MoBikeFed explains bicycle laws

In the aftermath of a recent tragic fatality of a bicyclist in Columbia, a police official made unfortunate and incorrect remarks about the issue of bicyclists riding on major highways like Hwy 63 near Columbia.

After discussion with local bicyclists and groups, the Missouri Bicycle Federation has submitted the following informational letter to local media outlets to correct this erroneous information:


In the Tribune's coverage of the death of bicyclist Robert Duke on Hwy 63, a Columbia police official indicated that "people are not supposed to ride bicycles along major highways" and "There's no reason for someone on a bicycle to be on Highway 63".

In fact, sections 307.190-191 of the Missouri code allow bicyclists to operate on roads like Hwy 63. In Missouri, bicycling is prohibited only in those very few places where "No Bicycling" signs are displayed and in the travel lanes of interstate highways (due to minimum speed of 40 MPH--see 304.011 RSMo).

Extensive studies of bicycling on limited-access highways with wide shoulders have been done by traffic engineers. These studies compare rates of bicycling injuries and fatalities on different types of roads.

For automobiles, freeways have higher speeds but lower death and injury rates.

The studies show the same is true for bicyclists riding along roads like Hwy 63: Wide shoulders, good sight lines, and absence of intersection conflicts mean that responsible adults bicycling along these highways are as safe as--even safer than--those bicycling on city streets or quiet country roads.

What is difficult and dangerous for those who walk, bicycle, and drive is *crossing* such a high-speed highway.

The numerous recent bicycle and pedestrian fatalities in this area show that, like it or not, many are walking and bicycling there.

Officials need to re-think the wisdom of a 70 MPH highway in a populated area. Even I-70 through Columbia has a lower speed limit!

Dr. Brent D. Hugh
Executive Director
Missouri Bicycle Federation
5916 Arlington Ave
Raytown, Missouri