State Representative to Introduce Bicycle Detour Bill

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COLUMBIA - Republican Missouri Rep. Rick Brattin has plans to introduce a bill that would require bicyclists to use alternate routes on certain state roads that are deemed too dangerous to hold both vehicles and bicycles.

Rep. Brattin said he will start talking with the Missouri Department of Transportation on Tuesday to work out details of the bill.

"I've just had a lot of constituents complaining that they're popping over hills having to slam on brakes, you know, and there's just no escape route with, like I said, with no shoulder," said Brattin who represents much of Cass County.

Brattin said he hopes in working with MoDot they create a set standard to determine if a road is dangerous. "I don't think we should be putting my family or anybody else's family that's on the roadway in danger when it's a dangerous road," said Brattin.

Even though no official plan has been introduced to the Missouri House of Representatives, some bicyclists are not happy with the idea.

"There are rules that apply to [bicycle riding] that are already in the Missouri traffic code," said long time cyclist Bob Smith. "We encourage people to follow the rules. It's an education process for both drivers and riders."

Smith, who serves as treasurer for the Columbia Bicycle Club, said he understands that some state roads are not ideal for bicycle riding but stresses that problems only arise when motorists and bicyclists do not obey the rules of the road.

If the bill is introduced and passed it would force many cyclists onto bike trails and other off-road paths, something that Smith can be limiting. "Trail riding is a good place for beginners to start to learn how to ride. But you start moving into road riding, you're going different places," said Smith.

Rep. Brattin said he hopes to work with riders to come up with the best possible solution for all.

He said he does not have a time frame as to when he plans on introducing a bill.

MoDot reported 581 bicycle involved automotive accidents in 2011.