man. Whoo-hoo!

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  • wsbob July 14, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    ‘scuse me…meant to say Skyline is faster than Fairmount … .

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  • Eric B. July 14, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    Check out the Facebook page opposing the St. Charles bike ban. Banning bicycles no matter how small-scale sets a terrible precedent. Please join in the fight against this type of anti-bike policy so it doesn’t happen in St. Charles County or anywhere else in the U.S.


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  • Red Five July 14, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    Oh please. Does it always have to turn into a retard “blame the Repubs” rant? Besides, what are ya all worried about? That crap would never fly here anyway.

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  • Jack July 15, 2010 at 6:18 am

    Great to have more like you to the StL region but local attitudes and the local advocates linked are nothing like those in Portland. Of course there is a great opportunity in the StL region to make it BFC but it is not happening. The GRG is funding disconnected trails to nowhere and local attitudes continue to fight against trails through their neighborhoods. One of the main problems is the unwillingness for the leaders of this advocate organizations to promote change especially when it is politically unpopular.

    The result? Myopic politicians like Brazil dominate a region ruled by small town mentalities. I have numerous emails with bike advocate leaders which make this obvious. Great that the City passes Complete Street legislation but MoDOT remains against it.

    Opportunities to educate, improve local infrastructure and create BFCs presented by sponsoring ToM are ruined by like minded leadership. People like Brazil are quite common in the region and that is why his kind of leadership dominates the region (and state).

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  • Merckxrider July 15, 2010 at 7:22 am

    Joe Brazil’s kind of thinking is why the USA needs and deserves to suffer a humiliating, catastrophic military defeat in our Mideastern oil wars.
    Our car culture needs to be cracked over the head hard enough to kill it off entirely.

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  • Seth Alford July 15, 2010 at 8:06 am

    Re Red Five @ 112: “…never fly here anyway.” No, it wouldn’t fly in Portland, But I could easily imagine it being an attractive proposal for town councils, or even county commissions, for rural counties outside of Portland. Think Corbett, for example.

    Re the action alert on the MoBikeFed web page in the article, above: it links to a League of American Bicyclists form letter. Before you take the time to customize the form letter, however, be aware that (at least as of 7:45AM PDT on 7/15/10) the LAB web page only lets you send the letter if you have a Missouri zip code.

    I wrote the MoBikeFed director letting him/her know about the form letter restriction. His/her email is at the bottom of the alert link in Jonathan’s article, above.

    I also asked that MoBikeFed not let this precedent happen because it will inspire other communities to do the same, here in Oregon.

    I suggested that MoBikeFed needs to have their lawyer write a letter to the St. Charles County notifying them of their intent to sue if the proposal passes. Their lawyer also needs to show up at the hearing next month, perhaps to testify, but definitely to sit in the front row of the audience. That lawyer should wear a nice, expensive suit, and glower at the councillors. The message that the lawyer’s presence should project is, “if you want to mess with us, go ahead. We will sue you into submission.”

    I also suggested that MoBikeFed needs to take a page from the NRA’s playbook. When a politician crosses bicyclists, the politician should expect a well funded opposition candidate at the next election. Within the limits of their tax exempt status (if any) MoBikeFed needs to publicize when Mr. Brazil’s term is up and to encourage someone to start running against him, now.

    One thing I did not include in my email to the MoBikeFed directory is that the “we paid for that bicycle trail, let them use it” meme is yet another reason why grade separated bicycle infrastructure is a bad idea, and leads to policies which bans bicycles from using the road. I saw this in action on the last STP that I did in 2007, where the Tenino, Washington, police directed the STP riders onto the grade separated trail and off of the public street. This is also why the BTA’s enthusiasm for grade separated bike infrastructure is, IMHO, misguided. (For the benefit of the readers from Missouri, STP is the Seattle to Portland bicycle ride. The BTA is the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, our local bicycle education organization.)

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  • Patrick July 15, 2010 at 8:08 am

    Wouldn’t it be simpler to reduce the speed limit and post caution signs warning drivers of cyclists? The Katy trail has been established there for a while. Drivers should be aware that cyclists are likely to be in the area.

