Missouri Bicycling, Walking, Running, and Trails News

Action Alert: Let MoDOT know YOUR priorities for I-70 innovation and MoDOT's future direction

Recently, MoDOT announced a visioning process for the I-70 corridor.  MoDOT is asking Missourians to submit their innovative ideas and vision for what I-70 should be.  With MoDOT currently undertaking a national search for a new MoDOT Director, the direction the agency takes on I-70 is likely to set the tone for MoDOT's immediate future.

TAKE ACTION: Take a few minutes to let MoDOT know your thoughts about the future of the I-70 corridor--and please include some of the innovative ideas we suggest below.

Take Action: What innovations for I-70 can you suggest that will improve bicycling and walking along this corridor?

Please take the time to respond to MoDOT's request for innovation on the I-70 corridor on its Road to Tomorrow website.

Below are some suggested innovations that you can submit to MoDOT:

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Advocacy Result: Complete Streets, Roll-On Bicycle in Senate Transportation Bill; TIGER out for now

Passage of the federal transportation reauthorization bill--which has had a very rocky time over the past half dozen years--took a major step forward today.  The Senate Commerce Committee passed its portion of the act, which contains several important provisions affecting bicycling and walking. Missouri Senators Blunt and McCaskill are both on the Commerce Committee and played a key role in the negotiations that led to the bill's passage today.

What went right?

First--the positives:

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Staying Safe in Traffic: What Cyclists Need to Know

Of all the things that keep non-cyclists from saddling up and riding, none is greater than the fear of being struck by a motor vehicle.  I understand.  It wasn’t too long ago that I felt the same way.  Now, not so much.  Part of the reason why is that I’ve ridden a lot of miles on the road.  I’ve also learned what’s likely to happen and how to avoid the bad stuff.  That’s what I want to share with you today.
First things first.  If you ride safely and with confidence, the odds of being struck by a motor vehicle are pretty low.  In fact, approximately 50% of all bicycle-automobile crashes are the fault of the cyclist, and these are 100% avoidable.   Ride with traffic, not against it.  Follow all traffic laws all the time, not just when somebody’s looking.  Pay particular attention around intersections and driveways.  Assume they can’t see you.  These easy steps you can take that will reduce the risk of a crash by close to 50% and they’re entirely within your control.
So what else do you need to know?  Here’s a short list to keep in mind before you head out for your next ride.
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How to start your community on the path to official Walk Friendly Community recognition - information and resources

Walk Friendly Communities is a relatively new national program dedicated to creating and recognizing cities that are working to create a great walking environment for their citizens.

The Kansas City area is taking steps to become a national leader in the Walk Friendly Communities movement, and we encourage cities all across Missouri to follow suit and work towards officially recognized Walk Friendly Community status.

Earlier this month, the Mid-America Council (MARC), KC Health Kids, and the City of Grandview organized a Walk Friendly Communities training. A large number of communities from across the Kansas City area were represented--and a few communities from across Missouri and Kansas.

Now MARC has released the materials from the training, which allow any community to start to move forward towards Walk Friendly Community recognition:

Walk Friendly Communities is a national program that recognizes communities that show commitment to improving walkability and pedestrian safety with a comprehensive set of programs, plans and policies. The program can award different levels of recognition: Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum.

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ALERT: Federal funding for bicycling and walking under attack in Washington DC--by Missouri Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler

Federal funding for bicycling and walking--the primary funding source for better, safer bicycling and walking in America (and Missouri) today--is currently under attack in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Unfortunately, Missouri Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler has played a key role in this--most recently, she has  co-sponsored a bill to completely eliminate the Transportation Alternatives Program, the primary source of federal transportation funding for biking and walking. 

We need to send a strong message to Missouri members of Congress on this -- especially include Congresswoman Hartzler.  We need Missouri's members of Congress to take a leadership role in SUPPORTING biking and walking, not opposing it.

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Bicycle Handling Skills are an Important Part of Safe Cycling

One way to assure that you stay safe while riding is to understand and practice the proper techniques of bicycle handling.  This isn't always intuitive and you probably were never taught this when you first learned to ride a bicycle.  If you're like most people you've adapted over time.

