Today’s Headlines

  • Call-A-Ride Driver Strikes, Injures Washington University Faculty Member on Bicycle in Crosswalk (AP)
  • More Pedestrians Struck, One Killed by Motorist Tuesday Night (Post-Dispatch)
  • 55-Year-Old Woman Struck, Injured by Motorist in Joplin Sunday Evening (Joplin Globe)
  • Did Lack of Transit in Remote Parts of Region Contribute to Two Pedestrian Deaths? (Post-Dispatch)
  • Corporate Tax Reform to Fund Transportation Appears to Have Growing Bipartisan Support (T4America)
  • Friends of Bicyclist Killed Friday in Kansas City Leave Ghost Bike Memorial at Crash Site (Fox4News)
  • The Maneater Has More on Three Pedestrians Hit by Motorists in One Day at Missouri University
  • If You Think Bike Commuting in St. Louis is Nerve-Racking, Check Out This Clip From Saigon (YouTube)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Today’s Headlines

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Tap on the Wrist for 18-Year-Old Hit-and-Run Driver Who Struck 15-Year-Old Victim (Post-Dispatch) Bicyclist, 14, Seriously Injured After Being Struck by Motorist in Grain Valley (AP) What You Need to Know About Obama’s New Transportation Budget (Streetsblog USA) Transportation of America Responds to Budget Plan Westbound Span of Chain of Rocks Canal Bridge to Be Demolished Today (Post-Dispatch) IIHS: […]

Today’s Headlines

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Study: Bike-Share Would Work in St. Louis (Post-Dispatch) One of the Four Teens Struck by Motorist in Kansas City Friday Has Died (Fox4KC) Man in Lee’s Summit Struck, Killed by Semi Truck Driver (KMBC, KSHB) High-Speed Rail Improvements Between St. Louis and Chicago in the Works (StateJrnlReg) Bike Lanes/Routes Being Encouraged in Eastern Jackson County, MO […]
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3 Graphs That Explain Why 20 MPH Should Be the Limit on City Streets

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A still from ProPublica‘s interactive graph. Speed kills, especially on city streets teeming with pedestrians and cyclists. The investigative news nonprofit ProPublica has produced an interactive graph that deftly conveys how just a few miles per hour can spell the difference between life and death when a person is struck by a motorist. ProPublica’s Lena Groeger used data from the AAA Safety [...]
via MoBikeFed Cycling News, Tips, Advocacy Alerts

Missouri Fuel Tax Increase Stalls; Bike/Ped Groups Advocating for Solution Including Bike/Ped Funding

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One of the major issues we discussed with legislators at the recent Bicycle & Pedestrian Day at the Capitol was the issue of transportation funding.  If the General Assembly does not pass some kind of funding solution this year, MoDOT will not be able to match its entire federal transportation allotment in 2017, and will have to return over $100 million that year. Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard (Joplin) If no solution is found next year, MoDOT will have to return over $400 million in 2018, and each year thereafter.So motivation is high in Jefferson City to solve this problem.At Capitol Day Monday, our message was that any proposed funding increase should include funding for much-needed bicycle and pedestrian accommodations on the roads and bridges the tax increase will fund. We very much understand the need to have enough transportation funding to--at minimum--maintain Missouri's current 34,000 mile state road system.  But because the proposals discussed so far include no funding for bike/ped elements on the roads they fund, we have taken a neutral position on the legislationWe have, however, proposed an amendment that would allow road and highway dollars to be spent on bike/ped needs on those roads--sidewalks on roads that go through cities and towns, crosswalks and busy intersection, bike lanes on roads that need them, and so on.  That proposal has received little support from legislators so far--it is a long term project to educate legislators and voters on the issues and the need.Earlier this year, we testified about these issues at the Senate Transportation Committee hearing.  Tuesday at we testified about these issues in the House Transportation Committee hearing. Tuesday the Senate took up its proposal to increase the fuel tax by $.02 per gallon.  Several senators who are opposed to tax increases of any sort, led by Sen. Robert Schaaf of St. Joseph, filibustered the bill.  The filibuster has, for practical purposes, ended any chance of passing a fuel tax increase this legislative session.Missourinet covered this latest development:It appears that a motor fuel tax increase proposal is dead in the Missouri legislature.Senator Ron Richard (R-Joplin) said there doesn’t seem to be a way for the proposal to get past legislative opposition.“Even if the Senate passes it, the House said they’re not supportive,” said Richard. “So I’m not sure if I want to waste any time.”House Speaker John Diehl, Junior (R-Town and Country), has said it appeared a solution for transportation funding would have to wait until the next legislative session that begins January 1.The Missouri Times article has more details about the Senate debate and filibuster.The MIssouri Bicycle & Pedestrian Federation continues to work to develop a coalition to support funding for needed bicycle and pedestrian facilities as part of any statewide transportation funding proposal and to educate lawmakers about this issue.  Inclusion of bicycle and pedestrian funding as part of any transportation funding proposal has been identified by our members and supporters as a very high priority. Developing a world-class bicycle and pedestrian transportation system in Missouri is one of the primary goals of MoBikeFed's Vision for Bicycling and Walking in Missouri.Your membership and generous financial support helps turn our Vision into reality.Many thanks to the many members, supporters, and allied organizations and agencies who joined us for Capitol Day Monday. Your voices are making a real difference! Link:  Missouri fuel tax increase stalls for 2015; bike/ped groups advocating for solution including bike/ped funding
via MoBikeFed Cycling News, Tips, Advocacy Alerts

