Bicycling moving forward in Cape Girardeau

With an active bicycling community and much community discussion about the need for better bicycle accommodation, bicycling is moving forward in Cape Girardeau.

Velo Girardeau is the area's bicycle club, with regular rides Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday during the summer season.

Cape Bicycle and Fitness and CycleWerx are the area's bike shops.

Bicyclists involved with Velo Girardeau have been pushing the city to become more bicycle friendly. According to a SEMissourian article:

A grassroots effort among cyclists in Cape Girardeau to get bike lanes and improved trails is gaining speed.

According to organizer Chris Moore, about 350 people have signed a petition asking for the lanes and better trails. Moore and others plan to bring their petition before the city council at an upcoming meeting.

"There are a lot of bikers in this town who ride and interact with traffic and it doesn't bother them. But a lot of folks would like to ride but are inhibited from riding in the streets. It's too scary if you're not used to it," he said.

Moore, the vice president of a local biking group, Velo Girardeau, has been biking seriously for about a year. He said Cape Girardeau has good bike trails but they are not connected or easily accessible from main thoroughfares.

That leaves the streets. According to Moore and the other bikers, many Cape Girardeau streets are dangerous for bikers.
In 2005 and 2006, there were 23 accidents involving motorists and cyclists in the city. Those accidents resulted in 17 injuries and one fatality.
A recent SEMissourian article outlines some of the bike to work week activities going on in the area:

At a time when bicycle enthusiasts are pushing to make Cape Girardeau more bicycle friendly, some residents already are making bicycling to work part of their daily routine. . . .

The Cape Girardeau County Administration Building in Jackson recently purchased a bicycle rack from Cape Bicycle Cycling and Fitness. Donna Oldham, administrative assistant in the county commission office, said three or four employees in the building who bike to work previously had to bring their bicycles into their offices or leave them in the hallway.

Tom Ertman, who works in the data processing department, was one of the employees who pushed for the rack. He said he's been riding his bicycle to and from work for a couple years and now it'll be more convenient.
A leadership development group that met recently in Cape Girardeau independently developed two ideas to encourage and promote bicycling in the area. According to SEMissourian article:
Two of the presentations went hand-in-hand: to develop more bicycle trails throughout the city and to create a bicycle rental program. The other two initiatives would encourage the community to buy goods locally and to educate people about the area's history.

The bicycle trail would complete the Cape La Croix trail by making sections of Sprigg Street, Lexington Avenue, Cape Rock Drive, Hopper Drive, East Rodney Drive and Independence Street bicycle friendly.

"Many of the streets are wide enough in Cape, we just don't have the proper signage," said Eric Redinger, a group presenter, who rode his bike to the podium.

The group's plan would cost $34,000 dollars, require no construction and be funded through the Missouri Department of Transportation and Cape Girardeau's Transportation Trust Fund.

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