Tag Archives: Bicycle News and Articles

Post Ferguson Fear of the Grand Jury: Fox 2 Questions Trial Attorney Michelle Funkenbusch On Move to Grand Jury of Furrer’s Felony Case

Is a Grand Jury still Grand???

Reporter Andy Banker  from Fox 2 stopped by the office this afternoon to talk about the move of Mayor Mark Furrer’s case to a grand jury at the last minute from a preliminary hearing.  As you know, the proceedings are secret and we cannot watch or be part of the process as the law firm for the victim. We represent cyclist Randy Murdick who alleges the Mayor of Sunset Hills intentionally ran him off the road. Reporter Banker was wondering if we have concerns over the last minute move to a grand jury.

While I do not have blind faith in the legal process, I do, in fact, have faith in our justice system that an indictment will follow.  I have personally seen in my criminal defense work, the St. Louis County Prosecutor’s Office fight zealously to protect our streets from people they believe endanger us on the road.  We will find out in the next few days the fate in the criminal court of the Mayor of Sunset Hills. Let us hope that the people that lost faith in the justice system over “Ferguson” will see that the Grand Jury is still grand.

Michelle M. Funkenbusch


Top Ten Things to Do When You Are Hit By a Car on Your Bicycle

Top Ten Things to Do After a Bicycle Accident from St. Louis Bicycle Accident Attorney 

Cyclists are injured and killed by hit-and-run drivers every day. Today, a cyclist was killed while trying to cross the street after exiting a well known bike path in Fullerton, California. Police are searching for a black vehicle involved in a hit-and-run accident that left the bicyclist dead.  Police said the man that was hit appeared to have come off a popular biking trail and was crossing the street.  The vehicle fled the scene, and then the victim was hit by a second vehicle, which stopped.  The bicyclist was rushed to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after.

Here is a checklist to follow if you are hit while riding your bicycle and are still able to function. If you were not able to function at the time of the accident, or your loved one was killed, it is imperative you or your family contact an experienced bicycle accident attorney immediately. Make sure your family knows who you want them to call in an emergency.  If you are a witness to an accident, please help the victim with the following top ten things to do after a cycling accident:


1.  Get out of the road to avoid being hit a second time; however, if possible, take pictures (or have someone else take pictures) before the bike or car are moved.

2.  Get the phone numbers and names of all witnesses.

3.  Make sure to remember what if anything the driver, passengers, and or witnesses admit or tell you about the accident.

4.  Call the police immediately and make a police report.  Do not let the driver talk you out of making a report.

5.  Do not ignore your pain and blow it off. People are often hurt way worse than what they thought at the time of the accident due to adrenaline.  Go to an ER or doctor immediately if you have any pain. If you do not document that you are injured in medical records, you have no case for personal injuries.

6.  Ask to see the driver’s license and insurance information. Do not just let them write it down for you. Get the phone numbers to make a claim. Check the policy dates on the card to verify you have the correct insurance card. 

7.  Seek an estimate of your bike damage for repair and replacement value from a reputable shop like Maplewood Bicycle. http://www.maplewoodbicycle.com/.  Do NOT try to fix it on your own without first getting the estimate.

8. Do not destroy anything that could be evidence such as a cracked helmut, torn clothing, bloody shoes, etc.

9.  Do NOT give a recorded statement to the insurance company. They are NOT on your side and will try to trick you into saying something to use against you in court.  

10.  Call a bicycle accident attorney within 24 hours in order to preserve all evidence, to contact witnesses, to make sure the police have the correct story (in case a supplemental report is needed with your statement), and to let the insurance company for the driver know you are represented and cannot be bullied into a settlement that greatly undervalues your case.

Again, if you or your loved one are hit while cycling, contact Missouri Cycling Advocate and Bicycle Accident Attorney, Michelle M. Funkenbusch at 314-338-3500.   If you would like a FREE hour presentation to your community group, athletic club, or children’s organization, on Missouri bicycle law and safety measures, please contact Michelle.

