St. Charles, Mo, Proposes Banning Cyclists Instead of Tackling Dangerous Driving

st-charles-missouri-cycling-banFollowing from the ban of bikes in Black Hawk, Colorado, St. Charles County in Missouri is considering banning bicycles on all roads without a shoulder. The plan has been proposed by County Councilman Joe Brazil. After an apparently heated discussion at Monday night’s council meeting the council have decided to delay, to consider expanding the scope of the ban!

Brazil revealed his staggering short sightedness when he told STLToday “You’re going 55 (mph) and there’s absolute limited sight distance, you come around a corner and come upon a bike in seconds and you have to react.”

It not rocket science but the speed limit is just that, a limit, and car drivers have a responsibility to lower their speed to suit how far they can see ahead. The problem isn’t removed by taking bikes off the road, you are still left with car drivers driving too fast for the road conditions. What if someone has broken down, or there is an animal on the road? Is Brazil to legislate against that too?

Post your comments and let us and everyone who reads this know your thoughts.

Comments

David Butler - 07/13/10 - 5:29pm

Living and riding in Boulder County, Colorado, where we supposedly have it good compared with others, I am continually challenged by drivers for a right to the road. Just going down to my local grocer can be a hair-raising experience. There is a lot of disrespect here and elsewhere for cyclists. The bottom line is, people need to slow the f*** down! Everyone is always in such a hurry, for what I could care less, there is no reason good enough to almost run some human or animal over.

topmounter - 07/13/10 - 6:22pm

Good to see they got themselves some real thinkin’ folks there on the city council in St. Charles, Missery.

MO - 07/13/10 - 7:21pm

jbrazil@sccmo.org

Indiefab - 07/13/10 - 7:53pm

Sweet!! I’m only 3 hours away and I’ve been looking for a reason for a critical mass.

Daniel - 07/13/10 - 8:00pm

These politicians are going to feel so stupid when they realize how powerful bicycle riders and environmentalists will be in a few years. Hello; networks like NBC even display their logo in GREEN these days. A decision like this is going to hurt their careers big time. Cyclists aren’t going to forget this and the media is going to pounce on this too. If any politicians are reading this; don’t make a silly mistake that could cost you your job.

chris - 07/13/10 - 8:27pm

I attended this meeting, and it was very obvious it was NOT about safety issues and all about irritation. Not one person(that I remember) speaking for the ban brought up lowering the speed limit. We talked to a very nice farmer afterwards who told us when it was brought up in his town meeting, an actual ban was not the idea. He was just frustrated with RAAM essentially shutting down his roads for 5 days. He was against government intrusion and more laws in his area. Joe Brazil orchestrated the beginning speaker, bringing in a family whose 16yr old daughter was in an accident. No mention of details: If there was speeding involved, alcohol(I don’t think), whether the cyclist was a cyclist or just a kid on a bike, or whether the fact she JUST got her license had anything to do with it. Knew full well you couldn’t question any of it without coming across unsympathetic. Of course we were sympathetic to the family and the child. But no details on how the accident happened? MODOT has already done a study and said the only way to truly change the safety of these roads has to include a speed limit reduction. Apparently the speakers moved out there to avoid the busy lifestyle of the city. Unless your in your car speeding back and forth from the city.

Bysicklyer - 07/13/10 - 8:36pm

Joe Brazil (is he related to Jim Ecuador?) should consider applying his amazing leadership and problem solving skills in new areas. For instance — we have thousands of barrels of crude oil blowing into the gulf every hour — perhaps Joe could help BP convince America that the problem is caused by salt water contaminating an otherwise excellent oil source — DRAIN THE GULF!!!! Or how about breathing through your nose, Joe, instead of your mouth — that would be something that your political partners might find impressive.

Ben - 07/13/10 - 9:30pm

Great reason to not move to cities that ban bicycles. You might want to move out if you’re there already.

billh - 07/13/10 - 10:08pm

you can call Council Member Brazil and tell him what you think . . .

Joe Brazil’s cell # is 636-399-2975

kirkslade - 07/13/10 - 10:43pm

They should ban biking. They should ban biking in all the United States. We can all stay home and get even fatter and uglier and blame every one else. NOT!

Spencer - 07/13/10 - 11:01pm

With so much that Ray LaHood, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, is doing to include cycling in infrastructure discussions, I’m AMAZED that local “leaders” wallow in ignorance. Such short-sightedness.

morpheous - 07/14/10 - 1:23am

Driving the speed limit is not “dangerous driving”, this is a perfectly reasonable ban, shoulderless roads, blind corners, and the inherent speed disparity between bicycles and cars on a 55 mph bi-way are legitimate reasons to prevent a disaster in the making. It is a ridiculous argument to say that riding bicycles on these type roads is in any way reasonable or safe. It causes a moving impedance to powered traffic, will create situations of avoidance that will take cars/trucks into oncoming lanes to miss the bicycles, which unfairly risks many lives for the sake of a single selfish bike ride. Bicyclists dont want to ride on designated bike trails because of the foot/family/rollerblade traffic impedances, the very same reason that powered vehicle operators dont want to have the additional stress of having to avoid the bicycle traffic. This is a good precedent and I hope it spreads. Human powered vehicles do not belong on roads with this large of a speed disparity, that is why they are prohibited from highways as well.

