As use of competitive bicycles grows, Shawnee council updates code on bike safety

City code required reflectors on bike pedals like the one above — but modern clip in pedals are generally to small to accommodate them. Photo by Joybot via Flickr.

Shawnee leaders have cleaned up portions of the city code on bicycle safety to reflect trends in modern biking gear.

The council in its Monday meeting approved changed to the code in a 7-0 vote after councilmember Lindsey Constance recommended removing a section of the amended city code that requires reflectors on bicycle pedals. Constance noted that pedals on competitive bicycles are often too small to have reflectors.

The updates also say the back of bicycles can now be equipped with either a red reflector or red lamp, to be visible from 100 to 600 feet to the rear. City code previously required a red reflector, while a red lamp was optional.

The amended code also allows cyclists to wear a device that emits a red light from behind, as an alternative to the red reflector or lamp on the rear of the bicycle. The wearable device must also be visible 500 feet behind the bicycle.

City code still requires bicycles to be equipped with a front white lamp visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front.

The council also amended city code to require the use of safety equipment when operating a bicycle “between sunset and sunrise.” City code previously used the words “at nighttime.”

The amended city code also no longer requires cyclists to obtain approval from the Kansas Secretary of Transportation on safety equipment and devices.