Missouri Bicycling, Walking, Running, and Trails News

Bicycle Handling Skills are an Important Part of Safe Cycling

One way to assure that you stay safe while riding is to understand and practice the proper techniques of bicycle handling.  This isn't always intuitive and you probably were never taught this when you first learned to ride a bicycle.  If you're like most people you've adapted over time.

Bicycle handling is important because it's one of the ways you communicate with other road users while on the bike.  If you appear confident and in control in traffic, you're sending a subtle yet powerful message that you belong on the road.  Unfortunately, the opposite is also true.  Here are the critical skills to focus on and practice in order to better handle your bicycle and become a more complete cyclist.

Starting and Stopping

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Bicycle Friendly State Rankings: Missouri remains 34th in rank, gains 4 points; What is our priority list for improving our ranking?

The League of American Bicyclists has announced the Bicycle Friendly State scores and rankings for 2015.  Missouri is still 34th out of the 50 states in rankings, though we gained 4 points (out of 100) from 2014 to 2015--a significant gain.  The 2015 score sheet for Missouri summarizes Missouri's ranking and goals.

In general, the trend that we have seen since Missouri reached its high water mark in the BFS state rankings (17th in 2009) continues: Missouri is improving the situation for bicycling slowly, but other states are improving their bicycle accommodations much faster.

Thus, Missouri scores noticeably better than last year--a 4 point increase is more than 10% in a single year--but our state ranking does not change because the 33 states ahead of us are improving even faster.

So we have our work cut our for us--because people want to live and like to live where they and their families can walk and bicycle safely. 

What changes do we need to make to improve bicycle safety and access in Missouri--to bring Missouri on par with other states, and to reach our goal of Gold Level Bicycle Friendly status for Missouri?

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Legislative session ends today: Progress on funding, penalties for dangerous drivers, bike/ped issues, stopped by Senate shutdown

Today is the last day of the 2015 Missouri legislative session. What's going on in the General Assembly and with our legislative priorities?

The major news: A filibuster in the Senate is halting all legislative action there--and the Senators have vowed to continue the slowdown until the end of the legislative session at 6pm today.

Unless the filibuster is broken--which appears to be unlikely at this time--there is 0% chance of passing the MoDOT fuel tax increase or any of the bills we have been supporting before session ends at 6pm today.   So we'll be back to work on these issues and more next year!  The progress we made this year puts us in good stead for future years.

What bills have we been working on this year and where do we stand on each issue?

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Bike Month 2015: Have your city or town officially declare May as Bike Month

May is National Bike Month!  Time to get your bike out and take a ride.

During Bike Month, one way you can help move bicycling forward in Missouri is both easy and effective:  Ask your city council member or mayor to issue a resolution or proclamation declaring May as Bicycle Month in your city or town--or county, church, business, social group or any other organization. 

Most of these proclamations and resolutions are made by a citizen simply contacting a city council member or the mayor, asking the city to make the proclamation or resolution, and including some sample text for the proclamation or resolution.

Here are some sample proclamations/resolutions that you can modify and adapt for your city and ask your city council member to issue the proclamation or pass the resolution:

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Safe Cycling 101: Basic Bicycle Handling

This is the fifth article in an eleven article series on Traffic Skills 101, the League of American Bicyclist's premier vehicular cycling course.  For more information, please contact the author, visit MoBikeFed's Bicycling Safety and Skills Page, or visit the Bike League's website.

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ADVOCACY ALERT: Ask Senators Blunt & McCaskill to Cosponsor better biking/walking

Today the League of American Bicyclists is asking Senators to co-sponsor the Transportation Alternatives Improvement Act (TAPIA)--to improve and fix problems with the primary source of bicycle and pedestrian funding across the U.S. and in Missouri.

At the National Bike Summit in March, we met with both Senator McCaskill and Senator Blunt--and ask them to co-sponsor TAPIA.  Now they need to hear from you--it will help seal the deal.

Click here to send your message to our Senators in Washington DC, that Missourians support better, safer bicycling and walking.