Jon - 07/14/10 - 1:42am

makes me think of the film Footloose

NM - 07/14/10 - 2:04am

We just need a good lawyer with strong Constitutional Law chops to do a little pro-bono work in exchange for goodwill and self-promotion.

Since St. Charles is right next to border with Illinois, it shouldn’t be too hard to frame this as a Dormant Commerce Clause violation.

In the meantime, it probably would make more sense for the voters of St. Charles to move a few punks out of office than surrender the city to them.

Ronnie D - 07/14/10 - 6:00am

In Chattanoga we have a pretty old charity century (3 state 3mountain) and recently a city official in the neighboring county is trying to have bikes banned from using the ledgedary 12-18% climb up Burkhaulter’s Gap. I’m worried they will be able to do something similar to Blackhawk.

Rob B - 07/14/10 - 6:19am

It’s about time they got rid of bikes off the street. Motorbikes are a hassle to motorists so ban them. Next they ought to get rid of pedestrians too. People on foot are even worse than people on bikes when it comes to interferreing with traffic so out they go – there should be no one outside! Hey that way foot paths could be paved and theyd get an extra lane in each street. With more room for cars, if they have public transport there it will no longer be needed…

NM - 07/14/10 - 8:11am

@morpheous:

It’s called Basic Speed Law. If you’re driving fast enough that you can’t safely deal with slow or stopped traffic, that’s both illegal irrespective of the limit and negligence per se on the part of the driver if something happens. The limit is literally just that – an upper limit. It is not a license to drive at that speed.

Chris - 07/14/10 - 8:23am

If a motorist cannot react safely to a bicycle on a particular road due to the nature of the road, then the bicycles should be banned? (As has been point out) How is a bicycle on the road any different than wildlife (highly unpredictable) or disabled vehicle (takes up way more space)? So what is the point of a speed limit…”Posted maximum speeds are normally based on ideal driving conditions. Drivers are also required to not exceed a safe speed for the conditions, a requirement referred to in the United States as the basic rule, but more generally in common law as the reasonable man requirement”…”No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable… and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property”. Bottom line, if a vehicle’s speed is a significant contributing factor in any accident, then the person was speeding, despite whether or not the person was in violation of the posted speed limit or not. They just need to lower the speed limit on that road, give tickets for speeding, use the funds to build some shoulders for the cyclists, and hey, what do you know, you can safely raise the speed limits again.

Don - 07/14/10 - 9:04am

I am just completely blown away at peoples arrogance, ignorance, and lack of intelligent decision making.
Once again another example of liberals changing laws and rules to suit their distorted needs.

morpheous - 07/14/10 - 9:19am

@NM right, but slow or stopped traffic on a 55mph road is the exception. Allowing bicycles on this road will make it the norm. That is the issue.

Chris - 07/14/10 - 9:41am

morpheous you’re missing the point. It doesn’t matter whats in the road, if a driver cannot react properly because of the speed they’re travelling at, then they’re going to fast.

VoodooRider - 07/14/10 - 10:28am

@morpheous:

Are bike on the roads the norm currently? Are there more bikes than cars? This is about having the freedom and right to use the roads, as opposed to banning cyclists from using the roads. Freedom is the discussion here. The fact that this has come up reminds me of banning other groups from parts of the south… and will only lead to more animosity from drivers who disrespect the rights of non-automotive road users since the government now says it’s ok. The “safety” of cyclists doesn’t mean we should legislate more laws against user groups. Should we ban tractors? Howbout runners or Amish?

Much of my extended family lives in this area, so I recognize the danger of many of their roads – I would avoid them at all costs. There are many backroads in Missouri that are wonderful to ride, but they don’t have shoulders and would be banned. Inevitably we need to connect these country roads with an occasional highway.
Slowing the speed limit and enforcing reckless driving laws would be appropriate. Education of cyclists to respect the narrow roads and ride single-file when cars are around is also appropriate. We need to work together to SHARE the road – we all pay for it.

It’s funny how conservative politicians are all against big government until they decide to spread a little hate and disrespect to further their own skewed vision of the world.

Androo - 07/14/10 - 10:40am

@morpheous

I’m not familiar with the road in question, but if they’re considering the ban now, aren’t bicycles already allowed on the road? And I have a feeling that if bicycles were actually the norm anywhere in that entire county, no one would be considering the ban in the first place.

