De Soto, KS, bicycle ban overturned

A long-standing bicycle ban on 83rd Street in De Soto, Kansas, has been overturned by the city council.

De Soto, which is on the outer edge of the Kansas City metro area, has banned bicyclists on 83rd Street.

83rd Street in De Soto; Image courtesy Kansas Cyclist
83rd Street in De Soto; Image courtesy Kansas Cyclist

Two years ago, and again a year ago, the De Soto city council considered the issue, but each time decided to keep the bicycle ban in place

But now the council has reconsidered the issue and voted to rescind the ban on a 4-1 vote.

The bicycle ban, which has been in place for over ten years, covers one of the key through routes in that part of Johnson County, Kansas.  There is no good alternative route through that part of the county, without making a very long detour, and the bicycle ban effectively eliminated several good bicycle routes and loops that made a small connection via 83rd Street.

And 8rd Street itself, while not ideal for novice cyclists, is no better or worse as a bicycle route than numerous low- and moderate- traffic roads and highways around Missouri and Kansas.  If bicycling were eliminated on all such routes, bicycling would become an impossible activity.

Congratulations and our commendation to the De Soto city council for removing this long-standing ban, and making De Soto more welcoming for bicycles.

The De Soto Explorer had good coverage of the council meeting:

Responses to the safety issue came not only from other members of the council but also from cyclists in the community and surrounding areas who have been forced to avoid De Soto as a biking route since the ban was set.

"Riding 83rd Street may not be the best route but it is the most convenient route for many bikers and smart bikers avoid it at it's busiest times for vehicle traffic," said resident, avid biker and former member of the board of the Johnson County Bicycle Club Mark Schrivner. "Choosing when and where to ride for our safety and others is a personal right that should be left to the cyclists."

Other cyclists in the audience urged the council to lift the ban for the sake of De Soto, stating the ban left "a black mark" on the city that had a far reach.

"This ban has given De Soto a bad reputation and has kept cyclists and other active people away," said cyclist and operator of kansascyclist.com. "I get requests all the time on my website asking for suggested routes through the state, some from locals but many from people all over the country, and I have to tell them to avoid De Soto and go around it and I'd really like to be able to change that because I loved riding through here before the ban and would like to again."

Council members Rick Walker, Lori Murdock and Randy Johnson were the most supportive of repealing the ban.

"I've ridden that road hundreds of times, I've been a triathlete and an Iron Man competitor but I would never ride that road at a peak time," Johnson said. "I'm vehemently against regulations for regulations' sake and I believe both cyclists and drivers have to take responsibility for their own actions." 

In a strange twist, the city of DeSoto, Missouri, is one of the leading cities in Missouri for Complete Streets. So perhaps the Missouri city is having a good influence on its Kansas twin . . .

Previously on MoBikeFed News:

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