 

More details from Caron Whittaker of the League:

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ALERT: Capitol Day Today; Please contact your Missouri legislators, ask them to support bicycling & wlaking

Monday April 13th is Bicycle & Pedestrian Day at the Capitol in Jefferson City.  We'll be contacting every legislative office in Jefferson City Monday and making follow-up visits and testifying at Committee hearings Tuesday, April 14th.  Please take a few minutes to email and/or call your Missouri Senator and Representative this week to back up our personal visits!

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Capitol Day Monday: Missouri Reps threatening to ban spending on bike/ped

In 2014, a surprise amendment on the floor of the Missouri House to remove all bicycle funding from a proposed statewide funding initiative was soundly defeated in a vote on the House floor. Now Missouri representatives across the state are talking about banning funding for bicycling and walking again.

With MoDOT facing an unprecedented funding crisis, discussion in the Missouri General Assembly has been heating up on the subject of a tax increase to help fill the gap.

Unlike last year's (failed) proposal--which broadly addressed all of Missouri's transportation needs, including bicycling, walking, and transit--the current proposals are all focused on relatively small increases to the state fuel tax. By the Missouri Constitution, the fuel tax proceeds can be used only on road and streets in cities, and state highways administered by MoDOT.

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Legislative Update: MoDOT funding, safe passing, anti-harassment, anti-texting while driving, and much more

What will we be working on at Bicycle and Pedestrian Day at the Capitol April 13th?  Here are the main bills and issues.

There are some huge issues out there this year--that's why we need you to join us in Jefferson City Monday, April 13th--because only when we talk to our legislators about the importance of these issue can we educate them about the importance of bicycling and walking to Missouri

SB 540 - 2+2+2 Fuel tax increase - passed Senate Transportation Committee today; next stop is Senate Floor.

This is the latest plan to solve Missouri's statewide transportation funding crisis. If this or some similar solution fails to pass, MoDOT will implement the "Missouri 325 Plan" which provides for maintaining only 8000 miles of its roads--leaving the remaining 26,000 miles to rot in a state of neglect.

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Capitol Day April 13th: Missouri transportation funding proposal leaves out bicycling & walking; we need you!

Our annual Bicycle & Pedestrian Day at the Capitol and Legislators Bike Ride is Monday, April 13th.

Will you join us April 13th?  Register here.

The Missouri Senate is working on another transportation funding plan--and this time it includes no funding for biking and walking.  March 18th week I testified at the hearing for the bill, SB 540--and it wasn't very pleasant.

We have a whole new crop of legislators in Jefferson City--and they need an army of regular folks LIKE YOU to explain to them how important bicycling and walking is to our communities--and to you.

Will you join us April 13th in Jefferson City to do help take that message to the Capitol?

It's easy and fun. It can be as easy as taking a bike ride with a legislator, or a walk, or having a chat--to tell them how important bicycling and walking is in your life and in your community.

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Cycling Clothing and Gear for Safety and Comfort

It may not seem like a big thing, but the way you dress and the gear you tote along when you go for a ride can make a huge difference in terms of your comfort and safety.  This doesn’t mean you have to suit up like a professional racer, although there’s certainly nothing wrong with doing so if that’s your thing.  When it comes to what you wear and carry, one size doesn’t fit all.  Let’s have a look at the primary considerations when it comes to cycling clothing and gear.

The right clothing will help you ride more comfortably and safely.

 

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Federal, State and Local Organizations Join Forces to Assess Pedestrian/Bicycle Safety in Kansas City Friday

Bicycle and pedestrian advocacy groups the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation and BikeWalkKC are joining forces with an array of agencies, organizations, and officials from the neighborhood level through city, state, and federal level to assess bicycle, pedestrian, and transit safety of a street in Kansas City.

The safety assessment, to be held Friday, March 27th, is part of a major coordinated national effort called "Safer People, Safer Streets" that is organized under the direction of U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx.

Similar safety assessments are being held in communities large and small nationwide, in all fifty states.  All assessment reports are forwarded directly to Secretary Foxx for his review. 

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