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  • Stochelo July 15, 2010 at 8:16 am

    Seth Alford, have you suggested the NRA approach to the League of American Bicyclists. The gun folk have a playbook that wins games–we should be using it!

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  • Jerry_W July 15, 2010 at 9:08 am

    Red Five @113

    “Oh please. Does it always have to turn into a retard “blame the Repubs” rant?”

    So we should blame democrats for the actions of Republicans? Brazil and the others on the SCC board are Republicans, Rush Limbaugh is a Republican, right-wing hate radio supports Republican issues, exclusively, who should we blame? This is the same crap that Bush conservatives cry when accountability for the financial crash is discussed, “Oh don’t blame Bush”.
    Man up Red Five, look at the facts.

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  • are July 15, 2010 at 9:09 am

    re comment 116. mobikefed has accomplished a lot over the years, and brent hugh is a great guy, but the phrase “their lawyer” assumes something that just is not there. bike/ped advocacy in missouri still has a long way to go before it can become complacent . . .

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  • El Biciclero July 15, 2010 at 10:33 am

    “So we should blame democrats for the actions of Republicans? Brazil and the others on the SCC board are Republicans, Rush Limbaugh is a Republican, right-wing hate radio supports Republican issues, exclusively, who should we blame?”

    We should blame namby-pamby politicians who pander to the change-o-phobic LCD of their constituencies.

    As for this Republican, I’ll be continuing to commute by bike most every day, attempting to be an assertive, yet cooperative road-sharing citizen.

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  • Jerry_W July 15, 2010 at 10:42 am

    We should blame namby-pamby politicians who pander to the change-o-phobic LCD of their constituencies.

    Can anyone translate this into a coherent statement?

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  • jim July 15, 2010 at 11:25 am

    No brainer-
    The road is too dangerous for bikes= No bikes

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  • matt picio July 15, 2010 at 11:31 am

    Marcus (#52) – Amen, and really where does the burden lie? A kid with a BB gun is potentially dangerous, but rarely deadly. A kid with a bear rifle is potentially deadly. Cars are the bear rifle. Unfortunately, like the bear rifle, the right to own and operate a motor vehicle is regarded as sacrosanct and unassailable – mess with those, and you get “Why do you hate America?” thrown at you. Individual rights only have value when tempered by individual responsibility. We’ve become a nation of priviliged and entitled people who refuse to take personal responsibility.

    9watts (#61) – Ivan Illich is the most underrated genius of our time.

    Raleigh Rider (#64) – They’ll remember again within the next 24 months when it happens again.

    Bill (#73) – Valid point, but both are responsible. Skyline is a single-lane, high-traffic road. Cyclists are permitted to ride 2 abreast if it’s safe to do so. I would argue that Skyline is not safe to do so. (at least, not until north of Germantown Road) If I were on a hypothetical jury, I’d argue the bulk of the responsibility lies with the passer, but 2 wrongs don’t make a right.

    Dennis (#80) – Maybe the county/state should ban deer. 😉

    dan (#95) – Missouri tried that (so did my original home state of Michigan), darn things keep growing back.

    Duncan (#98) – you mean your SPEED isn’t the issue, right? ‘Cause speeding is always an issue, no matter what you’re driving/riding.

    Also, there are plenty of reasons to take the lane on skyline in spots, like enhanced visibility – many areas on that road are not safe for passing, even with a motorbike passing a bicycle.

    and (#102) – all vehicles are a potential hazard like a limb in the road. If you can’t stop for or avoid anything stopped in the road, then you are driving too fast for conditions and violating the basic speed law. Period.

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  • wsbob July 15, 2010 at 11:40 am

    The story from stltoday.com that maus provided the link to above in the “Update”, is good. Brazil is confident and determined:

    “…Brazil said if the state prevailed in a court fight, another option would be to try to get the Legislature to allow bicycle bans. …” MoDOT says St. Charles County can’t ban bikes from state roads/stltodady.com

    Would Missouri would pass any such legislature? Doesn’t seem likely, considering Missouri’s a bellwether state in elections, which to me means roughly, ‘not that conservative’. I wouldn’t think Missourians as a whole would be quite so easily inclined to give up their full access to the states roads.

