Location: Lawrence

De Soto 83rd Street Bicycle Ban To Be Lifted

83rd Street in De Soto, KSThis sign on the right, located at 83rd Street and Kill Creek Road in De Soto, Kansas, will hopefully soon be nothing but a bad memory.

According to the De Soto Explorer:

The De Soto City Council agreed last Thursday that the ban of bicycles on 83rd Street from Kill Creek Road to the east city limits should be lifted.

The ban on the stretch of road was put in place in the late 1990s because the road was thought to be too narrow and hilly to be safe for bike riders.

However, the council agreed the ban should be lifted after Councilwoman Mitra Templin first asked if 82nd Street could be made a bike route. In the discussion that followed, Templin and other council members noted there had never been a vehicle-bicycle accident on the section of 83rd Street.

It was agreed city staff should bring back an ordinance lifting the ban. [read more]

The ban apparently grew out of a confrontation between motorists and cyclists in the 1990’s. Though this was before my time, we discussed the issue a bit with Johnson County Bicycle Club advocacy chair Dale Crawford in Kansas Cyclist Podcast: Episode 2 (the segment starts at about 1:15:00 into the podcast).

Basically, it sounds like some cyclists managed to antagonize a few members of the city council, who took their revenge by banning bicycles from that road. Those people are now long gone, and so the current council saw fit to lift the ban. Congratulations to them for doing the right thing, finally.

Note that the ban is technically still in place, pending the passage of a new ordinance. The picture above was taken on June 29th.

As far as I know, this is the only such road in the state of Kansas where bicycles are prohibited (other than interstate highways and a few non-interstate limited-access highways), but I wouldn’t be surprised to learn there are others. If you know of any please leave a comment!

Read more from kcbike.info.

Update, 07-03-2009 @ 4:30pm: Whoops, not so fast there, buster. I just found this via the De Soto Explorer Twitter feed: “DS City Council votes 3-2 not to rescind bicycle ban on 83rd St. Will reconsider once repaving finished in early fall.” Darn.

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About The Author

By Randy Rasa, editor/webmaster at Kansas Cyclist, the web's premier Kansas cycling information site, featuring authoritative guides to Kansas cycling clubs, bike shops, organized bike rides, touring, trails, and much more. [learn more]

6 responses to “De Soto 83rd Street Bicycle Ban To Be Lifted”

  1. Sean says:

    The law banning cyclists from 87th street was stupid and typical of the anti-cyclist mindset so prevalent in our society. It always made DeSoto look like a hick town. Yes there are rude cyclists, but in the minds of many motorists the mere existence of a cyclist on the road probably constitutes “rude” behavior (since, you know, it might actually require having to slow down to pass.) Through the years I’ve encountered a lot of rude motorists, people who’ve shouted insults and thought nothing of driving in a manner that could have killed me. Where are the laws banning motorists?

  2. Ray Craighead says:

    Thanks for the info, Randy. The ban is still in affect as of 8/23. I was unaware of it until an officer yelled something from his car as we met, then I saw the sign.

  3. Randy says:

    Funny thing about that sign: Bicycles are not, as I understand it, officially classified as “vehicles” in Kansas law (see Kansas Bicycling Statutes #8-1485). So therefore they’re not “non motorized vehicles”, and the text of the sign wouldn’t apply to them. Don’t know if anyone’s tried that approach to get around a ticket, but it might be worth a shot…

  4. Randy says:

    Can compromise be found on 83rd Street bike ban in De Soto, KS? Unsigned newspaper letter/editorial says “no“.

  5. Sam says:

    just so you are all clear. The ban was not put in place due to one incident, there were several incidents that lead up to the ban. The final straw was when a group of cyclists were riding down the road and made it impossible for any traffic to pass around it. The ban has been for safety reasons, not because we don’t like cyclists. We are worried about cyclists getting hit or, God forbid, killed on that road. With all the commercial trucks and cars that travel the road it is too dangerous for both cyclists and motorized vehicles to occupy the space. Sean by saying that we are a hick town is only supporting our belief that cyclists are rude and incosiderate. So don’t put down a town that is only looking out for the well being of our children and the defensless. Many of our businesses have reported that the so-called “economical profit” we would receive is non-existent. The businesses have only seen cyclists come in, dirty up the restroom, and fill up with free water. Where is the profit from this? We do not dislike cyclists, we merely don’t want them on that particular stretch of road. We have many cyclists throughout the community and we are very welcome to the cyclists, but 83rd street is a deathtrap for cyclists. We have been fighting for alternate routes that the cyclists may take instead of 83rd. So don’t think we aren’t trying and don’t think that we are hateful of cyclists, because you would be misinformed of the situation. Do not think negatively of the town that is only protecting the safety of both riders and drivers. Just try to make suggestions how to make it better.