Trolley tracks unsafe for cyclists play a role in Big Shark Bicycle Company's decision to move from Delmar Loop to STL County : STLToday

Headlines are quick hits from media outlets from Missouri and around the world. Follow the headline link for the full story. The source of this headline says:

Big Shark Bicycle is closing its store in the Delmar Loop and planning a new location nearby in St. Louis County. . . .

Having trolley tracks in front of the store was a factor in deciding to relocate. "It's not an easy street to ride safely for a bicycle," Weiss said. "Certainly, putting tracks in the street in front of a bike store is not a great formula."

MoBikeFed comment: Light rail and trolley systems can be an amazing asset to their communities, providing the kind of transportation choice that cyclists and pedestrians also like to see.

But the recent Kansas City streetcar and St Louis trolley systems have come with the installation of miles of track with a groove that is extraordinarily dangerous for cyclists. The track is installed on streets already popular for cycling, and the design of both the Kansas City and St. Louis systems was done in a way that emphasized--rather than ameliorated--that danger to cyclists.

We must find a way to install trolley and light rail systems in Missouri, and the U.S., that does not destroy bicycle safety and access on the affected streets.

In the meanwhile, cyclists need to be very aware that existing streetcar and trolley tracks in St. Louis and Kansas City are extremely dangerous for cyclists who ride the streets where the tracks are installed.

At this time, we can only warn Missouri bicyclists to stay well away from the new streetcar tracks in St. Louis and Kansas City.

Be aware that these streetcar tracks are FAR more dangerous to cyclists than most other railroad tracks you may have encountered, because:

- There are MILES of the tracks installed on roads in the center of the city, often frequented by bicyclists

- The miles of track are all parallel to bicyclist direction of travel--the most dangerous and difficult configuration

- The tracks are laid in such a way that they are difficult and dangerous to cross, and often trap cyclists into a very narrow portion of the lane, between two tracks or between the track and the gutter

- The tracks have a narrow groove that is just the size and shape of most road bicycle tires and will grab the front and/or REAR wheel of your bicycle if you try to cross parallel to the tracks

We suggest that cyclists take these measures:

- Choose other routes if you can.

- Always cross the tracks at a 90 degree angle; never less than a 75-80 degree angle; never cross tracks that are running parallel to your direction of travel.

- If you don't have room to turn to get the proper angle to cross the tracks, you will have to stop and lift your bicycle over the tracks. Yes, the tracks are that dangerous.

- The slots in these tracks are deep enough to grab either your front OR your rear wheel and cause you to have a serious fall.

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