    Kind of funny…Missouri’s governor is a democrat Nixon.

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  • El Biciclero July 15, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    jim– “No brainer-
    The road is too dangerous for bikes= No bikes”

    I noted that in the article, the only person injured on this road was the 16-year-old driver of an SUV. Therefore, the road actually appears to be too dangerous for SUVs. Does your “no-brainer” equation translate into “the road is too dangerous for SUVs = No SUVs”?

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  • matt picio July 15, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    El Biciclero (#126) – Exactly. “The road is too dangerous for X” means “make the road safer for X”, NOT “prohibit X from using the road”. Roads are a public resource, shutting out a particular well-established user group is not an acceptable option.

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  • El Biciclero July 15, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    “‘We should blame namby-pamby politicians who pander to the change-o-phobic LCD of their constituencies.’

    Can anyone translate this into a coherent statement?” — Jerry_W

    Sure, Jer. ANY politician, regardless of party affiliation, who “takes a stand” based on the Lowest Common Denominator (“LCD”–sorry, that’s a math acronym) of uninformed opinion among his/her constituents (those are the people politicians represent), rather than on common-sense–or better yet, constitutional/legal–principles of justice, is a namby-pamby (that’s an old-school term for “wishy-washy”, or “spineless”) panderer who is bound to push for nonsense regulations.

    My guess is that if I had used “Republicans” instead of “politicians”, and identified myself as a “Democrat”, you might have been able to parse my original statement. I was attempting to leave unproductive “partisan bickering” out of my comment.

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  • Jerry_W July 15, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    Much better, now I understand your point, thanks.

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  • Jerry_W July 15, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    I guess I see this as nothing more than a partisan election year issue by that side. That is what this whole issue is about, appearance to the voters (via a media and PR campaign that seems to be working) that their side is anti-bikes, while saying it’s a safety issue for drivers to soften it a bit. Showing how tough they are, how much they are protecting your freedom.
    It is a dangerous tactic, not just for that part of Missouri, but for all of us since it’s the national right-wing media pushing this as an issue.

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  • Ryan July 15, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    To steal from the old anti-gun-control lobby, Missouri cyclists should make shirts and stickers that say:

    “If they outlaw bikes only outlaws will ride bikes.”

    I’d wear one.

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  • Sean July 15, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    If the roads are really unsafe for mixed-use at this speed differential, then lower the speed limit! If, as the video indicates, these highways are the only real connectors, this is the only safe and sane option.

    (Not a bicyclist – I’m a pedestrian/transit commuter, and occasionally drive a car on weekends).

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  • Duncan July 15, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    no I said my SPEEDING wasnt an issue, the previous poster was talking about motorcycling at high speeds (as some do). I was pointing out that I was not speeding. Dont put words in my mouth, it is unsanitary and we haven’t been on a date yet.

    Second- Maybe you think its ok to take your bike and lay out in the road like a tree limb, but I (and most people do not) whether I am in a car, motorcycle or bike, if I am going much slower (like say 1/4 to 1/5th) the speed of traffic I get out of traffics way.

    You say that impeding traffic laws dont apply to bikes, yet ignore the law that bikes ride “as far to the right as practicable” and that bikes may ride two abreast when it is safe to do so. Clinton St= safe, Skyline /= safe. Like I said I am more likely to cut a biker slack then most people, but the weekend warriors on skyline do things which endanger people’s lives, and restrict their ability to enjoy the road within the legal limits of same.

    So if you can irritate, piss off and otherwise rub me (a bicyclist) the wrong way, what do you think you are doing for the non biking public? How do you think making traffic slow to 7 (yes 7, I watched my speedometer) miles per hour so you can chat with your buddy. What if you were bombing down a hill and two cars slowed you down because they were chatting? (ok it is far fetched… use your imagination) it is the unbridled sense of entitlement of some in this community that pisses people off, just as it is Brazils sense of vehicular entitlement that pisses you off. It is just that many of you are so self absorbed that you cant see it.