Bicycle handling is important because it's one of the ways you communicate with other road users while on the bike.  If you appear confident and in control in traffic, you're sending a subtle yet powerful message that you belong on the road.  Unfortunately, the opposite is also true.  Here are the critical skills to focus on and practice in order to better handle your bicycle and become a more complete cyclist.

Starting and Stopping

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Bicycle Friendly State Rankings: Missouri remains 34th in rank, gains 4 points; What is our priority list for improving our ranking?

The League of American Bicyclists has announced the Bicycle Friendly State scores and rankings for 2015.  Missouri is still 34th out of the 50 states in rankings, though we gained 4 points (out of 100) from 2014 to 2015--a significant gain.  The 2015 score sheet for Missouri summarizes Missouri's ranking and goals.

In general, the trend that we have seen since Missouri reached its high water mark in the BFS state rankings (17th in 2009) continues: Missouri is improving the situation for bicycling slowly, but other states are improving their bicycle accommodations much faster.

Thus, Missouri scores noticeably better than last year--a 4 point increase is more than 10% in a single year--but our state ranking does not change because the 33 states ahead of us are improving even faster.

So we have our work cut our for us--because people want to live and like to live where they and their families can walk and bicycle safely. 

What changes do we need to make to improve bicycle safety and access in Missouri--to bring Missouri on par with other states, and to reach our goal of Gold Level Bicycle Friendly status for Missouri?

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Legislative session ends today: Progress on funding, penalties for dangerous drivers, bike/ped issues, stopped by Senate shutdown

Today is the last day of the 2015 Missouri legislative session. What's going on in the General Assembly and with our legislative priorities?

The major news: A filibuster in the Senate is halting all legislative action there--and the Senators have vowed to continue the slowdown until the end of the legislative session at 6pm today.

Unless the filibuster is broken--which appears to be unlikely at this time--there is 0% chance of passing the MoDOT fuel tax increase or any of the bills we have been supporting before session ends at 6pm today.   So we'll be back to work on these issues and more next year!  The progress we made this year puts us in good stead for future years.

What bills have we been working on this year and where do we stand on each issue?

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Bike Month 2015: Have your city or town officially declare May as Bike Month

May is National Bike Month!  Time to get your bike out and take a ride.

During Bike Month, one way you can help move bicycling forward in Missouri is both easy and effective:  Ask your city council member or mayor to issue a resolution or proclamation declaring May as Bicycle Month in your city or town--or county, church, business, social group or any other organization. 

Most of these proclamations and resolutions are made by a citizen simply contacting a city council member or the mayor, asking the city to make the proclamation or resolution, and including some sample text for the proclamation or resolution.

Here are some sample proclamations/resolutions that you can modify and adapt for your city and ask your city council member to issue the proclamation or pass the resolution:

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Safe Cycling 101: Basic Bicycle Handling

This is the fifth article in an eleven article series on Traffic Skills 101, the League of American Bicyclist's premier vehicular cycling course.  For more information, please contact the author, visit MoBikeFed's Bicycling Safety and Skills Page, or visit the Bike League's website.


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ADVOCACY ALERT: Ask Senators Blunt & McCaskill to Cosponsor better biking/walking

Today the League of American Bicyclists is asking Senators to co-sponsor the Transportation Alternatives Improvement Act (TAPIA)--to improve and fix problems with the primary source of bicycle and pedestrian funding across the U.S. and in Missouri.

At the National Bike Summit in March, we met with both Senator McCaskill and Senator Blunt--and ask them to co-sponsor TAPIA.  Now they need to hear from you--it will help seal the deal.

Click here to send your message to our Senators in Washington DC, that Missourians support better, safer bicycling and walking.


More details from Caron Whittaker of the League:

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ALERT: Capitol Day Today; Please contact your Missouri legislators, ask them to support bicycling & wlaking

Monday April 13th is Bicycle & Pedestrian Day at the Capitol in Jefferson City.  We'll be contacting every legislative office in Jefferson City Monday and making follow-up visits and testifying at Committee hearings Tuesday, April 14th.  Please take a few minutes to email and/or call your Missouri Senator and Representative this week to back up our personal visits!

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