Missouri Bicycling, Walking, Running, and Trails News

Michael "Casey" Saunders, 1987-2017: Beloved Missouri cyclist and "Honest Racer"

Beloved and tenacious Missouri bicyclist and racer Michael "Casey" Saunders, 29, passed away Sunday as the result of injuries suffered at the Tour of Kansas City Criterium that day.

We are deeply saddened by the passing of Casey Saunders at Sunday's race. His life touched so many in Missouri's bicycling community.  Our thoughts are with Casey's family, friends, teammates, and the many who knew him, raced with him, or followed his race career.

Saunders had a long history in Missouri's racing community, where he was known for his hard work, tenacity, friendliness, and competitive spirit. The Webster-Kirkwood Times wrote:

Saunders started racing when he was 15 years old. He worked his way up through the ranks and was competing at the top level among professional cyclists. He was working full-time as a bike mechanic at Big Shark Bicycle Company in St. Louis and racing on the weekends. Although he did a lot of road racing, Saunders also competed in cyclocross and mountain bike races, as well as track racing at the Penrose Park velodrome in St. Louis.

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ALERT: Missouri State Parks deciding fate of next 144-mile section of Rock Island Trail; your feedback needed now

[[VERY URGENT - PLEASE SHARE WIDELY THROUGH 30 AUGUST 2017]] 

Ameren is set to donate 144 miles of Rock Island Trail corridor to Missouri State Parks by the end of this year, to become Missouri's SECOND cross-state trail.

----> Click here to complete Missouri State Parks' Rock Island Trail survey
----> One simple message: "Please accept the Rock Island Trail."

But--Gov. Greitens and State Parks leaders have recently said the Governor and State Parks are UNDECIDED about whether or not to accept the trail--a gift to the state worth many millions of dollars.

The survey was created to help State Parks make his final decision about the Rock Island Trail. 

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ALERT: Contact Gov Greitens to ask support of the Rock Island Trail

[ALERT: Please share this message and invite citizens to contact Gov Greitens in support of the Rock Island Trail throughout 2017 - this is a long-term issue that will require a long-term commitment of support.]

Yesterday, the Gasconade County Republican published this important story about Missouri's Rock Island Trail State Park. The city of Belle was set to develop the first 1.1 miles of the Rock Island Trail State Park between Windsor and Washington.

But now Missouri State Parks has asked Belle to suspend trail development until next year:

State Parks, DNR ask Belle to suspend Rock Island Trail development

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MoBikeFed Events - Join us for rides, runs, races, and more in 2017!

The Missouri Bicycle & Pedestrian Federation helps promote bicycling, walking, and trails and raises funds for our mission through an annual series of events around Missouri.  Please add them to your calendar and join us!

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What has MoBikefed done for you lately?

When we ask Missourians to join MoBikeFed or support our work, they often--and very reasonably--ask: Why should I support your work? What have you done recently that effects me and my community?

Here is a list of just a few of the most important campaigns and initiatives we--along with our many allies and like-minded organizations across Missouri--have worked to support over the past year or so:

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Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety launches Pedestrian Safety Awareness Week

The Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety is launching Pedestrian Safety Awareness Week today.

The Daily Star Journal talks about the reasons for the Safety Awareness Week:

The Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety will launch a new week-long campaign focusing on pedestrian safety Monday.

The campaign aims to educate pedestrians and drivers about safety.

Statewide, from 2013-2016, 347 pedestrians died and 1,021 suffered serious injuries. . . .

“We want to be sure that citizens are as safe as possible in all modes of transportation,” the coalition’s executive committee chairman, Bill Whitfield, said. “We encourage all drivers, cyclists and pedestrians to make safe choices so everyone, no matter the mode of transportation, makes it to their destination safe.”

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Trailnet & MoBikeFed release joint letter in support of bike/ped accommodations on the MO 370 Bridge between St Charles & St. Louis Counties

Creating safe and accessible crossings of major rivers for Missourians who walk and bicycle is one of the top priorities of the Missouri Bicycle & Pedestrian Federation and our allied organizations across the state.