    Share the road. The life you save may be your own, or mine… or another person’s. OK?

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  • Velophile in Exile July 16, 2010 at 8:58 am

    Duncan, people in this community have a “sense of entitlement” because we have a legal, social, and ethical entitlement — yes, entitlement — to use the public roads. We all do. But we are the only group of road users who regularly faces ignorant people such as yourselves who do not understand the law and who question our right to use the roads. And that tends to piss off people like me who pay thousands of dollars a year to maintain those roads.

    Bikes have a right to be on the road, and bikes are far slower on motor vehicles, as you and your ilk point out ad nauseum.

    Part of the reality of sharing the road with others who have an equal entitlement to be there is that the slower vehicles will sometimes inconvenience the faster ones. That’s just the bottom line of sharing the roads with bikes.

    You being inconvenienced does not entitle you to endanger another person’s safety.

    You being slowed down by people legitimately using the roads does not create a safety risk. The safety risk is created by those who are not themselves operating their own vehicles with due care. Those are the people you need to be talking to if your real concern is safety.

    Think about it: Speeding is ubiquitous on the roads. It is the #1 cause of collisions. It is exclusively the providence of motor vehicle operators. And it is highly hypocritical for people who speed all the damn time — and we know you do, don’t try to lie — to complain about other people using the road.

    And yes, a lot of what you are complaining about is completely legal and safe — unless other people are being unsafe. And it would be grossly unfair to restrict bicyclists’s rights because other people cannot take the trouble to operate their own vehicles safely.

    I recommend you go read the Oregon Vehicle Code. You clearly are ignorant of many of the rules that apply to bikes. It’s ORS Chapter 814. What you will find, for example, is that it is legal for a bicyclist to “take the lane” (not stay to the right) whenever it is hazardous to do so. There is a lot of crap left on the sides of roads, most of it from motor vehicles, and you as a motorcyclist or car driver often cannot see the hazards that we have to take the lane to avoid.

    So, next time someone is taking the lane, cut him/her some slack. S/he is not doing it to piss you off, but to be safe. Slow down, obey the speed limit and other rules, and then everyone can get where they are going alive.

    And, please, stop whining on bikeportland. We are not going anywhere, and we are not going to be giving up our rights any time soon, either.

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  • Joe July 16, 2010 at 9:20 am

    Takes one bad apple then we have ” copy cats ” following them. crazy to ban bikes
    why not just make roads safer? hmmmm

    remind me of HYW 26 aka sunset hwy, tour biker in tunnel with lights on car freaks and lays horn on him sad since he knew just needed to get past it. why couldnt the car just slow down and wait 2 secs?

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  • Joe July 16, 2010 at 9:22 am

    #131 RIGHT ON.. like it 🙂

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  • jim July 16, 2010 at 11:43 am

    El- bicyclero #26
    how many cyclists are killed on I-5 ?
    I can’t remember any, it dosen’t mean bikes should be allowed on I-5

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  • El Biciclero July 16, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    What are you talking about, jim? Bikes are already allowed on I-5 in limited areas, such as to allow crossing of the Boone Bridge, so what do mean “should we allow…”? Plus, you are stating the inverse of your original premise, which is not logically equivalent to the original, so you are talking about something different. Regardless, all I am asking you to do is apply the same (not inverse) logic across the board, not in a biased-against-bike-usage way.

    Originally, you essentially said “if danger exists for X in location Y, then we should ban X from location Y”. I only pointed out that the danger appeared to be to SUV drivers, based on the evidence pointed to by Brazil (the 16-yo girl with the stitched-up face), and asked whether your same logic applied across the board to all X.

    Here’s another example: people die in crosswalks all the time, does that mean we should ban pedestrians from crosswalks?

    Kids break their arms on playgrounds occasionally; should we ban children from playgrounds?

