Location: Leavenworth

Leavenworth County Approves "Bicycle Shoulders"

Commissioners in Leavenworth County, Kansas recently approved an updated Comprehensive Plan for the county. The updates included:

  • develop trail standards and require easements for trails on all new plats where appropriate and/or feasible
  • include bicycle shoulders on all county road where appropriate and/or feasible

In reading that, I was initially confused by the term “bicycle shoulder”, since I don’t recall ever seeing that phrase before.

According to additional info from the Leavenworth County Planning & Zoning Commission, the term “bicycle shoulder” is apparently a colloquialism, and there’s no standard definition associated with it. What they’re referring to as a “bicycle shoulder” is a 6-to-10 foot paved shoulder adjacent to and connected to the road.

So it’s apparently just an everyday shoulder that bicycles happen to be able to use (and hopefully designed with bicycle-friendly rumble strips). And since the shoulder would not be for the exclusive use of bicycles, the state’s “sidepath” law would not apply — that is, bikes would not be required to use the shoulder.

As for the “appropriate and/or feasible” language, here’s what that apparently means:

Commissioners J.C. Tellefson and John Flower said it would be up to staff and the board to decide if the additions of bike lanes or trail standards would be appropriate or feasible and cost would be considered in that decision.

There’s obviously plenty of gray area there for the county to decide that trails or shoulders are not appropriate or feasible anywhere, but still, this seems to be a step in the right direction!

Read more from the Tonganoxie Mirror.

Thanks for Dale Crawford and John Garlinger of KanBikeWalk for helping research this.

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]

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