Stinging Supreme Court ruling overturns Colorado bicycle ban - just as a lawmaker readies to introduce a Missouri bicycle ban

This week we have been talking about Missouri Representative Rick Brattin's stated intention to introduce a bill banning bicycles on certain roads in Missouri--and this same week a controversial bicycle ban in Colorado has been overturned by the state Supreme Court. The Court issued a strong, even stinging, ruling against the efforts of the City of Black Hawk to ban bicyclists from city streets.

No Bicycles by Tom Magliery on FlickR,
No Bicycles by Tom Magliery on FlickR,

The Denver Post summarized the court's ruling, which completely overturned the municipal bicycle ban:

The court ruling also noted a "ripple effect" that resonated beyond Black Hawk, saying that the ban essentially prohibited bike access to Central City and "may also affect a bicyclist's decision to visit other mountain towns, such as Nederland, that benefit from recreational tourism."

"Because of Black Hawk's ordinance and the strong negative public perception of the bicycle ban, especially by bicyclists, the ordinance will likely cause future bicycle tours to bypass the area entirely, resulting in a 'ripple effect' harming nearly communities that rely on additional tourism," read the court's decision, written by Justice Gregory Hobbs.

The court's decision several times noted the state legislature's longtime efforts to promote and protect cycling as a viable mode of transportation.

"Everybody has to realize that bikes are the same as cars and have a right to be there," Bicycle Colorado executive director Dan Grunig said. "The Supreme Court ruling really affirmed the share-the-road law the state has passed. This may make Colorado's laws some of the most bicycle friendly in the nation because they have an affirmation from the Supreme Court."

The ripple effect will happen in Missouri as well.  Several towns near Highway 150 (the cause of the Missouri Bicycle Ban controversy) promote themselves as livable cities.  Outdoor recreational opportunities like bicycling playing an important role in the city's economic appeal.  And agencies like MoDOT have been working hard to gather support from bicyclists, pedestrians, transit users, and other diverse groups for their new $8 billion transportation funding package.

An effort to ban bicycling on certain state roads in Missouri poors cold water on both those efforts.

The Kansas Supreme Court said, "Public streets are highways, and every citizen has a right to use them."  The Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation intends to defend that right against any attempt by our politicians or elected leaders to limit it.  But we need your help--please support our work.


Photo credit: No Bicycles by Tom Magliery on FlickR. License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 2.0.