Summary of U.S. Report on Commuting by Bike and on Foot by Missouri Bicycle Accident Lawyer

The Status of Bicycling and Walking in the U.S.

Government officials working to promote bicycling and walking need data to evaluate their efforts. In order to improve something, there must be a means to measure it. The Alliance for Biking & Walking’s Benchmarking Project is an ongoing effort to collect and analyze data on bicycling and walking in all 50 states and the 51 largest cities. They have now prepared the third biennial Benchmarking Report which is 248 pages long. The first report was published in 2007, the second in 2010, and the next report is scheduled for January 2014.


According to the report, the top ten cities where the most people commute by bike or on foot are: 1. Alaska 2. Vermont 3. New York 4. Montana 5. Oregon 6. Hawaii 7. Massachusetts 8. South Dakota 9. Wyoming 10. Maine.  The number one position, Alaska,  indicates it is the state with the highest share of commuters who commute by bicycle or foot.  The cities who ranked highest in commuting by bike and on foot are: 1. Boston  2. Washington, DC 3. San Francisco 4. Seattle 5. New York 6. Portland, OR  7. Minneapolis 8. Philadelphia 9. Honolulu 10. New Orleans.

Missouri ranked 40th out of the 50 states in the levels of commuting by bike or on foot. 

This information comes from the 2007-2009 ACS Notes: This ranking is based on the combined bike and walk to work share from the 2007-2009 ACS. View graphs illustrating this data on pages 34 and 35 of the Benchmark Report.


This is difficult to determine, but one statistic to consider is the number of fatalities per population commuting by walking or biking to work.  The arguably safest state based on fatality statistics is Vermont. The top safest states rank as follows: 1. Vermont 2. Nebraska 3. Alaska 4. Wyoming 5. South Dakota 6. North Dakota 7. Iowa 8. Maine 9. Massachusetts 10. Minnesota. See FARS 2007-2009 ACS 2007-2009.  Note that this ranking is based on the fatality rate which is calculated by dividing the number of annual pedestrian and bicycle fatalities (averaged between 2007-2009) by population (weighted, or multiplied, by share of the population walking and bicycling to work). View these data on pages 56-62 of this report.

Illinois ranked in the top half  of lowest fatalities/population commuting by bike/foot at 23rd,

but Missouri was in the 34th position.

The top twelve cities who ranked the safest based on the fatality statistics  are as follows: 1. Boston 2. Minneapolis 3. Omaha 4. Seattle 5. Portland, OR 6. Washington, DC 7. New York 8, San Francisco 9. Philadelphia 10. Honolulu 11. Colorado Springs 12. Chicago. Kansas City, MO ranked 45th and St. Louis did not make the list because this report focuses on the 50 states and the 51 largest U.S. cities. Most bicycling and walking is in urban areas, and because of short trip distances, the most potential for increasing bicycling and walking is in cities.

Summary of Additional Facts From the Report

Bicycling and Walking Levels:

  • 12% of all trips are by bicycle (1.0%) or foot (10.5%).
  • From 2000 to 2009, the number of commuters who bicycle to work increased by 57%.
  • In 2009, 40% of trips in the United States were shorter than 2 miles, yet Americans use their cars for 87% of trips 1 to 2 miles. Twenty-seven percent of trips are shorter than 1 mile, yet 62% of trips up to 1 mile long are by car. Residents of the largest U.S. cities are 1.7 times more likely to walk or bicycle to work than the national average.

Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety:

  • 14% of all traffic fatalities in the U.S. are bicyclists (1.8%) or pedestrians (11.7%).
  • In the 51 largest U.S. cities, 12.7% of trips are by foot and 1.1% are by bicycle, yet 26.9% of traffic fatalities are pedestrians and 3.1% are bicyclists
  • Seniors are the most vulnerable bicyclists and pedestrians. Adults over 65 make up 10% of walking trips, yet comprise 19% of pedestrian fatalities and make up 6% of bicycling trips, yet account for and 10% of bicyclist fatalities.

