How MoBikeFed got Missouri's mandatory sidepath law repealed

One of MoBikeFed's major accomplishments during the 1990s was the repeal of Missouri's mandatory sidepath law. Here is an outline of how it was done:

Repealing Missouri's mandatory sidepath law took MBF two years. The first year we were unsure of how to approach the task. The second year, we took advantage of our experience to reach success.

1. An attorney, who was a member of MBF, wrote draft legislative changes and asked for additions and corrections from the MBF membership.

2. We identified a Republican Senator who was willing to support our legislative changes as the sponsor.

3. We found a Democrat Representative to sponsor the same bill in the House.

4. We asked bicyclists across the state to call, fax, email or write their legislators regarding this issue.

5. We sent out a newsletter called Legislative Update that told what had happened, what we wanted to happen and what we wanted the bicyclist to do next.

6. We published in the Legislative Update the names, addresses and phone numbers of legislators along with sample letters.

7. We gathered a group of bicylists from across the state to testify at the committee hearings. We divided the testimony topics among the witnesses in order to avoid duplication and to cover all the angles.

8. We gathered input from every cyclist we could in support of our proposed changes with an emphasis on bicyclist safety and community liability in the event of an accident due to inadequate facilities.

9. Our reason for change was based on both common sense and collect statistics of the higher incidence of bike accidents on paths as opposed to roads. We mentioned that it is often inappropriate to mix pedestrians and cyclists on paths, paths do not always go where the cyclist wishes to go and race training must be on the road. The opposition we met was from a group of farmers who were angry about the rails to trails action taken to create the Katy Trail. They were taking their anger out on anyone handy and focused on bicyclists who rode Highway 94 that runs parallel to the Katy Trail. They wanted us off the road. Most of the legislators realized that the legislation we wished to change was largely an update due to equipment change and a safety issue. Few states remain with sidepath law in place.

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