Bike ban lifted from 83rd Street
The De Soto City Council voted 4-1 last night to lift the non-motorized vehicle ban on 83rd Street. A city ordinance lifting the ban will officially go into effect next Thursday, Sept. 22.
After much discussion by the council and several members of the public regarding the safety of cyclists and drivers on the road, only Councilman Ron McDaniel remained in favor of keeping the ban.
McDaniel, along with one or two members of the public, cited multiple concerns for the safety of cyclists, especially children, along the two-mile stretch of 83rd Street from Waverly Road to the eastern edge of city limits. The concerns raised were the same concerns that led to the ban being set in the first place more than 10 years ago, according to a former council member in attendance.
Responses to the safety issue came not only from other members of the council but also from cyclists in the community and surrounding areas who have been forced to avoid De Soto as a biking route since the ban was set.
"Riding 83rd Street may not be the best route but it is the most convenient route for many bikers and smart bikers avoid it at it's busiest times for vehicle traffic," said resident, avid biker and former member of the board of the Johnson County Bicycle Club Mark Schrivner. "Choosing when and where to ride for our safety and others is a personal right that should be left to the cyclists."
Other cyclists in the audience urged the council to lift the ban for the sake of De Soto, stating the ban left "a black mark" on the city that had a far reach.
"This ban has given De Soto a bad reputation and has kept cyclists and other active people away," said cyclist and operator of kansascyclist.com. "I get requests all the time on my website asking for suggested routes through the state, some from locals but many from people all over the country, and I have to tell them to avoid De Soto and go around it and I'd really like to be able to change that because I loved riding through here before the ban and would like to again."
Council members Rick Walker, Lori Murdock and Randy Johnson were the most supportive of repealing the ban.
"I've ridden that road hundreds of times, I've been a triathlete and an Iron Man competitor but I would never ride that road at a peak time," Johnson said. "I'm vehemently against regulations for regulations' sake and I believe both cyclists and drivers have to take responsibility for their own actions."