Funding for Bicycling and Walking:

 • States spend just 1.6% of their federal transportation dollars on bicycling and walking. This amounts to just $2.17 per capita.

Missouri was ranked 17th out of the 50 states in funding bicycling and walking.

This ranking is based on the per capita spending of federal funds by states and cities on bicycling and walking using a 5-year average (2006-2010). Data is based on funds obligated to projects in this period and are not necessarily the amount spent in these years. The number one position, again Alaska, indicates the state with the highest amount of per capita federal funding to bicycling and walking.  View these data on pages 86-87 of this report.

Here are some additional facts about financial benefits from the extensive report:

Public Health Benefits:

• Bicycling and walking levels fell 66% between 1960 and 2009, while obesity levels increased by 156%.

• Between 1966 and 2009, the number of children who bicycled or walked to school fell 75%, while the percentage of obese children rose 276%.

• In general, states with the highest levels of bicycling and walking have the lowest levels of obesity, hypertension (high blood pressure), and diabetes and have the greatest percentage of adults who meet the recommended 30-plus minutes per day of physical activity.

Economic Benefits:

 • Bicycling and walking projects create 11-14 jobs per $1 million spent, compared to just 7 jobs created per $1 million spent on highway projects.

 • Cost benefit analyses show that up to $11.80 in benefits can be gained for every $1 invested in bicycling and walking.

Download the complete report at: www.PeoplePoweredMovement.org/Benchmarking

Michelle M. Funkenbusch is a cycling advocate and Missouri trial attorney specializing in representing cyclists who have been injured in accidents. Please contact her if you wish for her to speak with your group about the benefits of cycling or if you have been injured in an accident. 314-799-6602. mmf@SaintLouisLegal.com

“Going the Distance”: Pennsylvania Passes “Four Foot” Bicycle Passing Law.

Missouri Cycling Advocate on the New “Four Foot” Passing Law in Pennsylvania.

There is no IQ test required to drive a car or ride a bike… but seeing accident after accident in St. Louis and the surrounding area in Missouri, I am glad to see the continued nationwide movement to pass “safe passing bills”.  Every cyclist knows how it feels to have a car, truck or bus pass too close for comfort.   I know many who have been hit by cars and survived to tell their tale, but not all.  How many cyclists have experienced the “red pickup truck” cursing at them as they are passed on a lonely country road wide enough for all to be happy. Or how about the typical teenage girl in the Dodge Neon, texting her girlfriends, who turns straight into a cyclist.  Motorists often misjudge the space needed due to inattentiveness, lack of the expectation of a cyclist, and lack of experience driving by cyclists. To make roads safer for bicyclists and other vulnerable road users, many states have passed “safe passing bills”  to provide bicyclists the protection of law from passing motor vehicles.

On Tuesday, January 24, 2012, the Pennsylvania Senate voted to pass HB170, a bill that would require motorists allow a minimum of four feet when passing a cyclists on the roadway.  If you review the bill, note that it refers to bikes as pedalcycles… not to be confused with motorcycles.  The bill passed the Senate in a 45-5 vote and is now awaiting signature by their governor so it may become law.  Once signed into law the Pennsylvania bill will require that:

  • Bicycles in Pennsylvania must be operated in the right hand lane, or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of roadway.
  • This does not apply to a bicycle using any portion of the road due to unsafe surface conditions.
  • Motorists must overtake a bicycle with no less than four feet between the vehicle and the bicycle and at a “prudent reduced speed”.
  • No turn by a motorist may interfere with a bicycle proceeding straight.

Here is the link if you would like to read the bill:


The “four foot” law is significant in that most states that have passed safe passing laws have limited it to three feet.  Three foot laws have come under scrutiny for still being too narrow.  Some driver’s education handbooks instruct to give 6 feet of room when passing a cyclist.

