In wake of Prairie Village ticketing, bike advocate urges cyclists, motorists to ‘share the road’

Cyclists need to obey traffic laws, says BikeWalkKC's Eric Rogers — but motorists need to respect bikers, too.
Cyclists need to obey traffic laws, says BikeWalkKC’s Eric Rogers — but motorists need to respect bikers, too.

In response to some of the anti-cyclist sentiment that emerged last week after news broke that police had ticketed 26 members of a group ride who failed to stop at a Prairie Village stop sign, a metro area cycling advocate says the incident provides a strong reminder that cyclists need to follow traffic laws — but that motorists need to “share the road” to increase safety as well.

Eric Rogers, executive director of BikeWalkKC, said his group works to promote “equity on the road for everybody.”

“A lot of riders feel that motorists don’t pay attention or respect us on the road,” Rogers said. “At the same time, we have to show motorists respect and obey traffic laws.”

The 26 riders police cited last week were taking part in the weekly “Brookside Ride” that starts out in Brookside and moves through the Plaza and Mission Hills before heading into Prairie Village.  The ride tends to be more casual, with participants less interested in a hard “training ride” workout than other group rides, like the one that meets each at the Blue Moose Bar & Grill. Rogers said such casual riders might be more prone to hang together through intersections as a defense against getting spread out and having riders drop off.

Still, he said, cyclists need to follow the laws like everyone else on the road. Police had warned member of the Brookside group in the previous weeks after they had exhibited similar behavior.

“Police had heard more complaints about riders in that area,” Rogers said. “People were forewarned.”

But Rogers said he hopes motorists will be diligent moving forward in learning to keep an eye out for cyclists — especially as bike commuting becomes more prevalent in northeast Johnson County and throughout the metro.

“For every motorist concerned about a cyclist not following the law, there is a cyclist concerned about a motorist not paying attention to the road or not passing cyclists with space,” Rogers said.