    If you want to talk about I-5, how about this: plenty of people die on I-5 with no bikes in sight–who’s to blame for that? Since cars crash on I-5 all the time, it is obvious that danger exists for cars on I-5. should we ban cars from I-5?

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  • matt picio July 16, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    Duncan (#133) – I didn’t put words in your mouth, your meaning was unclear – it sounded like you were saying that you were speeding but that it was not an issue. Classic bikes can speed as easily as sport bikes, and the limit on Skyline is less than 45mph. You’re putting words in my mouth in your second paragraph – I never advocated that at all. I also never said impeding traffic laws don’t apply to bikes – please read my post again.

    I am also a cyclist and have been car-free for 3 years. You *can* pass safely at many points on skyline, but not all of them – safe passing distance on that road is roughly 6′ from the cyclist. If he is 2′ inside the fog line, that puts your position at least 8′ from the fog line. On some curves, that may be too far into the roadway to take the curve safely at the speed limit.

    I hear your beef about certain cyclists, but I can assure you I am not one of them – I ride single file on roads like Skyline, and if others try to ride alongside me I speed up or fall back to maintain single file. I get as far right as is safe, and some folks on this list believe that I get too far right in many cases. The only sense of “entitlement” that I have is that I have a right to equal access to the roads – and I don’t believe that’s unreasonable. Also, the convenience of motorists does not trump the safety of cyclists, pedestrians, or equestrians. Nor does it trump their right to equal access.

    Share the road means exactly that, SHARE. That means everyone takes other traffic into consideration and behaves accordingly. Too often, people of every mode sacrifice decency in order to get themselves a better position on the road rather than taking into account the safety and access rights of others.

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  • Vance Longwell July 16, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Haha. ViE #134 – Oh the irony. Uh, dude, please point to your right to access public highways in Oregon. You are clearly confusing a personal freedom with a right. You, nor I, nor Duncan possesses a right to use the roads, man. Not one, single, person anywhere in the entire U.S. has the right to access our roads. Driving is a privilege, remember? If you had a right to use the road, you’d have a right to a Driver License, and you don’t. If you had a right to the road, you’d have a right to be provided a vehicle. You absolutely have no such rights, and it is for these reasons that you do not.

    You, and Maus, and the other law-challenged nit-wits out there, feel free to run your little affirmative defense plan by a judge. Go ahead. I dare you. Seriously. Get cited for impeding traffic, or failure to yield to faster traffic, or any one of a dozen violations you commit by riding down the middle of the road for no reason on your bicycle. Then, pretty please, defend yourself by pointing out to the judge that there were rocks in the road, or an empty, parked car, posing a threat to your safety. Let’s see how far that gets you, man. I’d pay money.

    Forget the law. Didn’t your mother teach you guys any manners? Didn’t your father teach you to be polite, and respectful, unless you want your ass kicked? You’re like children. This is SO effing California.

    I’m with Duncan on this. You’re not messing up just cars people. I can’t even ride my bike, legally, to the frickin’ store by my house anymore because of all the stupid anti-car crap they swathed downtown with. Just a foolish over-sight, to be sure. But the idiots took away any, legal, northbound access to downtown Portland from about the 2000 block, into town.

    I ride according to the illegal markings on the Hawthorne, only to have some idiot pass me on the right, and end up at the same light as I at SE Union. Every day. Every single day I have to get hostile with a boy, and a girl, lolly-gagging down the middle of a street, just so I can pass them. If it’s not them it’s some circus sideshow on wheels. Mamma Bear, Pappa Bear, and a passel of youngins’ hogging up an entire bike-lane, or riding right down the middle of the road.

    About the time your little Church starts this kind of ruckus, your days are numbered. Unfortunately, I ride a bike, and have for 25+ years. So, your grotesque self-involvement, your passive-aggressive, overly feminine, your nuts haven’t dropped yet, cry-baby, balling about rights you don’t, and never will, have, is going to mess up my ride too.