No Three or Four Foot Law in Missouri: Must Pass at “Safe Distance”

Insurance Company lobbyists have continued their success in Missouri in blocking a three or four foot passing laws.  They fear a rise in claims if a clear-cut law is passed.  Currently, Missouri has no specific number of feet that you must overtake a bicycle, but there is a specific  vehicle-overtaking-bicycle law.  Overtaking  law, “304.678.  Distance to be maintained  when overtaking a bicycle.”, (here)  states “The operator of a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle proceeding in the  same direction on the roadway, as defined in section 300.010, RSMo, shall leave a safe distance, when passing the bicycle, and shall maintain clearance  until safely past the overtaken bicycle.” (italics added)  Penalty: “Any person who violates the  provisions of this section is guilty of an infraction unless an accident is  involved in which case it shall be a class C misdemeanor.

If you have any questions about Missouri bicycle accident law, contact Michelle M. Funkenbusch, St. Louis Trial Lawyer and Cycling Advocate, 314-799-6602.  Michelle provides free bicycle law education seminars to the community, high schools, scout troops, and adult social organizations. If you would like Michelle to speak to your group, please do not hesitate to contact her.

Finding Private Safe Roads in Missouri For Cycling is a Challenge



As a Missouri expert in bicycle law, here are the top five misconceptions about the law as it relates to cyclists. How many did you get right? -Michelle

#1  Under the law, bikes are too slow to be on the road.
 Under Section 307.191, Missouri state law says that you CAN operate your bike at LOWER than the posted speed or slower than the flow of traffic on a street or highway, or you may operate on the shoulder.  This allows but does not require bikes to ride on the shoulder.  In other words, those who suggest bikes cannot be on the road because they can’t maintain a minimum speed limit are flat out wrong.  Bikes cannot however be on the INTERSTATE in Missouri.
#2  Cyclists break the law when they ride side by side on the road. 
Under Section 307.190, bicyclists may ride abreast (side by side) only when not impeding traffic., i.e. they must ride single file if impeding traffic.  They must also ride as far to the right as is safe.  The problem is that motorists then think they can squeeze by in the same lane and barely miss hitting cyclists.  If the lane is too narrow to safely share between a bicycle and a motor vehicle, the bicycle may move towards the center of the lane so as to discourage motor vehicles from dangerously squeezing past in the same narrow lane.   If you see a bicyclist riding in the middle of the lane in this way, be patient and view the road from the perspective of the cyclist as he or she may be following the law.  Slow and wait behind the bicyclist until it is safe to move into the next lane to pass.  Often there is debris in the shoulder of the road or a bike lane ends where there is no shoulder, requiring the cyclist to enter the lane of traffic.
#3  Cyclists should ride on sidewalks instead of roads when they are in a business district with nice wide sidewalks.
Under Section 300.347 of the Missouri State statutes, it is against the law to ride your bike on a sidewalk in a business district.  Cyclists are required to share the road with cars and allow pedestrians to use the sidewalks.
#4  Cyclists don’t have to follow any rules on the road as they are not motor vehicles.
Under 307.188, cyclists have all the rights and DUTIES applicable to motor vehicles. This means cyclists are required to obey traffic control devices.
#5  Missouri drivers must use the “highest degree of care” while driving next to cyclists.
The standard of care to operate a motor vehicle is one of the greatest in Missouri. If a driver of a motor vehicle hits a cyclist, the driver can have both criminal charges and a civil case against him or her. In the civil case for money damages, the driver’s attorney will have to show the driver used the HIGHEST degree of care in operating his or her vehicle. This means you must take more care in driving than is required of a brain surgeon operating on your head, an engineer building a bridge or a day care worker watching your child. You must take more care in driving than doing anything else in life. Slowing down on known cycling routes is MANDATORY to use the highest degree of care. You cannot drive the speed limit if you cannot see around corners and over hills to avoid slow moving vehicles, like cyclists. While bicyclists are also required to operate their bikes in a safe manner, as motor vehicles can weigh from 3000(cars) to 80,000 (tractor-trailers)pounds, what amounts to the highest degree of care can vary. If you know it takes you 100 feet to stop at the speed you are going, you may be required to drive slower to meet the highest degree of care standard.
Below is a list of all the laws that pertain to cyclists. Please take a moment to review them!


