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Missouri Lawmaker Wants to Require Tall Fluorescent Flags for Cyclists

8:55 AM PST on January 15, 2016

So you know it's real. Image via Cyclelicious
Yes, it's real. Via Cyclelicious
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In what is perhaps the most comical anti-bike legislation to come out of a statehouse in years (and that is really saying something) a Missouri lawmaker has proposed legislation that would require any cyclist riding on a "lettered county road" to use an orange, fluorescent flag that stands at least 15 feet off the ground.

One would hope this is just a grumpy old man's futile gesture, thumbing his nose at cyclists he resents, rather than legislation with a real chance of passage. Even so, Richard Masoner at Cyclelicious took the time to unpack what this law would mean in practice:

Missouri 10th District Representative Jay Houghton introduced this bill which would require a florescent flag for cyclists riding on a “lettered county road.” This flag must be suspended at least 15 feet above the roadway. This is more than many bridge clearances, would create a hazard when operating around above ground electric utilities, and probably result in a bicycle that’s nearly impossible to ride. Mr Jay Houghton clearly hates children and old people.

No committee hearings are scheduled, but it’s worth keeping on eye on since this bill would effectively ban bicycles from county roads. Houghton co-sponsored a previous attempt to ban bikes from Missouri roads. Houghton represents a rural portion of central Missouri east of Columbia and mostly north of I-70.

The 20,000 miles of “lettered county roads” are a system supplementary routes that are not part of the state highway system. When the system was initially created in the 1920s, transportation officials designated these roads with letters instead of numbers so the local yokels wouldn’t confuse them with a state highway.

What would legislation look like that was really about keeping cyclists safe in Missouri?

Elsewhere on the Network today: Biking Toronto reports that locals are "disgusted" with the lenient sentence handed down for a hit-and-run driver who killed a cyclist. Move Arkansas has an update on the fight over a $600 million urban highway widening in Little Rock. And Urban Cincy shares a video about the local transit agency's efforts to woo young professionals.

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