Bicyclists rally, urge safety improvements

ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - The City of St. Louis is being urged to make some changes after a bicyclist was killed in a hit-and-run accident Friday.

Local bicyclists held a rally downtown Monday morning on the steps of City Hall to bring attention to bicycle safety. The move came after Clayton bicyclist Rick Beard was struck and killed in a hit-and-run accident Friday.

"The world's a lesser place without a guy like that," Beard's co-worker John Lee said.

Rally participants called on the city to look at a number of issues, including educating all people how to use the roads.

"Repeatedly, over the last 14 years, I have seen the same problem," said cyclist and attorney Michelle Funkenbusch. "Most drivers really don't know the roads as they relate to sharing the roads with cyclists."

The bicyclists also called for other rules changes. One person asked for passing lane space. Another called for protected bike lanes.

Some of the bicyclists collected police records from City of St. Louis, St. Louis County and Jefferson County to go along with their claims.

The numbers detailed how many bicycle accidents occurred that caused an injury or property damage of $500 or more.

They found between 2011 and 2013, there were more than 680 reported cases.

The group, Trailnet, also weighed in on the issue. In a press release, the group wrote: "These traffic deaths are preventable and can be eliminated by prioritizing people on foot and bicycle, the most vulnerable users of the road."

Trailnet plans to gather on June 30 in front of City Hall for another rally too.

But, bicyclists did have some good things to say about the city's efforts.

They told KSDK Newschannel 5 they were happy with some of St. Louis' new bike lanes and roads improvements.

So far, the city says it has already invested tens of millions of dollars in bike lanes and paths. A spokesperson to Mayor Francis Slay added if the state transportation tax passes, more money will be slated for bike infrastructure as well.


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