Growing pains: More people sharing the road means more rules to follow

A vehicle parked in a bike lane on Armour Boulevard at Main Street on Thursday, August 2, 2018.

Nick Starling – 41 Action News

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As Kansas City grows, so too are the modes of transportation: the KC Streetcar has been operating for the past two years, more bike lanes are painted on the streets, and scooters are a new way to get around.

But with more people sharing the road, some drivers aren’t following some rules, concerning some in the community who use alternative modes of transportation.

“It’s a shared space — scooters, bikes, pedestrians — we all have a right to be in the public space that everyone needs to be careful of,” said David Johnson, Chief Strategy Officer for the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority.

Johnson gets around the city using alternative modes of transportation and notices some drivers don’t follow all the rules.

“Solid white lines mean don’t go there and read the signs,” said Johnson.

While 41 Action News was out, many vehicles were partially parked on the sidewalk in the Crossroads District along Main Street, and on Armour Boulevard, where the protected bike lanes are new, there was a car parked in the bike lane.

This concerns some bicyclists like Jon Pennington.

“I was actually hit in a bike lane by someone coming off a side street,” he said.

Luckily, Pennington is alright, but that experience now makes him feel unsafe. He wishes drivers would look out for bicyclists more often.

“Don’t depend on the bike lanes or trust anybody-trust no one,” said Pennington.

Other bicyclists like Matthew Rogers wishes more drivers were aware of the rights of bicyclists.

“It does get frustrating when drivers impede the few that we do have. That’s our little 3 feet of space; it’s nice to feel safe,” Rogers said.

According to the Kansas City Police Department, in the past three months they’ve written six tickets and towed three vehicles along the streetcar line.

As for bike lanes, there’s currently no city ordinance which allows them to enforce it.

“It’s important that people know that we have lots of options now and more are coming, and so it’s not going to stop at 100 scooters downtown. This is a space that has a lot of money moving into it and that’s going to mean a lot more competition for the space we have,” said Johnson.

The ceremonial grand opening of the bike lanes along Armour Boulevard takes place Friday morning.

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