Location: PR

Bike Routes Coming to Pratt

The city of Pratt, Kansas is taking steps to make itself more bicycle friendly, with bicycle route signage recently approved by the city council:

Bike Route SignThe Pratt City Commission approved a first step at its meeting Monday evening. In the near future, signs will go up designating Maple Street, from Main to K-61, Sixth Street, from Country Club Road to Fincham Street, and Fincham to First Street as bicycle routes.

If bicyclists think they have recognition on the road, they’re more likely to travel it, Bryan said. The hope is that signs will slow traffic, making the road safer for all.

Designation of bicycle routes will not prevent bicyclists from using other streets.

The Pratt Health Coalition will contribute about half of the $1200 cost for the signs, using grant funds provided by the South Central Community Foundation. The Coalition also plans to purchase bike racks to be installed on downtown sidewalks.

The Pratt Health Foundation is “encouraging the city to develop a 10-year plan for the expansion of the bicycle environment. More study will need to be done to determine if bicycle lanes can be added to existing streets. Bicycle lanes are typically four feet wide, with a two-foot buffer between the car zone and bike lane. Cities that have an extensive system of bike lanes have streets that were laid out for that purpose, Bryan said. Many Pratt streets aren’t wide enough.”

Pratt is looking to the recently-adopted Wichita Bike Plan for inspiration, but acknowledges that its financial resources are more limited: “We’re trying to come up with a plan that is cost effective and reasonable for all”.

It’s great to see smaller cities such as Pratt (population 6,880) willing to make modest investments in bicycling infrastructure, and to be willing to plan and work towards making their communities more bicycle-friendly.

A recent post by Pratt bike blogger Brandon Case, Three feet: it’s the law, shows that there’s still plenty of work to be done on the education front: “The guy in the pick up truck who passed me tonight as I headed back into Pratt a couple of miles south of town must not have studied his Kansas statutes. He passed my bicycle and I so closely that I felt the exhaust off of his tailpipe. No vehicle even approached on the opposite side of the highway. It makes you wonder what’s going through the head of someone who drives this way.”

Thankfully, at least in my experience, those types of incidents are very rare on Kansas roadways; most motorists are considerate and careful when passing bicyclists. But the ones that are not are the ones that stick in your memory, and are a menace to everyone else on the road.

Do “bike routes” signs solve that problem? Of course not. But a reminder that bicyclists are using the roads, whether on officially-designated routes or not, can’t hurt…

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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]

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