Updating the basic bicycle law in Missouri - sample laws you can ask your city to adopt

One of the goals in MoBikeFed's Legislative Platform is to update the basic bicycle law in Missouri and in Missouri municipalities. This is moving to the front burner as we're preparing to introduce a comprehensive bicycle bill in the 2015 legislative session in Jefferson City.

Advocacy for cyclists at the Capitol in Jefferson City and in Washington DC is o
Advocacy for cyclists at the Capitol in Jefferson City and in Washington DC is one of MoBikeFed's highest priorities

Most bicycle laws have a statement to the effect that "ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable" when riding slower than other traffic.  Missouri improves that by requiring cyclists in these circumstances to "ride as near to the right side of the roadway as safe" - which puts the focus on roadway safety, where it should be.

But perhaps there is a better approach--one that takes a positive approach in encouraging bicyclists to ride safely by staying far away from curbs, gutters, and ditches, encourages bicyclists to follow best practices as taught by nationwide cycling courses like the League of American Bicyclists Bike Ed, and at the same time encourages cooperation and safety by all road users.

Cyclists across Missouri have been working to update these laws in their cities and counties.  We now how two good examples--Ferguson and Lee's Summit.

Here is sample language you can use if you would like to work to update your city or county bicycle law.

Best practice sample language

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 may ride in the center of the right lane of travel, or may ride to the right side of the roadway, or may ride in the shoulder adjacent to the roadway as specified in 307.191 RSMo; such person may use the left lane of travel to prepare for making a left turn, or when on a one-way street.

2. Every person operating a bicycle or motorized bicycle on a roadway shall exercise due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction, when making turns, when streets or lanes are too narrow to share with motor vehicles, and may use any lane or part of the roadway reasonably required to make such maneuvers in safety and in accordance with the rights and duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle as specified in 307.188 RSMo.

3. Bicyclists may ride abreast in the right lane of travel whenever riding in the right lane of travel is allowed for a solo cyclist.

Ferguson, MO (as adopted, 2012)


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 may ride in the center of the right lane of travel or may ride to the right side of the roadway; such person may move into the left lane of travel only while in the process of making a left turn. Every person operating a bicycle or motorized bicycle on a roadway shall exercise due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction, when making turns, and when streets or lanes are too narrow to share with vehicles. Bicyclists may ride abreast only when not impeding other vehicles.
 

Lee's Summit, MO (as adopted, 2014)

Every person operating a bicycle or motorized bicycle upon a street or highway may ride in the center of the right lane of travel or may ride to the right side of the roadway; such person may use the left lane of travel to prepare for making a left turn, or when on a one-way street. Every person operating a bicycle or motorized bicycle on a roadway shall exercise due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction, when making turns, and when streets or lanes are too narrow to share with motor vehicles. Bicyclists may ride abreast in the lane of travel.

 

Current Missouri State Law

307.188. Rights and duties of bicycle and motorized bicycle riders.
Every person riding a bicycle or motorized bicycle upon a street or highway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle as provided by chapter 304, RSMo, except as to special regulations in sections 307.180 to 307.193 and except as to those provisions of chapter 304, RSMo, which by their nature can have no application.

307.190. Riding to right, required for bicycles and motorized bicycles.
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.

 

307.191. Shoulder riding, allowed but not required for bicyclist operators

  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.
  2. A bicycle operated on a roadway, or 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", means that portion of a street or highway ordinarily used for vehicular travel, exclusive of the berm or shoulder.

 

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