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Snow doesn't stop avid bicyclists from getting out, but bike lanes need more attention

Posted: 6:44 PM, Feb 20, 2019
Updated: 2019-02-21 00:55:26Z
bike snow.jpg

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — "It's the best feeling, like I can do whatever. I can go wherever I want," said Mike Ivancic, avid bicyclist.

Ivancic doesn't even let the snow stop him. He was out bicycling in the snow on Wednesday.

Ivancic is the president of Cycling Kansas City, a group of 800 bicyclists. Some bike just for fun and many others train for races. Ivancic said a lot of members still get out in the cold, the snow, and the slush on two wheels every day.

"I'll see commuters. The commuters are awesome. Those guys, no matter what, if they don't have a car, this is their only way to get around or they're walking, taking a bus," said Ivancic.

This winter has been pretty brutal so far.

"Let me tell you, the best thing about having a bike is that I can avoid the potholes. There are so many potholes. But with these tires and my bike I just go over top of them, it's fine," said Ivancic.

It's also hard to see the city bike lanes under the plowed snow.

"Kansas City is a good place, not bad. Fine for biking," Ivancic said.

The city is presenting its Bike KC Master Plan draft to the community to drastically improve and create protected bike lanes. It calls for between $387 and $418 million in infrastructure changes.

A 2016 audit said the city was severely lacking an organized plan. It found 56 percent of bike routes are not suitable for the average bicyclist and 91 percent of bike facilities don't include separate, dedicated space for bicyclists.

"We need to continue to make improvements on that and it needs to not be a reaction to complaints. We need to figure out how proactively we clear our bike facilities and key sidewalks," said BikeWalkKC founder Eric Bunch.

Ivancic agrees.

"And more protected bike lanes I think is more important in the inner city. You know, I've been hit three times on my bike and all three have been in the city," Ivancic said.

The city's first protected bike lane is on Armour Boulevard and was installed in summer 2018.

"The snow clearing is not perfect anywhere but I can tell you that on our major bike routes, particularly protected bike lanes, they're not seeing a plow at all," said Bunch.

Regardless, you'll see Ivancic out in any weather, and he encourages KC to do the same.

"I'll be 50 next year so at 50 I'm still loving it," he said.