Rep. Korman's Bicycle Ban bill introduced in the Missouri House

The Bicycle Ban bill we have been discussing this legislative session has been filed by Representative Bart Korman of High Hill as HB 672. Co-sponsors are Representative Rick Brattin of Harrisonville, Representative Jay Houghton of Martinsburg, and Representative David Wood of Versailles.

The full text of the bill as filed is below. Our Advocacy Alert on this issue has been updated to reflect the new circumstances.

Question and Answer Exchange between Korman & MoBikeFed regarding the Bicycle Ban at House Hearing, Feb 19th, 2013

Rep. Korman and I had an exchange about the proposed bill bicycle ban bill--which at that time had not yet been introduced--during my testimony at the House Transportation Committee Hearing on the proposed MoDOT $8 billion transportation funding plan. The upshot of that exchange during the committee hearing:

  • Korman asked how bicyclists would feel with regards to the transportation funding plan, if a bill were introduced banning bicyclists from state highways when a path is available nearby.
  • I explained that it would be very difficult for bicyclists across Missouri to support $8 billion in new funding for Missouri roads, highways, and other transportation needs,  when a bill is being circulated in the Missouri House proposing to ban bicyclists from those highways.
  • With MoDOT Director Kevin Keith and other MoDOT officials in the room to testify in favor of the new $8 billion funding proposal, I explained that the large number of complaints and conflicts between bicyclists and pedestrians on state roads indicates a real need for MoDOT to finally plan for and take seriously the issue of bicyclists on state roads and build roads accordingly.  If complaints are at a high enough level that legislators are introducing bicycle ban bills annually (discussion and/or bills in each of the past three session), that is a sure sign that Missouri has reached the point where the state DOT needs to plan and build for bicyclists. 
  • I explained that a bicycle ban would be contentious while not solving anything - that a certain group of bicyclists, among them many who are among the most expert, skilled, and serious cyclists, are always going to bicycle on the road and the trail option simply does not and will not work for them. The vast majority of bicycling occurs on roads.

    Bicycles Banned symbol
    Bicycles Banned symbol
  • I explained that rather than wasting time debating a contentious ban that does not solve the underlying problem, we would rather work together towards a goal that everyone can agree on: Building roads with shoulders and/or bike lanes, where needed, so that motorist safety is improved and conflicts between motorists and bicyclists are reduced.  This improves safety for motorists and bicyclists. This is a solution we can all agree upon and work together to reach.
  • MoDOT Director Kevin Keith had just a few minutes previously, testified that the new $8 billion, 10 year MoDOT funding proposal could probably fund projects to add paved shoulders to 4000-5000 miles of roads in MoDOT's system over the next 10 years.  This would not be enough to add shoulders to all Missouri roads, but would add shoulders to those roads in the top priority category for need. I suggested to Rep. Korman and Mr. Keith that roads that generate continual complaints about bicyclists on the roadway almost certainly have relatively high motorist use and high bicyclist use--and this should place them near the top of the priority list for shoulder replacement.

Although the bicycle ban is a certainly a negative, it certainly does make the point to MoDOT officials that bicyclists exist in Missouri, that they do use the state highway system in large numbers, and we can't be ignored.  

MoDOT is working its hardest to cultivate allies for its $8 billion transportation funding proposal.  MoBikeFed is working hard to be an ally, but we can't support funding for roads where we are banned.  We certain can support funding for roads--and a complete transportation system--where the state DOT is taking positive, concrete steps to provide safe facilities for bicyclists who want and need to bicycle on state highways.

MoDOT has made huge steps towards better accommodating bicyclists and pedestrians.  We have meetings scheduled soon with top MoDOT decision-makers to  discuss outstanding issues, like the bicycle ban and how MoDOT can better accommodate bicyclists on the roads that cause these conflicts.  We feel confident that MoDOT will be able to make and execute a plan to address these issues under this new $8 billion funding proposal.

Unintended consequences--or not?

The proposed Missouri law is nothing short of sweeping.

It would apply to many hundreds of miles of state roads and highways across Missouri that parallel the Katy Trail.  Just for example:

  • All state roads across the state paralleling the Katy Trail within 2 miles
  • All state roads in Clinton, Sedalia, Boonville, Rocheport, and similar cities
  • Even Missouri Boulevard in Jefferson City, Highway 100 in Hermann, State Hwy T east of Washington, and all sorts of state roads in St Charles County

What you can do

MoBikeFed issued an Advocacy Alert last week, and as a result, hundreds of Missouri bicyclists have contacted their own Missouri Representative, asking him or her to oppose the bicycle ban and not co-sponsor the bill.  That action has been successful as the list of co-sponsors on Rep. Korman's proposal is small.

We have now updated the Advocacy Alert to reflect the fact that the bill has been introduced.  Please continue to contact your own Representative and ask him or her to oppose the bill.

Important: Whether you contact your own Representative or Rep. Korman, please, please, please be polite and persuasive in your communication.  Rep. Korman and other bill co-sponsors are reacting to constituent comments and complaints from the areas they represent--as they should.  We believe they have found the wrong solution to this problem, and we would like to work with them to find the real solution, one that we can all work towards together. See our Advocacy Alert for sample communications.

Rep. Rick Brattin, Harrisonville
Rep. Rick Brattin, Harrisonville

Full text of bicycle ban bill

Bolded words are those added to existing law: 

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the state of Missouri, as follows:            

Section A. Sections 307.190 and 307.191, RSMo, are repealed and two new sections enacted in lieu thereof, to be known as sections 307.190 and 307.191, to read as follows:

            307.190. 1. Every person operating a bicycle or motorized bicycle at less than the posted speed or slower than the flow of traffic upon a street or highway shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as safe, exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction, except when making a left turn, when avoiding hazardous conditions, when the lane is too narrow to share with another vehicle, or when on a one-way street. Bicyclists may ride abreast when not impeding other vehicles.

            2. Notwithstanding any provision of this section or any other law, bicycle operation on a state-maintained roadway is prohibited when there is a state-owned bicycle path or trail that runs generally parallel to and within two miles of a state roadway, except a bicycle may operate on the shoulder of a state roadway when the bicycle is operated as a means to ride to or from the operator's home to another residence, to a place of business, to a school, or to any public facility.

            307.191. 1. A person operating a bicycle at less than the posted speed or slower than the flow of traffic upon a street or highway may operate as described in section 307.190 or may operate on the shoulder adjacent to the roadway, except as provided in subsection 2 of section 307.190

            2. A bicycle operated on a roadway, or on the shoulder adjacent to a roadway, shall be operated in the same direction as vehicles are required to be driven upon the roadway.

            3. For purposes of this section and section 307.190, "roadway" is defined as and means that portion of a street or highway ordinarily used for vehicular travel, exclusive of the berm or shoulder.

The bill's page on the Missouri House web site is here.

Related links

Photo Credits:

1. Rep. Bart Korman, High Hill. Courtesy Missouri House of Representatives.

2. No Bicycles by Tom Magliery on FlickR. License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 2.0.

3. Rep. Rick Brattin, Harrisonville.  Courtesy Missouri House of Representatives

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