Trailnet Calls for Vulnerable Road User Laws in Wake of Pedestrian Fatalities

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After a string of deaths of people walking and bicycling in the  St. Louis region, with little or no penalties for drivers--even though who were acting in an egregiously dangerous way, Trailnet has called for increased penalties for drivers who operate dangerous and then end up injuring or killing. Could a change in our laws help these situations?The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports:Trailnet, an organization that advocates for safe and alternative options for pedestrians and cyclists in the St. Louis region, is holding up a double-fatality accident in Wellston as an example that stiffer punishments are needed for drivers.Most traffic fatalities don’t result in criminal charges because they are merely the result of human error, and negligence can be hard to prove. But Trailnet says more needs to be done to make sober drivers more accountable.The organization is specifically scrutinizing the deaths of LaTonya Williams, 19, and her boyfriend, Jermaine Byrd, 22. They were run over by a car one evening in 2015 while walking on a sidewalk near Martin Luther King Drive and Kienlen Avenue. The driver wasn’t charged with a crime and didn’t have any points taken off her drivers license.“It’s really kind of disturbing to us and our organization,” said Ralph Pfremmer, executive director of Trailnet. “It speaks to how vulnerable everybody is and how the system doesn’t always work in favor of the victim. This isn’t the only story that is out there. There are many.”Passing legislation to increase penalties for dangerous drivers who injure or kill has been among the top legislative priorities of our members and allied organizations, according to our surveys and polls. But the Missouri General Assembly has not been receptive to this ideas so far.In 2016, Rep. Nate Walker of Kirksville introduced "Vulnerable Road User" legislation as part of HB 721.It may be time to bring that proposal back. It included this language:304.595. 1. Any person who operates a motor vehicle in a careless or distracted manner and causes serious physical injury or death to a vulnerable road user shall be guilty of the crime of injuring a vulnerable road user. 2. Any person issued a citation under this section shall be required to attend a hearing regarding the citation before the appropriate court. 3. Any person who violates the provisions of this section shall be required to:(1) Pay a monetary penalty not to exceed two thousand dollars;(2) Serve a time not to exceed thirty days in a city or county jail;(3) Participate in a motor vehicle accident prevention course; or(4) Perform community service for a number of hours to be determined by the court; and(5) Have his or her driving privileges suspended for a period of no less than six months. 4. For the purposes of this section, the term “vulnerable road user” shall include:(1) A pedestrian, including those persons actually engaged in work upon a highway, work upon utility facilities along a highway, or the administration of emergency services within the right-of-way;(2) A person lawfully riding an animal; or(3) A person lawfully operating a bicycle, piece of farm equipment, skateboard, scooter, moped, motorcycle, horse-drawn carriage, wheelchair, or an electric personal assistive mobility device or who is wearing roller or in-line skates.Our Legislative Platform includes support for several proposals that will help address this issue.Vision Zero is another initiative starting to gain traction in Missouri, that uses a variety of tools to address this important issue. Working to improve safety for all road users, including Missourians who walk and bicycle, is one of the top priorities of MoBikeFed's Vision for Bicycling and Walking in Missouri.Your ongoing membership and generous financial support helps power our advocacy work and turn our vision into reality! Link:  Trailnet calls for vulnerable road user laws in wake of pedestrian fatalities, no consequences for motorists at fault
via MoBikeFed Cycling News, Tips, Advocacy Alerts

