KCMO takes important step towards decriminalizing walking and biking

The City Council voted unanimously on May 6, 2021 to repeal statutes related to dirty wheels, bike inspections, and jaywalking.

Since the summer of 2020, BikeWalkKC has advocated for the decriminalization of walking and biking. In a letter to Mayor Quinton Lucas, we identified three portions of the municipal code which effectively criminalized the activities of walking and biking:

  • Dirty wheels
  • Bike Inspections
  • Jaywalking

In January, Mayor Quinton Lucas introduced Ordinance #210100 to address these measures. Over the next few months, BikeWalkKC reached out to partner organizations, other communities, and advocates like you to ask you to speak up on this important measure.

Earlier this week, city staff revealed that the jaywalking statute had been used to overpolice some of our most vulnerable road users. It was revealed that of the jaywalking tickets given out over the last three years, 65% were given to Black pedestrians (despite the fact they make up only 30% of the city’s population).

Yesterday afternoon, the City Council voted unanimously to adopt the ordinance. In doing so, they repealed the jaywalking and bike inspection statutes and significantly modified the dirty wheels section of the municipal code.

We are only able to write these words because of partners like the Major Taylor Cycling Club of Kansas City, KC Healthy Kids, Health Forward Foundation, KC Tenants, the Midwest Innocence Project, and so many others who provided letters of support and spoke up in support of this legislation. This also wouldn’t be possible without advocates like you, who made it clear to your elected officials that this issue mattered and deserved action. 

BikeWalkKC is proud of this accomplishment, a key piece of our policy platform in KCMO, yet we recognize that more work lies ahead. So, where do we go from here? Within KCMO, the issue of data transparency and local control of the Kansas City Police Department remain serious issues that must be addressed, not just for further decriminalization efforts, but also to better support the city’s long-term Vision Zero and racial justice goals. Beyond KCMO, we hope other communities across the metro will take note of this and begin to ask what actions they need to make their most vulnerable road users, and their Black and Brown travelers in particular, truly safe.

Posted in Advocacy, Bicycling, BikeWalkKC News, equity, KCMO Central-South, Walking and tagged , , , , .