Details of bicycle safety legislation now in Missouri House

Legislation supported by the Missouri Bicycle Federation has passed the Missouri Senate and reached the House Transportation Committee. There, some opposition to portions of the bill has arisen. MoBikeFed representatives have been working on a compromise version of the bill that will satisfy the objections that have been raised.

Please contact members of the House Transportation Committee and ask them to support this important bill (SB710). The fuse on this is short--it may come before the committee again as soon as Monday, April 26th. Details and committee member contact info are in the 23 April Advocacy Alert.

As far as we know, as of 25 April 2004, here are the provisions that will be in the final version of the bill:
  • Motorists, bicyclists, and motorcyclists must exercise the highest degree of care generally and, in particular, to avoid hitting bicyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians.

  • Motorists must exercise the highest degree of care by leaving a "safe distance" when passing a bicyclist.

  • Bike lane regulations (no rules currently exist)

  • Shoulder regulations (clarifying current muddy situation)

  • CAUTIOUS bicyclist rolling stop is allowed; bicyclists still must slow WAY down and YIELD to any cross-traffic at stop signs

  • 20 MPH school zone speed limit (this will be a "standard-setting" type of law, not an absolute "mandate"--since cities and not the state set speed limits in most school zones, and MO is not big on having the state mandate to local communities what to do)

  • Improved definition of bicycle (allows for tricycles, quadracycles, etc.)

  • Misdemeanor and felony assault provisions will specifically mention that recklessly/purposefully injuring someone (pedestrian or bicyclist, for instance) with a vehicle is assault.

  • Similar provision for felony involuntary manslaughter: the law will specifically mention that recklessly/negligently killing someone (pedestrian or bicyclist, for instance) with a vehicle is involuntary manslaughter.

The last two sections should make it more obvious to judges/juries/prosecutors that assault/involuntary manslaughter are a appropriate charges when someone kills or injures via dangerous driving, and should make it easier to get convictions in cases where the charges are justified.