Recently we teamed up with Trailnet, the St. Louis regional advocacy organization that support bicycling, walking, and active living, to send a joint letter of support to MoDOT about a very important Missouri River crossing for people who bicycle and walk: The Missouri 370 bridge between St. Louis County and St. Charles County.

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Announcing the 2017 Missouri Active Transportation Summit August 11th in Jefferson City - Join us!

Bicycling, walking, and trails mean business in Missouri 

 

Friday, August 11th, 2017, 9:30am-5:00pm

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No-texting-while-driving bill passes Missouri House - best progress of texting-while-driving bill in 8 years

HB 293, the "Fair Fare Passenger Safety Act" sponsored by Rep. Galen Higdon (R-Buchanan/Platte Counties) recently passed the House by a vote of 103-46.

HB 293 has made no progress in the Senate this year, so with less than 5 hours left in the 2017 legislative session, the bill is certain to stop there, without being passed by the Senate or signed into law by Governor Greitens.

Still, this is the most progress a texting while driving bill has made in the Missouri General Assembly since the prohibition on texting while driving for drivers under 21 years of age was passed by the Missouri General Assembly in 2009. So we should take a moment to celebrate this small victory--and start planning for future years.

If you would like to help, a short note of thanks to Rep. Higdon for sponsoring HB 293 would help a lot.  Contact information is on Rep. Higdon's web page.

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HCR 47, Resolution creating Missouri Transportation Funding Task Force, passes unanimously in Missouri Senate; MoBikeFed & allies working to ensure bicycling & walking included in solutions

Today House Continuing Resolution 47, sponsored by Rep. Kevin Corlew of Kansas City, passed the Missouri Senate by a vote of 33-0.

HCR 47 creates a statewide task force to study the issue of transportation funding in Missouri and to present recommendations to the Missouri General Assembly and the Governor in time for the 2018 legislative session.

MoBikeFed and our allied groups across the state have worked hard to ensure the HCR 47 was about transportation funding in Missouri--not just highway funding.

Highways are, of course, an important part of Missouri's transportation picture.  But funding for good, safe places for Missourians to walk and bicycle are just as important, as is funding for public transportation in Missouri.

The original version of HCR 47 was focused on highway funding only.  After testimony and discussion with Rep. Corlew by MoBikeFed and our allies from across the state on this issue, the updated version of the resolution was more broadly worded to include all types of transportation funding.

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2017 Legislative Session: With one week to go, what is the status of key bills affecting bicycling, walking, and trails?

With just one week left in Missouri's 2017 legislative session, we have had some really important bills moving--some very good and some very bad. Where are they now?

It looks the effort to stop Missouri State Parks from accepting the Rock Island Trail corridor has been turn aside, several bad bills that could effect bicycling and walking have been stopped or never introduced (always the best outcome), and the General Assembly could take one small step towards address state transportation funding.

Details follow . . . 

HB 698: Stopping acquisition of new State Parks lands - and stopping the state from accepting Rock Island Trail - is amended to allow the Rock Island Trail to move forward

Two pieces of good news on HB 698, which posed a very severe threat to the Rock Island Trail early in session:

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HB 698, preventing creation of any new State Parks, passes MO House - but with Amendment allowing Rock Island Trail State Park

HB 698, sponsored by Rep. Pietzman of Troy, has just passed the Missouri House by a voice vote. The bill prevents Missouri State Parks from purchasing any new land until all current deferred maintenance is up to date.

HB 698 would have stopped any new state parks--including the Rock Island Trail--but a friendly amendment saved the trail

As we warned in a previous article, and discussed with legislators yesterday at our annual Capitol Day, HB 698 as originally drafted would have prevented State Parks from accepting the 144 miles of the Rock Island railroad corridor that Ameren is prepared to donate to Missouri State Parks later this year.

That is the bad news. Now the good news:

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