Kansas Bike/Ped News, February 2013

The Kansas Bike/Ped News is published by KanBikeWalk, a non-profit, statewide organization whose mission is to promote a safe bicycling and walking environment for Kansans through education and advocacy.

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The following is a roundup of Kansas bicycle and pedestrian news for February 2013:

Wichita and Hays Planning for Bicycles in their Futures

Already this year, two major Kansas cities, Hays and Wichita, have adopted bicycle transportation plans. While vastly different in scope, both plans share a common vision to make bicycle safer for all their residents by developing a system there serves all their residents. Both plan incorporate on-road facilities, such as bike lanes, cycle-tracks, shared-use routes with sharrows, and bicycle boulevards, and off-road facilities, such as trails and wide sidewalks. These cities are recognize the value of a safe, sustainable transportation systems that accommodates all their citizen’s needs if they are to compete in future economies. Both Wichita and Hays have illustrated the strong connection between active transportation and the overall health of the community. Click these links to see what your city could be doing: Bike Hays Master Plan, Wichita Bicycle Master Plan

KanBikeWalk heading to Washington to Speak up for Bicycling

2013 National Bike SummitThree KanBikeWalk board members, Gina Poertner, Jeff Koenig and Dale Crawford, will be in Washington, DC, from March 4-7 to attend the 2013 National Bike Summit and to work with the League of American Bicyclists, the Alliance for Biking and Walking, Bikes Belong and other national, state and local organizations, dealers, manufacturers and advocates. With two days of intense training and numerous speakers, including Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, KanBikeWalk’s delegation will be ready to meet with all 6 our Kansas senators and representatives Wed., March 6. Watch for updates from the Hill as we prepare and meet with your elected officials to defend bicycling and walking as modes of transportation in future federal transportation programs.

Pedestrian Hit-and-Run in Kansas City, Kansas

On January 31st in KCK, a pedestrian was struck around 9:50 p.m. in the eastbound lanes of eastbound Interstate 70 at I-670. Police said the person sustained life-threatening injuries. The driver of the vehicle did not stop to render aid. [via KSHB]

Pedestrian hit by car while talking on his cell phone

Distraction is problem for all roadway users, even people walking. In Wichita, a 21-year-old man suffered a broken leg on Feb. 1 when he was struck by a car as he tried to cross a street mid-block. Police said “It appears by what witnesses say he was distracted because he was talking on his cell phone. The vehicle hit him and caused him to fall.” [via KSN]

DUI victim pushes for tougher laws in Kansas

After a driver hit pedestrian Donnie Warren near Herington last September, cutting Warren’s right leg off at the knee, the driver plead to a misdemeanor. Warren believes the driver, whose blood alcohol content was more than twice the legal limit, should face attempted murder charges. “It was his choice to drink that night, and then drive home. He consciously chose to put not only his life, but the lives of anybody around him in danger.” In Topeka, state legislators are considering a bill that would allow county prosecutors to add a charge of aggravated battery in DUI cases that include a personal injury. [via KWCH]

Clay Center To Restore 96-year-old Pedestrian Bridge

“The Clay Center City Council took another step toward restoring the 96-year-old pedestrian bridge by approving the purchase of 136 24-inch pilasters for the balustrades on the sides the bridge. Public Services chairman Daton Hess reported that in restoring the walk bridge over Huntress Street, the city wants to restore it as close to original as possible. Councilman Justin Begnoche commended the street department and the mayor for wanting to make the creek and bridge into a beautiful part of Huntress Park.” [via Clay Center Dispatch]

Marion County Resident Wants To Discourage Cars On Local Road

“Dave Yates has had it with drivers taking a shortcut along his road, going by at speeds he often considers dangerous. He said he would like to put boulders or something else across the road, to allow pedestrians, bikes, horses, and motorcycles to continue to use it, but to stop cars and trucks using it as a shortcut.” [via Marion County Record]

