St Charles County Bicycle Ban - MoBikeFed's suggested improvements to St Charles County's bicycle law

St Charles County proposes bicycle ban
St Charles County proposes bicycle ban
Tonight is the first of three meetings planned by St Charles County Commissioners to discuss a proposed bicycle ban on several key roads in the county as well as two alternative proposals.

Each of these proposals, as currently formulated, has serious problems.

One of the three proposals--to update St Charles County's code with updated regulations concerning bicycling--has some real promise for improving safety for bicyclists and for motorists in St Charles County. However, the current proposal under consideration--which includes requirements for bicycles to carry safety flags and mirrors, ride within 20 inches of the fog line, and never ride abreast, but only on certain specified roads within the county--has serious problems.

One of the problems is that the proposal contradicts state bicycle law in several particulars. That will open the law to legal challenge--one very likely to succeed--if the proposal passes in its current form.

The other problem is that the proposal does not even address several important issues that are addressed in the bicycle-related laws of most municipalities across Missouri and the U.S.

MoBikeFed has drafted a sample update to St Charles County bicycle law (PDF format) that will update the County's bicycle law to bring it into conformity with state bicycle law, address several important safety issues, and clarify others.

Highlights of MoBikeFed's proposed changes:

  • Addresses several important safety issues that are not addressed in current St Charles County law or any of the currently proposed changes to the law:
    • Requires working brakes for bicycles
    • Requires bicycles to use lights at night
    • Bans bicycling while holding onto a motor vehicle
    • Requires bicycles to signal turns
    • Requires bicycles to generally follow all applicable rules of the road
  • Addresses the main concerns expressed by St Charles County Council members about bicycling in the county:
    • Riding to the right required (in conformity with state law--the current proposal contradicts state bicycle law)
    • Strict rule for riding abreast and prohibiting it when impeding other traffic (in conformity with state law--the current proposal contradicts state bicycle law)
  • Suggests creation of a "diversion program" for bicyclists who break the law to send the law-breaking bicyclists to an education program where they learn the rules of the road. This has been shown in other jurisdictions to have the highest probability of changing bicyclist behavior for the better in the long term.

Download/view MoBikeFed's draft St Charles County Bicycle Law Update (PDF format)