Tulsa will not banish bikes to sidewalks

Rumors of barring bikes from Oklahoma roads dispelled

Earlier this month the Oklahoma Appeals Court ruled that bicyclists are not barred from using streets in Tulsa and other cities across the Sooner State.

This ruling followed rumors that circulated online that the City of Tulsa would force all bikes off the roads and on to sidewalks because bikes were impeding traffic flow.

The fact that the rumors circulated is a curious one, especially to riders and city officials in Tulsa who note that the city is actually very accommodating to bicyclists. “Tulsa was the first community in Oklahoma to be recognized as a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists in 2009 and was also recently named one of America's Best Bike Cities by Bicycling Magazine earlier this year,” says Michelle Allen of the mayor’s office in Tulsa.

The rumor of the bikes being banned was greatly exaggerated. The origin of the rumor was related to a municipal court verdict related to a single cyclist who was impeding traffic when he was riding on the Broken Arrow Expressway, a limited access road (highway) that is not open to bikes.

Unfortunately a cyclist was killed this month on Interstate 40, reports the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. The rider, who was riding on the interstate, was struck by a pickup truck, thrown in the air and then hit by another car, reinforcing the dangers of riding on restricted roads and the need for rider education.

“Most highway systems have minimum speed requirements,” explains Allen. “But cyclists are welcome on our city arterials and the many trail systems we have in place.”

And while Tulsa will continue to allow riders on the main streets in the city, it is also looking to spread this news of where it is too dangerous to ride. “Tulsa's Transportation Advisory Board also continues to focus on public education campaigns for the rules of the road and specific needs of our city, such as bikes lanes,” said Allen.

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