Atchison Running Trail Proposed

“Becky Swain, finance director and assistant city manager of Atchison, is working with others to get a paved running trail for Atchison residents along River Road. ‘Throughout the community, there has really been a push for a recreational trail,’ Swain said. ‘There has been a desperate need to improve trails and sidewalks for a more biker-pedestrian-friendly environment.’ The potential trail would start from the original trail, which runs along River Road, and ends at the Lewis and Clark campsite, which is across from Independence Creek.” [via The Circuit]

Shawnee County Hopes To Extend Deer Creek Trail

County commissioners voted to apply for federal funding to cover up to 80 percent of the costs to build an extension of the Deer Creek Trail running south to Lake Shawnee. Much of the cost would be related to adding a pedestrian lane to be part of a bridge to be rebuilt over Interstate 70. [via Topeka Capital-Journal]

Walkability Expert to Visit Girard on March 25

National public health, planning, and transportation consultant Mark Fenton will be in Girard, Kansas on March 25th to “evaluate healthy lifestyles with transportation, such as bike trails and walking trails”. [via Pittsburg Morning Sun]

Basehor Mayoral Candidate Supports Bike/Ped Transportation Investments

“I would like to see the city look closely at improving our sidewalks and possibly creating safe walking and bike paths for our citizens and their families. [via Basehor Sentinel]

Bicycle Bans Proposed, Defeated, and Nullified

News from our sister Bike/Ped Advocacy Organizations in neighboring states:

In Missouri, the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation is fighting a proposed bicycle ban on some state highways. [learn more from MoBikeFed and Kansas Cyclist]

In Colorado, Bicycle Colorado has fought a bicycle ban in Black Hawk for several years. After losing two lower court decisions, the Colorado Supreme Court ultimately overturned Black Hawk’s ban on riding bicycles, ruling that bicycles “are a matter of state and local concern”, and that cities “must comply with state laws that require any municipal bike prohibition provide an available alternate path within 450 feet.” [via Denver Post]

In Iowa, the Iowa Bicycle Coalition has led the resistance against a mandatory sidepath law (on-street bicycle ban) in Grimes, Iowa. The state’s Deputy Attorney General wrote in a letter that “In our view an ordinance limiting access to the roadways by bicyclist conflicts with state statutes. It is clear that the city of Grimes cannot by ordinance prohibit bicycles from using the roadways, including a city street, and require bicyclists instead to use a bike path that is available.” [via Des Moines Register]

Research On The Health Benefits of Walking To School

“Government and health organisations are urging parents to ditch the car and make the school run on foot. There are so many reasons why walking to school is good for kids. It’s healthy, it’s better for the environment, it sets up good habits and it kick-starts a better day of learning for the kids. We believe that getting a lift to school every day limits horizons, leading to isolated, vulnerable children.” [via Body+Soul]

“”Many parents pay for test prep and after-school enrichment programs to make their kids more academically competitive, and go to great lengths to schedule time for those activities. Imagine if they invested those resources instead in something as simple as helping their children to travel safely from home to school on foot or by bike, arriving ready to learn.” [via Atlantic Cities]

Tell US Department of Transportation That Bicyclist and Pedestrian Fatalities Matter

“Transportation agencies across the country are about to miss an important opportunity to improve non-motorized traffic safety and encourage healthy and active transportation options. Even though bicyclists and pedestrians now account for almost 16% of all traffic fatalities in the US, states are spending less than 0.5% of their safety funds to solve this problem.” Please speak up.

Pedestrian Bridge in Hays, Kansas

Jellison Bridge Hays Kansas

This is the historic Jellison Bridge on the campus of Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas. Built in 1934.

Proper Lane Positioning Improves Safety For All

Proper Lane Positioning

This is an excellent illustration of how bicyclists can help motorists by using road position to communicate when it’s unsafe for cars to try to squeeze by in the same lane. Don’t be a gutter bunny … it endangers both you and other roadway users! [via iamtraffic.org]