Good Cycling Starts Here
Good Cycling Starts Here

Shawnee, Kansas is a Bicycle Friendly Community

General Bicycle Safety
Laws Governing Bicyclists in Shawnee
Tips to Prevent Crashes
Bicycle Awareness for Motorists







Shawnee was the first City in the Kansas City Metro area to adopt a bicycle transportation plan that incorporated on-road and off-road bicycle facilities.

Shawnee earned a Bicycle Friendly Community designation by the League of American Bicyclists and was specially recognized for engineering and encouragement.

With over 18 miles of on-street bike lanes, 40.8 miles of share-the-road lanes, and 27.6 miles of off-street recreational trails -- along with state and local laws that are observed and enforced to protect bicyclists -- Shawnee strives to enable safe and enjoyable bicycling experiences for residents and visitors.



General Bicycle Safety

Before taking a bicycle onto the roads or trails, simple checks should be made to help ensure a trouble-free ride.
  • Maintain the correct tire pressure. The recommended pressure is stamped on the side of the tire. Inflation should approach but not exceed this pressure. Under-inflated tires will make cornering unsure.
  • Lift the bike and spin the wheels. The gap between the rim and the brake pads should stay relatively consistent. If your rims are rubbing the brakes, this can cause wobbling, and result in poor handling and brake performance.
  • Squeeze the brake levers. They should stop before they touch the handlebars. Watch the wear line on brake pads showing when they need replacement.
  • Inspect the quick-release lever on the wheels visually before every ride. The levers should be solidly locked or snug and curved in toward the bike.
  • Check the chain. Lean the bike against a wall and rotate the pedals backward slowly. The chain should turn smoothly. A rusty or poorly lubricated chain can wreck an otherwise fun ride.
For repairs and maintenance that you are unable to perform on your own, enlist aid from a bike shop. There are several in Shawnee and the vicinity.


Laws Governing Bicyclists in Shawnee

On the road, the same traffic rules and regulations for vehicle drivers apply to bicyclists.

Per Kansas statute, “Every person riding a bicycle upon a roadway shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle.”

In general, when riding on roadways, a bicyclist must:
  • Ride on the right-hand side of the road, and with the flow of traffic – not against it.
  • Yield to crossing traffic.
  • Yield when changing lanes.
  • Be positioned in traffic according to one’s speed: parked/stopped next to the curb, slower-moving toward the right, faster-moving closest to the center line.
  • Control the lane. In a narrow lane, ride in the center of the lane or just to the right – this is legal in all states. In a wide lane (14’ or more) that you can share safely, ride about three feet to the right of the motorized traffic.
  • Be positioned carefully at intersections so as to avoid conflicts with the movement of other drivers. Most vehicle/bicycle crashes occur during turns. Think about where you would position yourself if you were driving a car. Be in the correct lane, and position within the lane, for each turning scenario.


Tips to Prevent Crashes

Bicyclist errors causing the most accidents include:
  • Wrong-way riding, facing traffic
  • Making a left turn from the right side of the road
  • Failure to yield from driveway
  • Running a stop sign or signal
  • Swerving in front of a car
The League of American Bicyclists recommends five steps towards crash prevention:
  1. Control the bike – about half of crashers are single rider falls. Skillful control when starting, stopping, signaling and turning smoothly will prevent single falls as well as collisions with other cyclists, animals and pedestrians.
  2. Obey the rules – about half of vehicle/bike crashes result from unsafe decisions. Following traffic laws and using correct lanes for turns and through movements reduces collisions.
  3. Choose the correct lane position – Know when to control and when to share the lane. Use lane position to tell drivers what you are doing.
  4. Learn hazard avoidance skills – bike safety information and training are available through local bike clubs and stores.
  5. Wear a helmet – sometimes all skills and techniques fail and there is a crash. Helmets have been likened to the seat belts and air bags in a vehicle.




Bicycle Awareness for Motorists

On the road, the same traffic rules and regulations for vehicle drivers apply to bicyclists.

Per Kansas statute, “Every person riding a bicycle upon a roadway shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle.”

In general, when riding on roadways, a bicyclist must:
  • Ride on the right-hand side of the road, and with the flow of traffic – not against it.
  • Yield to crossing traffic.
  • Yield when changing lanes.
  • Be positioned in traffic according to one’s speed: parked/stopped next to the curb, slower-moving toward the right, faster-moving closest to the center line.
  • Control the lane. In a narrow lane, ride in the center of the lane or just to the right – this is legal in all states. In a wide lane (14’ or more) that you can share safely, ride about three feet to the right of the motorized traffic.
  • Be positioned carefully at intersections so as to avoid conflicts with the movement of other drivers. Most motor-vehicle/bicycle crashes occur during turns. Think about where you would position yourself if you were driving a car. Be in the correct lane, and position within the lane, for each turning scenario.
Cyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles.


Other Links:
Shawnee Bicycle Advisory Board
Bike and Recreational Trail Master Plan
League of American Bicyclists
www.GoodStartsHere.org