Bicycle ban in De Soto, KS, "re-discussed"

The De Soto Explorer is covering the next step in the De Soto Bicycle Ban case.

De Soto has banned bicycling on 83rd Street through the city for over a decade.  It is one of the few roads or streets in all of Kansas and Missouri with a bicycle ban.  It is the only city we know of that bans bicycles from a considerable length of road without any realistic alternative routes available.

De Soto, KS
De Soto, KS

(Several cities in Missouri ban bicycles on a few blocks of the downtown area, most likely in response to teen-age bike-riding troublemakers at some point in history.)

According to the Explorer:

[T]he council . . . heard nearly an hour's worth of feedback from De Soto citizens regarding the council's decision to life the bicycle ban on 83rd Street.

Several members of the public came forward during the call to the public to voice complaints with the decision the council made, many citing their opinion that opening the road to cyclists will make an already dangerous road even more so.

"This is a major public safety issue now," said former city councilman Tim Maniez. "There's no room on that road for vehicles and bicycles, there's no place to go if something goes wrong." . . .

De Soto resident and member of the Planning Commission Bob Garrett also spoke before the council during the regular meeting regarding his concern for public safety and his belief that the council did not act in the community's best interest when repealing the ban. . . .

"Lifting this ban is giving a right back to the people that was taken away from them," she said. "Maybe it isn't the safest road to ride but it is the right of any cyclist to do so. The responsibility for safety must be in the hands of every rider and driver, I drive that road every day and I'm careful, just like I am on every road in Kansas. I keep my eyes open and follow the laws."

Discussion of the matter ended with former councilman Maniez inquiring about the possibility of the citizens repealing the council's decision or at least requesting a public hearing to discuss the matter further. Both are possibiliites, according to Reavey, so long as Maniez and anyone else interested can collect a petition with the signatures of at least 10 percent of the residents who voted in the last election.


We'll simply repeat the comment we made when De Soto (finally!) voted to lift this absurd bicycle ban back in September:


There is no good alternative route through that part of the county, without making a very long detour, and the bicycle ban effectively eliminated several good bicycle routes and loops that made a small connection via 83rd Street.

And 8rd Street itself, while not ideal for novice cyclists, is no better or worse as a bicycle route than numerous low- and moderate- traffic roads and highways around Missouri and Kansas.  If bicycling were eliminated on all such routes, bicycling would become an impossible activity.

Congratulations and our commendation to the De Soto city council for removing this long-standing ban, and making De Soto more welcoming for bicycles.

Other cities across the metro area and across both Missouri and Kansas are going in the opposite direction of De Soto--they are working their tails off to make their cities and towns inviting and safe for bicycling and walking.

That's because they know that the city's vitality and health--both physical and economic--depend on making their community a place people want to live.

And people--barring a few extreme crazies, who all seem to find their way onto newspaper comment sections and into city council meetings--want to live where they can safely bicycle and walk.  It's part of what makes a community a great place to live.

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