…that said, if there’s no shoulder and it’s a fast road, I don’t really see why any cyclist with an interest in self-preservation would _want_ to ride on it, but that’s another matter.

morpheous - 07/14/10 - 10:59am

Androo you are onto the actual point. Pitting vehicles that move at 10-20 mph against vehicles that move at 45-60 mph in the same space is just a bad proposition (for the slow moving ones) and I am sure that is the reasoning of the judge (which is sound). Of course bicyclists have rights, and pax taxes etc. But as a cyclist, you have to understand that you are playing russian roulette these days in a situation like this. Powered vehicle Drivers have never before in history been more inattentive. It poses a serious risk for all on the road to take avoidance measures at these speeds. Most car/truck drivers in the USA are not talented or proficient enough to do so safely. The judge is trying to protect cyclists not oppress them.

NM - 07/14/10 - 10:59am

@morpheous:
I sincerely doubt they’re the norm now (in their current legal state). In most cases, you’re more likely to encounter a slow truck on the road than a bicyclist, and then be held up longer by said truck – there’s a common but irrational reaction that being bottled up by a slow moving truck is fine, but it’s somehow a crime against nature to momentarily slow down enough to pass a cyclist safely.

Chris - 07/14/10 - 1:24pm

morpheous – You are correct, there is much more potential now for people to be distracted and inattentive than ever. However, simply removing bikes and calling it ‘protection’ is not the correct action. The correct action would to address the issue at hand. Impose laws against talking on cell phones, texting, and yes, lowering the speed limit to a reasonable limit. Because if they cannot take accident avoidance measures at the speed at which they are traveling, then they are traveling too fast and are speeding. If you get a fever, do you simply put ice on your head and call it a day, or do you address the issue and go to the doctor and get antibiotics? There is now, and will always be, a measure of risk involved with riding your bike, whether on the street, trail, or bike path, and that is upon the individual to assess that risk and make that decision for themselves. PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY. That is the name of the game here. Both for the cyclists and the motorists.

morpheous - 07/14/10 - 4:14pm

Chris,
Addressing the the driving issues that you cite would be ideal, but will never happen here as they would disqualify most American drivers. As we are first and foremost a consumer economy, requiring oil fed mobility to support spending and procuring materials, services, and goods (not to mention profiting from mobile communications subscription services whilst coordinating such activity) it will be a cold day in hell before our legislators approach a real and safe driving qualification, graduated liscencing and on going proficiency process. The US quite simply needs as many people on the road in cars as possible to bolster the economy, even at the expense of safety (this is nothing new and by design). It is proven out every day as inexperienced, relatively untrained, distracted drivers serve and weave all over the roads and slam into stationary objects (mostly other cars, motorcycles, people, and traffic in front of them) . The number of accidents is soaring with the onset of mobile email and texting. If it has not already eclipsed drunk driving as the new leading death threat on the road I would be astonished. Personal responsibility is also a foreign concept to most Americans, unfortunate, but a reality. Given these pragmatic situations, the best way to mitigate the risk, is to remove it. It is a sad state, but I still contend that the Judge is trying to prevent injury to all potentially, by recognizing the limitations of our current society. Its an easier fix than re-designing the US economy.

NM - 07/15/10 - 1:41am

Lets at least be crystal clear about one thing. There is no judgment here. This is a proposed legislative action by city politicians and not a legal ruling by a member of the state or federal judiciary.

pedalingyak - 07/17/10 - 1:08am

Other than the interstate where only a certain minimal sized engine is allowed I am going to ride wherever I please. Other people don’t get to make up their minds about where I can ride my bike. If a motorist is not driving in a manner that respects the rights and safety of others, then they should have their license revoked. The roads are for the privilege of transportation, not for driving or riding any vehicle that puts others at risk or is in a manner that is discourteous to other road users. The road is not a race track and cyclists must become single file when they know a passing vehicle is approaching. There should never be any roads off limits to cyclists. Cyclists pay taxes and drive cars too. They probably have a greater right to be on the road than cars as bicycles do not cause wear and tear damage to the roads. Any such law should be fought in the supreme court. I would hate to have to ride my bike wondering if a cop would pull me over.

Dave Robertson - 08/02/10 - 11:08pm

Joe Brazil is a councilman representing a district with a population density of 1 person per 20 square miles. Defiance Missouri. See if you can even find it on a map.
The area in question is in Missouri wine country with several wineries that draw multitudes out on the week-ends. Many leave these wineries 3 sheets to the wind and drive the roads in question. Many ride motorcycles. Many die each year from unsafe speeds on winding blind roads with alcohol filling their bloodstream.
Close the wineries. Ban the motorcycles. Send Joe Brazil a bike so he can exercise his fat butt and get his mind clear.

ridered517 - 08/09/10 - 7:36pm

I hope that city is planning on giving all the cyclist gas cards if there stupid law goes through. We law ourselves to death. Sounds like it to me that the city need to put in bike lanes and other ways to accommodate the bike riders. I don’t ride my bike to go green, i chose to ride it because its fun and keeps me healthy!

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