MO lawmaker proposes 15-foot flag requirement for cyclists

MO lawmaker proposes 15-foot flag requirement for cyclists

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - A Missouri lawmaker who has been involved in previous legislative attempts to ban bicycles from Missouri roads is trying a new route to improve safety.

Missouri State Representative Jay Houghton is working on a bill, which would require all bicyclists on "county lettered roads" to carry an orange safety flag attached to their bike no less than 15 feet in above the roadway.

Cyclist Don Hinkebein logs more than 200 miles on his bike a week.

"And almost exclusively on public roads," Hinkebein said.

As the manager of Cape Bicycle and the ultimate bike enthusiast, he says he rarely feels uncomfortable on the road. But that doesn't mean safety isn't on the minds of some state legislators.

"It is ludicrous and I am not sure what his point is," said Hinkebein.

The amendment says:

"Every bicycle, as defined in section 307.180, operating upon a lettered county road shall be equipped with a flag clearly visible from the rear and suspended not less than fifteen feet above the roadway when the bicycle is standing upright. The flag shall be fluorescent orange in color."

But accidents do happen. In 2010, seven bicyclists were killed by cars, 551 more were injured in the state of Missouri.

For Sarah Nowotny who only uses her bike for transportation, she says the change would an inconvenience.

"I usually bike from one end to the city to the other," Nowotny said. "I'll use the bike trail if possible. If I am biking on the bike trail it would hit every single bridge."

Hinkebein and Nowotny argue there are more appropriate ways to be safe on a bike such as lights or reflectors.

The bill currently has no co-sponsors or hearings scheduled following its second reading.

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