ADVOCACY ALERT: Please contact your own Missouri Representative to oppose bicycle ban & removal of bicycling from transportation funding bill

[UPDATE, 8 April 2014: Thanks to thousands of you who contacted the Missouri House via calls, email, or personal visits, dozens of organizations who worked to support bicycling, and the support of the vast majority of Missouri representatives, the anti-bicycle amendment introduced by Rep. Curtman was soundly defeated today.

Please contact your Missouri House Member to thank them for their support of bicycling to defeat the amendment.

Please continue to contact your Missouri House Members to ask themto oppose HB 2279, the bicycle ban.]

The bicycle ban is back--new and improved for 2014. And it is accompanied by something new--a proposal to eliminate bicycling from the $8 billion Missouri Transportation Funding proposal.

No bicycles - some Missouri legislators want to ban bicycles from the road and from state transportation funding
No bicycles - some Missouri legislators want to ban bicycles from the road and from state transportation funding

This bill is due for a vote on Monday or Tuesday, so we need you to act now! 

Look up your own Missouri State Representative's contact information here. Then email and call your State Representative with this simple message:

"I support including bicycling in HJR 68, the transportation funding bill, and I urge you to vote against Rep. Paul Curtman's amendment (5302H02.01F) to remove bicycling from HJR 68. I urge you to oppose Rep. Korman's HB 2279 to ban bicycles from certain state highways."

Please be polite and persuasive when you call or email--we need friends on these issues!

Please consider attending our annual Capitol Day Monday April 7th and talk personally with your legislators about this issue. That personal contact makes a huge difference.

Help us start a Twitterstorm and social media brouhaha

This was truly a sneak attack by a few House members on Missouri's bicycling community.  They waited until the last minute to introduce their language, made it nearly impossible to understand, and tagged it onto an innocuous amendment that bill supporters had already approved.

So now the light of day is the best antidote to those dark and deceptive tactics.

Help us spread the word on social media that Missouri bicyclists are not happy about this treatment.  We expect and demand better from our representatives.

Facebook, Google Plus, etc - suggested posts

Twitter - suggested tweets

Relevant Twitter hashtags & accounts: 

Rep. Chris Kelly stood up on the floor of the House in defense of bicycling and
Rep. Chris Kelly stood up on the floor of the House in defense of bicycling and in opposition to the amendment

  • #SupportMOBiking #mohouse #moleg #HJR68
  • @paulcurtman (amendment sponsor, wants to remove bicycling from the transportation funding bill)
  • @repckelly (bicycle supporter who stopped the amendment & gave us a chance to kill it before the final vote early next week)
  • @mobikefed

Thank yous

HUGE thank yous go to Representatives Chris Kelly and Jeremy LaFaver, two of the key representatives who stood up on the floor of the House to speak against the amendment to remove bicycling from the funding plan.

Thank yous go a long way--a quick email, call, or social media mention of our heros on this issue helps a lot.

Many other representatives oppose the amendment and deserve our thanks.  If you know any more who stood up on the House Floor in defense of bicycling, please email director@mobikefed.org.

 

Want all the details--read on:

Longer sample email message to your legislator

Subject: Support bicycling; please oppose Rep. Curtman's amendment to strip the world 'bicycle' from HJR 68. Please oppose Rep. Bart Korman's bicycle ban bill, HB 2279.

Body:

Representative X,

[Start by explaining that you live in the Representative's district, perhaps mention where you live, and mention that you bicycle in the district.  If you happen to know your legislator or have met him/her, you might mention that, or any connection you have with your legislator.)

I am writing today to ask you to support bicycling in the proposed state transportation funding plan, HJR 68.

Please oppose Rep. Curtman's amendment to strip the world 'bicycle' from HJR 68.

Please oppose HB 2279 sponsored by Rep. Bart Korman of High Hill, calling for bicycles to be banned on state roads when there is a state-owned path or trail within two miles.

Bicyclists would love to be among the strongest supporters of efforts to solve Missouri's transportation funding crisis. We see the condition of our roads and bridges and would like to support smooth, safe roads with shoulders and an integrated, multi-modal approach to our state's transportation funding.

MoDOT spent the last year criss-crossing Missouri, talking to people in every county about their transportation priorities. Bicycling came up again and again as one of those priorities, in urban and rural areas, in large and small cities, and in many different geographical areas.

The amount of money dedicated to bicycling  will be a small--but very important--percentage. Each local planning regional in Missouri will be able to decide whether or not to spend any transportation dollars on bicycling.  

Local citizens will be able to determine their local priorities and whether they include bicycling or not.  Places that do not want to spend any money on bicycling can choose to do that.

Cities and states across America are working hard to promote themselves as friendly and inviting for bicycling.  If the Missouri House sends the message that bicyclists are not welcome, it hurts our health, economic development, and tourism.

Removing bicycling from HJR 68 funding, and banning bicycles on state highways as HB 2279 does, both send strong signals to bicyclists across the state, that the MIssouri House of Representatives does not support bicyclists or their safety.

Highway 150 - parallel wide sidewalk but no shoulders
Highway 150 - parallel wide sidewalk but no shoulders

Thank you for listening--and feel free to contact me if you have any questions about bicycle-related legislation or issues in our district.

Sincerely yours,

XXXXX

Send the message to your own Missouri State Representative and also please CC: or BCC: director@mobikefed.org - it really helps us to know how many of our supporters are contacting their legislators.

Full text of the proposed amendment to remove "bicycle" from the state transportation funding proposal, HJR 68

Rep. Curtman's amendment is to remove the word "bicycle" from HJR 68. HJR 68 allows MoDOT, cities, and counties to spend the state transportation funds on "transportation system purposes and uses".  Those are defined in HJR 68 and Curman's amendment simply removes the word "bicycle" from that definition:

The term "transportation system purposes and uses" shall include authority for the commission, any county or any city to plan, locate, relocate, establish, acquire, construct, maintain, control, operate, develop, and fund public transportation facilities such as, but not limited to, aviation, mass transportation, transportation for elderly and handicapped persons, railroads, ports, waterborne commerce, intermodal connections, bicycle, and pedestrian improvements;

That leaves every other major type of transportation identified by Missourians in over a year's worth of outreach by MoDOT to every county in Missouri represented in the text of HJR 68--except for bicycling. This is very clearly intended to send a message to MoDOT and to bicyclists in Missouri, that we are not welcome and that state funds should not be spent on our behalf.

The full text of the proposed new Bicycle Ban law, HB 2279

HB 2279 was introduced April 1st, 2014 by Rep. Bart Korman.

In the text below, portions bolded like this are to be added to current law.  Portions not bolded are current Missouri state law. 

AN ACT
 

To repeal sections 307.190 and 307.191, RSMo, and to enact in lieu thereof two new sections relating to bicycle operation on state roadways.

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 be operated on the shoulder of a state roadway if:

            (1) The bicycle is operated with a motorized escort;

            (2) 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; or

            (3) The person operating the bicycle is doing so due to an economic hardship.

            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.

If you contact Rep. Korman about this bill, please be sure to be very polite and persuasive.  He is responding to real constituent concerns on this issue, and we just need to help him understand that there is real opposition to this proposal, that this is not the most productive way to solve this problem, and that we are very willing to work together on productive solutions.  
 
Fo example, if we can work together with legislators like Rep. Korman to have wide shoulders added to the problem roads, that is a solution that will help everyone and actually solve the conflict.
 
Photo credits:
2. HIghway 150 in Missouri, MoBikeFed.

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