    And you all then have the nads to stand around, all bewildered, when entire U.S. cities are banning bicycle-riding altogether. Do you want bloodshed? Can you not see that’s where all of this is heading, at like light frickin’ speed? This simply isn’t the city you think it is. This town is comprised mostly of rural Oregonians whom have moved here to make a living, not gentrified, self-loathing, white, liberals from California. They have to go to work, and can’t make your little soy-cocoa hug-fests. Most of them can’t be bothered to vote. The M.O. of this real Oregonian is to wait ’til it’s dark, and settle things all face-to-face style.

    Only cute little hipster girls get a pass. 140 lb., 5′-6″ tall half-men aren’t very sporting. And the wannabe CAT 4/5s only ride in perfect weather, and then only if all of their lycra, and chamois, has dried from their Woolite bath. No, ViE, it’s people like me who are going to get mowed down when some motorist is trying to take revenge on YOU. I actually ride my bike. Everyday. Day in, and day out. I HAVE to be out there, the Maus-es of the world get to drive their minivans when the chips are down. I don’t.

    Good gravy man, if you’re gonna take that kind of tone with Duncan, at least possess some semblance of being right, at least.

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  • 9watts July 16, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    “Didn’t your mother teach you guys any manners? Didn’t your father teach you to be polite, and respectful, unless you want your ass kicked?”

    that is funny, coming from you, Mr. Longwell.

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  • matt picio July 16, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    jim (#137) – Bikes *are* allowed on I-5, just not in certain areas like Portland. The only places where bikes are prohibited are urban limited-access freeways, and the reason for that is because it’s impossible to make I-5 or I-84 safe for bikes in an environment where there are multiple on/off-ramps per mile with 55mph traffic.

    All people have a right to equal access, and what that means in practice is that if existing infrastructure cannot be made safe for all modes, then parallel infrastructure *must* be provided for those modes that are prohibited from the road.

    “Parallel” is subject to definition – I personally define it as an alternate route that reaches the same destinations without adding more than 10% to travel time or more than 10% to mileage.

    We don’t have enough money to build parallel infrastructure in all the locations that would require it – we should be looking at ways to make the existing infrastructure safe, even if that means placing restrictions on the existing road users that benefit most from the road in question. It’ll be a hard sell for many who love their privilege and convenience and refuse to fully share.

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  • Tacoma July 16, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    “Share the road means exactly that, SHARE. That means everyone takes other traffic into consideration and behaves accordingly. Too often, people of every mode sacrifice decency in order to get themselves a better position on the road rather than taking into account the safety and access rights of others.”

    I like this wording, Matt, especially that last sentence. Decency is a good word. I hope people will listen.

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  • Vance Longwell July 16, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    9watts # 140 – Hehe. Yeah, the distinction being, 9watts, that I’m fully prepared to back my rhetoric, and hyperbole, right up to the hilt. Where-as most other folks are natural cowards.

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  • Duncan July 16, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    I am so glad Lance is back.. guess that gets me off the hook as the extreme view point.

    All I am saying is this- dont be a jerk. Matt if you dont ride double on skyline, then you are not the people I am talking about (Lance is right in that there is a high level of Lycra in the double riding set)… Yes you CAN slow up traffic if you have to, but I see a lot of what I can say is slowing cars up, well to slow cars up, in my bicycling experienced view of the situations. I have a lot of time in the pedal-powered saddle and know the common hazards of biking. This is the kind of behavior that leads to the reaction of banning bikes.

    yes I think banning bikes is wrong, illegal and likely not in line with the values of the US Constitution. (equal protection under the law.), but I ALSO think that we as a community can do better to be considerate road users.

    Lastly I dont get it- whether it is on my classic bike, bicycle or in my VW-Bus-driving days, the last thing I wanted was a line of cars on my ass. I let people pass, makes them happy, keeps me low stress. Win win situation.

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  • Red Five July 16, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    Dammit…I knew Vance would come through on this one. Bravo my friend!

