Post-Dispatch reporter, Paul Hampel, wrote a positive story describing Ferguson’s leadership in repealing a discriminatory ordinance (originally based on state law), which required bicyclists to generally ride far right when on public roads. This is acknowledged by experienced cyclists and bicycle safety programs such as Cycling Savvy, as typically being the least safe position for cyclists when on-road.
I should add that credit for this new ordinance and associated signage goes to both Ferguson’s progressive city administration, led by City Manager John Shaw, Assistant City Manager Pam Hylton, and Police Chief Tom Jackson, who saw the need for the ordinance, as well as the city council and Mayor James W. Knowles III for supporting it. Ordinance sponsors Mike Salant, Tim Larson, and Dwayne T. James, also deserve special credit. Elizabeth Simons, Live Well Ferguson Program Manager, also provided important input and support for the ordinance.
(Please see Ferguson first Missouri city to repeal bicyclist “Far to Right” discriminatory language, permitting bicyclist lane control for more details.)
Below is Paul Hampel’s report as it appears on-line, featuring the photo of Gerry Noll, owner of the Ferguson Bicycle Shop, which I took for a previous blog posted on November 16, 2012. Gerry and I also spoke in favor of the new ordinance at council meetings before it’s final approval.
P.S. My thanks to Ferguson City Councilman Mark Byrne, who voted for the new ordinance, for adding a link to the Post-Dispatch story on his Facebook page.
• By Paul Hampel email@example.com 314-727-6234
FERGUSON • Ferguson recently boosted its bike-friendly reputation with the installation of street signs that reflect a change — perhaps the first like it in the state — to a traffic ordinance regulating lane usage.
Two custom-made signs at each end of Ferguson-controlled Florissant Road, a major north-south route, indicate that bicycles now may use the full lane and that other vehicles may change lanes to pass.
The signs follow the repeal in June of the city’s so-called “Far to the Right” ordinance that required cyclists to “ride as near to the right side of the roadway as safe.”
Ferguson resident Martin Pion spearheaded the change after one of the city’s police officers pulled him over for violating the ordinance. Pion had been riding his bike in the center of the right lane on Florissant Road.
“I was controlling the curb lane near my home while bicycling to Ferguson’s downtown,” Pion, 76, said on Monday.
The English-born Pion is a longtime champion of bicycle commuting who has taught classes on cycling safety.
He prefers riding in the center of the curb lane, asserting that, contrary to the provisions of the old ordinance, cycling becomes more dangerous the farther one rides to the right.
“The far right side typically is the worst part to travel on. You have drain grates, debris that accumulates and gets swept infrequently, there’s also a joint there and you are less visible to motorists.”
He added, “By riding far to the right, you are more likely to get crowded by large vehicles trying to pass you. By controlling your lane, you are signaling to following motorists that they should change lanes to pass you because they won’t be able to do it safely within the lane.”
Pion said he regards “Far to the Right” laws as “discriminatory to bicyclists.” He said his research has indicated that Ferguson is the first entity in the state to repeal such an ordinance.
“Hopefully, other cities will follow suit,” he said.
Partly because of Ferguson’s strong support of the bicycling movement, statewide health officials have pointed to the city as a leader among area communities in efforts to promote healthy living.
Pion has a bicycling blog at thinkbicyclingblog.wordpress.com
Paul Hampel covers St. Louis County for the Post-Dispatch.
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