Kansas, Missouri rank near the bottom in study of bike-friendly - KCTV5

Kansas, Missouri rank near the bottom in study of bike-friendly states

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Washington topped the survey. They were ranked highly for infrastructure, policies, programs and planning. (KCTV5) Washington topped the survey. They were ranked highly for infrastructure, policies, programs and planning. (KCTV5)
FAIRWAY, KS (KCTV) -

When it comes to finding a safe place to ride a bicycle, the options are few in Kansas and Missouri.

Both states received low scores in a recent survey by the League of American Bicyclists.

Missouri and Kansas both fell into the bottom half of states that are bike friendly.

Kansas came in fourth from last. The only category it was ranked well in was legislation and enforcement.

Other categories in the study range from education to policies and planning.

Missouri does fair a little better, ranking 32nd out of the 50 states.

Bicycle advocate Jeff Carroll says he agrees with the rankings.

“In terms of bicycling as a means of transportation, I would say we’re well behind and the survey results really show that,” Carroll said. “I think a lot of it is due to the fact that we don’t have a state bicycle plan.”

When told about the latest rankings, avid cyclers say they aren’t surprised.

Carroll often bikes from his home in Lenexa, KS, to his job in downtown Kansas City, MO. He says the trip is not easy because of the infrastructure in the area.

Kansas City recently made major changes to the downtown area to improve cycling. In 2017, bike lanes were put on Grand Avenue and more are planned for the future.

That’s something Carroll is pushing for on the other side of the state line.

“Even at the local level, where I live in Lenexa, we’ve really started to engage with the city council, educate them, let them know that this is something that we want to see as a city and it’s really just getting them to understand that,” Carroll said.

There is some good news though.

Carroll says he is seeing changes around his hometown of Lenexa, including a potential, comprehensive bike plan for 2018. He says cities like Topeka, KS, and Lawrence, KS, recently started bike-share programs. He has also started a blog to help inform people and push city council members toward the bike plan.

According to Carroll, peoples’ view of cycling is slowly changing.

“One of the big challenges is people view cycling as a recreational activity and they don’t see it as a form of transportation,” Carroll said. “So, I’m hoping with some of the work I’m doing to educate people, get people to think of bicycling as a form of transportation that’s viable.”

Washington topped the survey. They were ranked highly for infrastructure, policies, programs and planning.

The survey also ranked the Pacific Northwest state high in education, which Carroll says is key for making changes in the Midwest.

“If it’s not a priority for them, if they are not hearing at the local level from bicyclists and people that are interested in that, if they aren’t hearing, they just don’t see it as a priority,” Carroll said.

Copyright 2017 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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