Columbia bicycle group to host forum to help ease tensions between cyclists and motorists

According to a KOMU article:
The bicycle harassment ordinance has created cause for concern from both motorists and cyclists.

One Columbia cycling group, Columbia Multisport Club, is hosting a forum designed to help bridge the gap between motorists and cyclists. The club is trying to put a face on cyclists by reminding motorists that they are people in the community as well.

According to the board president, Mackenzie Rickman, the groups goals are to help answer questions, address some concerns, and provide a place for good discussion.

The groups also wants to dispel the image that they are a group of elitists.

"What we'd like to do is covey the image that we are not elitists who believe that we own the road." Said Tom Brinker owner of Cycle Extreme and member of the Columbia Multisport Club board.

The group also wants to begin a marketing campaign in the next few weeks that focuses on putting a face on cycling.

In an e-mail, Mackenzie Rickman, president of the Columbia Multisport Club, said "Our goal is to remind motorists that when they speed past a cyclist, cut them off, or throw things at them, the cyclist 'in the spandex' could be their doctor, pastor, coworker, etc...These cyclists are mothers, daughters, sons, friends, Tiger fans, taxpayers, etc."

The forum will take place Wednesday, August 12, at 7 p.m, at the ARC in Columbia.
A proposal to suspend the bicycle harassment ordinance, and another to expand the ordinance to include pedestrians and wheelchair users, will come before the Columbia City Council August 17th.

If you live in Columbia, it is very helpful to contact your city council members on this issue--click here for city council contact info.

MoBikeFed's position on the proposed changes to the bicyclist harassment ordinance:

* We oppose withdrawing or suspending the ordinance. That sends the wrong message to those (very few) bad and dangerous drivers who engage in harassment.

* We support a period of education about the ordinance--perhaps a period where police will help educate the public and write warning tickets.

* We strongly support expanding the scope of the ordinance to include all potentially affected groups, particularly pedestrians and wheelchair users.

* We strongly support education about the harassment ordinance, what it actually says, and why it is needed. Much of the controversy around the ordinance has come because people have misunderstood what it actually says.

* We strongly encourage education and enforcement of traffic laws and regulations for bicyclists. For instance, every Columbia college and university should include bicycle education information as part of new student orientation; every Columbia K-12 school should include appropriate bicycle education at specific grade levels.

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