Missouri Bicycling, Walking, Running, and Trails News

Advocacy Alert: Please contact your Missouri Senator & Rep in support of Capitol Day April 11th

Our annual Bicycle and Pedestrian Day at the Capitol  is Monday, April 11th, 2016.  We know that most of our members and supporters can't make it Jefferson City in person for Capitol Day. So how can you help?

By calling, writing, or emailing your own representative to reinforce the message we will be taking April 11th.

How to contact your Missouri legislators

Here is how:

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Warsaw, Missouri, adopts Missouri's 29th Complete Streets Policy

March 21st, Warsaw, Missouri adopt a Complete Streets policy.  Warsaw's policy is the 29th Complete Streets Policy in Missouri and one of the first adopted by a smaller rural town.  Warsaw is a town of 2100 in rural Benton County, Missouri.  Warsaw joins an elite group of Missouri cities who are setting the standard for livability, connectivity, and community health by adopting Complete Streets policies.

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How many Missourians walk, run, bicycle, use trails? A LOT--and here's the data

When we mention to Missouri elected officials and staff that millions of Missourians walk, run, bicycle, and use trails regularly, we often see a look of disbelief. 

Really--millions?

Uh, yeah. Millions. These are far from the fringe--they are activities enjoyed regularly and valued highly by the vast majority of Missourians.

Here's the data:

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MoBikeFed Events - Join us for rides, runs, races, and more in 2016!

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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ADVOCACY ALERT: Bill to allow ATVs on the Katy Trail moving forward in the Missouri House; contact your representative today

UPDATE 12 APRIL 2016: Sign the petition opposing ATVs on the Katy Trail - we'll present it to the Missouri House Speaker and Senate President Pro Tem.

UPDATE 7 APRIL 2016: Today the ATVS on the Katy Trail bill PASSED its second committee vote in the House.  Next major legislative step is a vote in the full House.

Even if you previously wrote your legislators about this bill, PLEASE WRITE AGAIN NOW AS OUTLINED BELOW--your Representative needs to know that this bill is headed for the House Floor so that they can start to organize opposition. 

Your Senator needs to know there is a real chance the bill will pass the House & appear in the Senate now.

The article below has been extensively edited from its original publication and now contains updated information about HB 2047 contents, amendments, and progress through the legislative process as of 7 APRIL 2016.

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Research: Lack of public transit and safe places to walk and bicycle has major health impact on rural Missouri

In 2016, bicycling, walking, parks, and trails are moving forward in Missouri in a way they never have before--a vast improvement from the 5, 10, and 20 years ago.

But the improvements we see across Missouri are not yet universal.  We see many parts of the state where the relatively new movement for vibrant, liveable, walkable, bicycleable communities has taken hold very well--but many others where it has not yet taken hold.

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2016 Legislative Session: Summary of bills affecting bicycling, walking, and trails

We are just in the third week of Missouri's 2016 legislative session, and already we have seen a number of bills introduced that are important to people in Missouri who walk, bicycle, and use trails.

On the negative side, we are seeing proposals to:

  • Require bicyclists to use a 15-foot tall safety flag (?!)
  • Allow motorized users on the Katy Trail
  • Ban bicycles on certain roads (not introduced yet--but we are hearing a persistent rumor a bill will be introduced soon)

On the positive side, bills are returning in 2016 to

  • Increase penalties to dangerous drivers who injure or kill
  • Ban texting while driving
  • Require a minimum safe passing distance when motorists pass people bicycling
  • Require Missouri high schools to offer Driver's Ed

Another major issue in 2016 is the state transportation funding shortfall. Missouri's dramatic underinvestment in transit, walking, and bicycling harms the ability of our communities, large and small, to compete in today's global marketplace--but all proposed solutions address highway funding only. 

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Amtrak roll-on provisions finally passed as part of FAST Act

Back in March 2015, we asked you to contact members of the House to ask for their support for bicycle roll-on on Amtrak rail cars.  In July we reported that similar language had been adopted in the Senate.

But of course, neither of those is the final passage of the bicycle roll-on language.  So what happened next? Was it ever actually passed into law?

Working with Congress means doing work now that pays off years later--in a big way

One reason we ask you to weigh in with your members of Congress when we have opportunities early on in the legislative process, is because that is where issues like these are won and lost.  Just one or two key supportive members of Congress in each Chamber working on our behalf in an early hearing, and we have the language we want in the earliest legislative drafts in both the House and the Senate.

Then, when the full bill moves forward--often months or even years later--our hard-fought issue moves with it.

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The Top Twelve: The most important Missouri bicycling, walking, and trails stories of 2015

2015 was a banner year for bicycling, walking, and trails across Missouri, as communities, agencies, elected officials, committed individuals and groups worked hard to make Missouri a better, safer place to walk and bicycle.

Let's look at some of the highlights of 2015:

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President signs $305 billion transportation bill with improvements for bicycling and walking

Last week, the House and Senate passed final version of the FAST Act, which authorizes $305 billion in federal transportation spending and sets federal transportation policy for the next five years. President Obama signed the bill into law yesterday.

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Wildwood MO becomes 8th Missouri city to adopt anti-harassment policy for bicyclists, pedestrians

Recently the City of Wildwood passed a comprehensive new anti-harassment policy protecting people who walk, bicycle, ride horses, use wheelchairs, and drive on the city's streets, sidewalks, trails, and other public spaces.

Wildwood becomes the eighth Missouri city to pass an anti-harassment policy. 

Harassment has been identified by MoBikeFed members and other people who walk and bicycle across Missouri that we have surveyed, as among their top issues. For that reason, it has become one of the top issues of our Legislative Platform.

Harassment is discouraging and frightening.  Fear of harassment and past episodes of harassment have discouraged many for bicycling, walking, and running in their communities as much as they would like to.

Wildwood's policy is an excellent example for other communities across Missouri to consider.  It takes a unique and productive approach in that it protects all users of the roads and trails equally--including drivers and occupants of motor vehicles.

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Bike League visits Missouri towns to promote Bicycle Friendly Communities program

The League of American Bicyclists conducted site visits to Columbia and Jefferson City last week as part of its Bicycle Friendly Communities (BFC) program. A similar visit to Springfield is planned for later this week. Trek Bicycles sponsored the site visits in an effort to promote bicycling all over the nation. Columbia is a Silver Level BFC, aiming for Gold. Jefferson City hopes to achieve BFC designation soon. And Springfield is Bronze, aiming for Silver.

League staff Steve Clark starts each site visit with a bike ride around the city with City staff and bicyclists from the community. In Columbia, he was interested in the experimental Bicycle Boulevards that contain "advisory" bike lanes down the center of the road, and a protected intersection for people walking and biking that connects two off-set streets in the middle of a busy road.

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