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  • wsbob July 16, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    Weekend warriors are probably more prone to missteps and mistakes, whatever the activity might be. Taking the lane, staying far to the right as is safe, and riding two abreast are each different ways of using the road.

    There are places on Skyline between Thompson and Germantown Rd where riders might safely ride two abreast for a short period. A long straight descent and equally distant rise just past Thompson and before Skyline Memorial Gardens is one of them, but it’s probably not going to be 2-3 minutes as I suggested in earlier comment. Less than a minute, probably. That should be enough time for responsible riders to mull over a passing thought or two. And again, riders always have to be watching for approaching faster traffic and be prepared to pull back into single file.

    Increased demand for formerly less traveled roads and the inadequacy of them to safely meet that demand for all modes of travel is likely to be coming to people’s attention more and more. More bikes on the road because of the growing popularity of cycling for travel, sport and touring undoubtedly probably can’t help but bring out this inadequacy where it exists.

    Here’s an account I heard recently: motor vehicle driver comes upon a line of about thirty people on bikes riding in close formation. Road conditions would have allowed passing two or three people on bikes at a time, but not thirty. So motor vehicle traffic backs up for a long time until the road either widens, or becomes long and straight enough and free of oncoming traffic to allow such a lengthy pass.

    Just possibly, St. Charles County Councilman Joe Brazil has heard accounts like that, and they have in turn helped support him in taking the action he has.

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  • John Reinhold July 19, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    As a person who owns two automobiles, two motorcycles and three bicycles, and who pays all kinds of taxes, and who votes regularly:

    I say we shouldn’t ban ANYONE from roads. We should instead find ways to have people share roads more safely and effectively. If it means some roads are fast and others are slow, so be it. The roads are everyone’s, and everyone deserves to be safe whether in a cage or not.

    And I just had to comment on this:

    Motorcycles run loud


    My 1500cc 6cyl Honda Valkyrie with 110hp was no louder than my mini van. This weekend (at bike fest in Seaside) I was passed while walking – by a BMW sport tourer and a GoldWing that were both so quiet we couldn’t even hear them coming.

    Yet many of the crusier dudes had pipes so loud the shook windows. All it did was make the non-bikers dislike bikers more. I am even a hard-core motorcycle enthusiast and loud pipes annoy the bejesus out of me.

    When you are unprotected and on two wheels the last thing you should be doing is annoying the many tons of metal cages around you. The laws of physics always win.

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  • jim July 20, 2010 at 2:55 am

    There are cities in europe where you will get arrested for riding in the streets

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  • El Biciclero July 20, 2010 at 9:15 am

    “There are cities in europe where you will get arrested for riding in the streets” –jim

    1. Which cities, and do they provide separated infrastructure for bikes to use?

    2. This isn’t Europe (much as some folks around here would like it to be).

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  • Duncan July 20, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    I am so glad that you can afford a brand new motorcycle. Those of us who cannot are stuck with the technology of yesteryear. CB750s were quite when compared to other bikes of the same age. Comparing my 34 year old motor to your new one is like comparing the emission of a 69 VW bug to a Prius.

    Apples and Oranges dude.

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  • Duncan July 20, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    oh yes- and the muffler I have on now is quieter than the stock one was.

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  • jim July 20, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    El Biciclero-
    Try Bucharest for one. They would fall dead laughing if you asked about seperate bike facillities, ticketed for being in the street. Streets there are built for and used by cars

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  • Duncan July 20, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    so jim- we in the US should aspire to be like a country only a few years removed from tyranny with a crumbling infrastructure, no income and a serious pollution problem?

    Jeeze what an example.

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  • El Biciclero July 20, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    jim– I did a quick google search for “Bucharest cycling”, and found several blog entries and articles about how bicycling in Bucharest isn’t for the faint of heart, but is possible. It looks like city officials attempted to ban bikes from the city ca. 2005, but the ban was lifted soon thereafter due to protests. When were you in Bucharest?

    Even if cycling the streets in Romania were 100% illegal, I would still fall back on my 2nd point: this isn’t Europe–much less former-Soviet-Bloc Eastern Europe. As Duncan notes, I don’t think we should aspire to 2nd-world transportation standards.