Witness: Sunset Hills Mayor “Attacked Bicycle Rider” Then “Floored It”

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TheToday Missouri media is reporting on the ongoing trial of Sunset Hills Mayor Mark Furrer, who is accused of hitting cyclist Randy Murdick with his car, then driving off. The Lake Expo has a summar of the testimony of witnesses who saw the incident: Cyclists rally in support of cyclist Randy Murdick, who was struck by Sunset Hills Mayor Mark Furrer Freeman was the first witnessed called Tuesday morning. Questioned by assistant prosecutor Al Key, Freeman said he was behind the car and cyclist, all headed westbound, and saw the car and the cyclist rolling alongside each other, "within six inches.""The driver was leaning over talking to the cyclist," Freeman testified. "When the conversation concluded, the driver of the red convertible attacked the bicycle rider with the automobile in an abrupt maneuver ... He thrust the car into the cyclist (who) went up into the air and came down onto the automobile and fell onto the concrete."Later Freeman said the driver "gunned it, floored it and took off."Furrer is charged with second-degree assault and property damage, both felonies. If convicted of either, he would forfeit office.The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the testimony of another witness:A second witness, approaching from the opposite direction, also saw the driver and the cyclist yell at each other.“I was nervous for the guy on the bike,” Randy Spaethe said. “They were evidently hollering, and the red Mercedes turned into the cyclist and knocked him off the bike.” The Call has more details about Spaethe's testimony: Cyclist Randy Murdick testified that hwas threatened, then struck by Sunset Hills Mayor Mark Furrer. Furrer then fled the scene. "Why were you so angry?" Key asked during re-examination."I just saw an intentional accident — it wasn't even an accident, it was an intentional hit," Spaethe replied.In the police report, more than one Sunset Hills officer vouched for the veracity of Randy Spaethe and said they had known him for years. Key noted that Randy Spaethe met the officers through his former job as the service manager of Sunset Ford, where he serviced the city's police fleet.The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has more details about the testimony of the investigating officer:The officer said Murdick told him the car swerved and hit him. The car drove off but quickly returned to the scene. Under questioning from assistant prosecutor Al Key, Senior said it made him uncomfortable to have the mayor involved in the incident.  He said his supervisors instructed him to consider the case an accident. But pressed by Key on what he thought it really was, Senior replied, "If I were the supervisor on the scene, I would conduct an investigation and complete a report for an assault."Sunset Hills police soon handed the case over to St. Louis County police for an investigation that resulted in the charges.Defense attorney Dan Bruntrager pressed Senior on whether Murdick admitted rolling through the stop sign, a point of dispute. Bruntrager noted that Murdick said in an audio statement that he had "slowed down." Bruntrager asked, "He didn't tell you he stopped, did he?" Senior said that was correct.Murdick told the jury Tuesday that during the incident the mayor, whom he did not then know, repeatedly told him to "Get off my (expletive) roads."The cyclist said he had several injuries, including bruises and a torn Achilles tendon, and that his $12,000 racing bicycle was badly damaged. He has filed a civil suit against Furrer.Last year, MoBikeFed presented a petition signed by over 400 people from the Sunset Hills area and around Missouri, asking Sunset Hills to take the appropriate action in regard to the Mayor and also to take positive steps to become a more bicycle friendly city.Cyclists rally in support of MurdickWe appreciate and support the work of St. Louis County police and prosecutors to bring appropriate charges in this case and prosecute the case vigorously.More on the Mark Furrer situation in MoBikeFed News here and here.  Making Missouri streets safer for people who bicycle and walk is one of the top priorities of MoBikeFed's Vision for Bicycling and Walking in Missouri.Your ongoing membership and generous financial support helps turn our Vision into reality!  Link:  Trial of Sunset Hills Mayor; Witness: "Mayor 'attacked the bicycle rider' then 'floored it and took off'