Frontenac proposes, then withdraws, bad bicycle bill

Thanks to an alert citizen, hundreds of messages from citizen advocates, and the work of MoBikeFed, the St. Louis Bicycle Federation, and TrailNet, a bicycle bill proposed for Frontenac, Missouri, has been permanently defeated.

The bill would have forced bicyclists to always ride to the extreme right, even when doing so is dangerous, and removed the ability of bicyclists to ride abreast when not impeding traffic.

Here are the details:
  • Friday - received info about a proposed bicycle bill from alert MoBikeFed supporter Thomas Mug, a Frontenac citizen
  • Saturday/Sunday - we read the proposed law (in between working 12 hour shifts at the Tour of Missouri), analyzed it, and realized it had serious flaws
  • Monday - issued advocacy alerts, coordinated among local & state advocacy groups, hundreds of citizen email & phone responses to Frontenac
  • Tuesday - bill withdrawn permanently; St. Louis Bicycle Federation & TrailNet to work with Frontenac on better alternative solutions
It took a lot of organizational capacity to make that happen in such a short amount of time. Missouri Bicycle Federation, St. Louis Bicycle Federation, and St. Louis's TrailNet have been working hard over the years to create that capacity.

(And frankly that wasn't easy, when two of the recipients of the message were out of town and with limited internet connectivity, working daily 14+ hour shifts with the Tour of Missouri, others were out of town on vacation, and everyone else was off for the weekend--but still we pulled it off somehow!)

In particular, what it took to make this happen:
  • Advocacy organizations are in place
  • We cooperate and work together on numerous issues
  • We all have grown to be knowledgeable and experienced in legislative issues
  • MoBikeFed, the St. Louis Bicycle Federation, and TrailNet each have extensive contact and communications systems in place.
For instance, thanks to or stalwart members and supporters, MoBikeFed (always cooperating with other local & regional groups that share our interests) is routinely able to produce hundreds or thousands of citizen inputs on key issues:
  • 300 in 5 days for a highway planned with no bike/ped
  • 500 in five days for a "Complete Streets" initiative
  • 1000 in one month for the "Complete the Katy Trail" initiative
It isn't easy to do this. It takes organization, knowledge, the ability to communicate clearly and effectively with a large network of concerned citizens, and the capacity to then follow up the initial citizen-advocacy response with personal contact to elected officials and city staff.

That is the kind of effective advocacy you get when you support MoBikeFed and local advocacy organizations like the St. Louis Regional Bicycle Federation and Trailnet.

All of the details about the proposed Frontenac law, and the problems with it, are in MoBikeFed's Advocacy Alert on the issue.

And THANK YOU to all who took the time to email, write, or call Frontenac officials.

When citizens communicate with their elected officials, it DOES make a difference!

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