Location: Lawrence

De Soto Reaffirms 83rd Street Bicycle Ban

Earlier this year, the De Soto, Kansas city council agreed to lift the bicycle ban on 83rd Street east of De Soto.

Shortly thereafter, they changed their minds, and voted to keep the ban in place, but to reconsider the issue after 83rd Street was repaved.

Well, repaving is now complete, and the council has reconsidered the issue:

83rd Street in De Soto, KSThe De Soto City Council agreed Thursday there should be an east-west bicycle route through east De Soto but not on 83rd Street despite recent upgrades.

The council agreed last summer for reconsider the ban once the improvements to the street were finished. With the project that resurfaced the street and improved drainage down to a few remaining punch-list items, the council reconsidered the ban unpopular with bicycle enthusiasts because it closes the only viable route connecting northwestern Johnson County with urban centers to the east.

Arguing to lift the ban was Councilwoman Mitra Templin. The section on 83rd Street was no narrower than others in town where bicycling is allowed, she said.

Bicyclers are always aware they are riding at their own risk, Templin said. That would be true of the section 83rd Street because the city would warn bicyclers that riding on the road wasn’t encouraged should the ban was lifted, she said.

The argument that the ban protected drivers from hitting bicyclers was awarding inattentive driving, Templin said.

But Council members Betty Cannon, Mike Drennon and Ron McDaniel were unconvinced. The street improvements were nice, they didn’t eliminate its hills or widen the roadway, they said.

They were also concerned lifting the ban would make the street popular with bicycle clubs from eastern Johnson County and put more bicycle traffic on the street.

Oh no! Allowing bicycles would result in more bicycle traffic? How dreadful!

This is nuts. I’ve driven that road many times, and it’s no more narrow or hilly than hundreds of other roads across the state. The bicycle ban is absurd.

But, with the repaving of the road, De Soto had the perfect opportunity to not only replace the pavement, but improve the road by adding shoulders. Instead, they chose to keep the antiquated road design and simply ban non-motorized traffic.

There really is no existing alternate route that doesn’t take cyclists several miles out of the way and expose them to some rather steep hills — and the roads on this route are far hillier and twistier than 83rd Street!

I’ve heard some cyclists suggest boycotting De Soto — don’t spend any money there, and take every opportunity to tell them what they’re missing out on.

That’s probably a good idea. Money talks. An even better idea would be to write or call the De Soto city council members and tell them how you feel. Here is their contact info:

Read more on the issue from the De Soto Explorer.

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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 Reaffirms 83rd Street Bicycle Ban”

  1. Dave says:

    If a bicycle is considered a motor vehicle by the State of Kansas and obliged to follow the rules and regulations of the State, then how does this type of law stand? Seems to me that if it is proven that the roads in Desoto are no narrower, hillier, or twistier, than say, Lenexa, Shawnee, Gardner, Olathe, Mission Hills then is there really a legal standing for this type of thing? Seems to me one could claim its prejudice, or something like that.

  2. Randy says:

    A bicycle is not a motor vehicle, nor, as I understand it, is it even classified as a “vehicle” (see 8-1485).

    I don’t know the wording of De Soto’s statute, but it seems to me that their sign, at least, makes very little sense…

  3. Randy says:

    A letter to the editor in the De Soto newspaper from a local citizen (Missed Opportunity): “De Soto needs to be thinking about its image, and what a positive “welcoming image” could bring it. Bike riders are healthy, good-natured people who could bring economic opportunity to De Soto. Bike riders don’t zoom by as fast as cars do. They actually take time to enjoy their surroundings. Don’t let 83rd Street be a missed opportunity.”

  4. Karl says:

    Is it time for someone to organize a Critical Mass: De Soto?

  5. Jao says:

    Anyone interested in purchasing bumper stickers that read: Bicyclists boycotting De Soto merchants.

  6. Ryan says:

    I actually found this section on the 4th of July morning and found a nice (and I’m sure totally legal) firworks stand. Had I known of the ban and avoided that road, I would have missed the stand and not spent any money there later that day. DeSoto seems to be stuck in the dark ages economically.