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  • jim July 20, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    Your right. This isn’t europe and we should quit trying to be like them. I don’t want to be amsterdam, I just want us to be oregon, and to use a little logic that would allow us to do more without all the government waste.
    Maybe someday we will have an efficiant govt….
    I hope they don’t succeed in making gas $11.00 a gallon like they talk about. Do you realize what that would do to the prices in the stores, companies will close….
    I like to bike a little bit. I don’t want to have to bike

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  • Duncan July 20, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    Someday gas will be 11$/gallon. It isnt taxes or anything- it is simple economics, there is an ever increasing demand as china moves its 1.9 Billion people into the industrial age, while globally available supplies of oil are shrinking (decreasing supply). We are on the edge now, but when OPEC switches to euros for oil pricing we are all gonna be biking.

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  • El Biciclero July 21, 2010 at 9:58 am

    “I like to bike a little bit. I don’t want to have to bike”

    There it is. I think this statement gets to the heart of a lot of anti-bike FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt). Not to say this is how you feel, jim, but I think a lot of folks see any increase in bike-friendliness, transportation equity, or whatever you want to call it as an attempt to FORCE people out of their cars. Visions of brown-shirts setting up roadblocks and initiating forced marches at gunpoint; dazed motorists being yanked out of their cars and forced onto a Dutch Oma special as they stand facing a sheer cliff that they will now have to bicycle up and over, government tow trucks showing up at people’s driveways to tow away their cars–whatever the fears may be–come rushing into people’s minds, and the only people they can think of to blame for this dystopian, totalitarian, apocalyptic future are the “bike community”.

    Instead, try to think of it this way: Every bike or pedestrian you see throughout the day is one less car on the road. Now realize that there is a full spectrum of people who have different levels of affinity for biking. Jim “likes to bike a little bit”. Others might hate it entirely. Some might have never tried it. Still others might actually enjoy it, but will resist doing it because they don’t want to be identified as “one of those scofflaw hipsters”. There are some people, though, who would give biking a try in a heartbeat, except that they don’t feel safe doing it. Keep in mind, I am not talking about recreational cycling here, but using a bike as a tool to move yourself between necessary destinations. Now imagine that we could ENTICE, not FORCE, those who are willing to bike a little bit (or a little bit more) to use a bike for short trips instead of a car, or to bike commute once or twice a week. Every time such a person makes a trip by bike instead of by car, they are saving massive amounts of road and parking space for those that don’t want to bike.

    The only problem then, is how to entice the interested to use their bikes instead of their cars. Banning bikes from roadways is not very enticing, and it sends the wrong message. We are already sending enough wrong messages by letting drivers who kill cyclists off with warnings or meaningless citations, or nothing. This kind of slanted enforcement essentially tells cyclists they had better get out of the sandbox when the big kids come over to play, or they’ll get beat up, and there’s nothing anyone will do about it. Not enticing.

    Maybe the answer is more bike lanes, maybe it’s a better drivers’ test, maybe it’s stricter enforcement or harsher consequences when drivers are at fault for killing cyclists–probably some combination of many things. The bottom line is that if we can encourage APPROPRIATE use of the automobile, rather then the current state of massive OVERuse, it will be better all around–both for those who have decided that they don’t really need to drive, AND for those who truly need to use their cars.

    I think this horse is dead.

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  • jim July 21, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    It won’t be brown shirts forcing us out of the cars, Govt. has ways of hitting your pocket book to force their values onto you,. The old guy driving his pickup around picking up scrap metal to supplement his social security allready can’t afford $700 a year for tags in some places, and he is not going to do that on a bike. Govt, is overstepping its boundaries and doing much more than its basic purpose. Lets not become a dictatorship, lets be free to ride that bike down the road or that old truck.
    Maybe loosen restrictions so we can take advantage of some of the more economical trucks and mini buses that are banned here now. If we had more buses we might not even need a crc bridge for light rail $$$
    ok I’m rambling…

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