Missouri State Statutes Regarding Bicycles July 2005

300.347. Riding bicycle on sidewalks, limitations – motorized bicycles prohibited.
(1) No person shall ride a bicycle upon a sidewalk within a business district;
(2) Whenever any person is riding a bicycle upon a sidewalk, such person shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give audible signal before overtaking and passing such pedestrian;
(3) No person shall ride a motorized bicycle upon a sidewalk.
300.350. Riding bicycles, sleds, roller skates, by attaching to another vehicle, prohibited.
No person riding upon any bicycle, motorized bicycle, coaster, roller skates, sled or toy vehicle shall attach the same or himself to any vehicle upon a roadway.
300.330. Bicycle lane regulations
The driver of a motor vehicle shall not drive within any sidewalk area except as a permanent or temporary driveway. A designated bicycle lane shall not be obstructed by a parked or standing motor vehicle or other stationary object. A motor vehicle may be driven in a designated bicycle lane only for the purpose of a lawful maneuver to cross the lane or to provide for safe travel. In making an otherwise lawful maneuver that requires traveling in or crossing a designated bicycle lane, the driver of a motor vehicle shall yield to any bicycle in the lane. As used in this section, the term “designated bicycle lane” shall mean a portion of the roadway or highway that has been designated by the governing body having jurisdiction over such roadway or highway by striping with signing or striping with pavement markings for the preferential or exclusive use of bicycles.
300.411 and 304.678 Overtake bicycles at a safe distance
(1) The operator of a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle proceeding in the same direction on the roadway, as defined in section 300.010, RSMo, shall leave a safe distance, when passing the bicycle, and shall maintain clearance until safely past the overtaken bicycle.
(2) Any person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of an infraction unless an accident is involved in which case it shall be a class C misdemeanor.
307.180. Bicycle and motorized bicycle, defined. As used in sections 307.180 to 307.193:
(1) The word bicycle shall mean every vehicle propelled solely by human power upon which any person may ride, having two tandem wheels, or two parallel wheels and one or two forward or rear wheels, all of which are more than fourteen inches in diameter, except scooters and similar devices;
(2) The term motorized bicycle shall mean any two or three-wheeled device having an automatic transmission and a motor with a cylinder capacity of not more than fifty cubic centimeters, which produces less than three gross brake horsepower, and is capable of propelling the device at a maximum speed of not more than thirty miles per hour on level ground. A motorized bicycle shall be considered a motor vehicle for purposes of any homeowners- or renters- insurance policy.
307.183. Brakes required.
Every bicycle and motorized bicycle shall be equipped with a brake or brakes which will enable its driver to stop the bicycle or motorized bicycle within twenty-five feet from a speed of ten
miles per hour on dry, level, clean pavement.
307.185 Lights and reflectors, when required – standards to be met.
Every bicycle and motorized bicycle when in use on a street or highway during the period from one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise shall be equipped with the following:
(1) A front-facing lamp on the front or carried by the rider which shall emit a white light visible at night under normal atmospheric conditions on a straight, level, unlighted roadway at five hundred feet;
(2) A rear-facing red reflector, at least two square inches in reflective surface area, or a rear-facing red lamp, on the rear which shall be visible at night under normal atmospheric conditions on a straight, level, unlighted roadway when viewed by a vehicle driver under the lower beams of vehicle head-lights at six hundred feet;
(3) Reflective material and/or lights visible from the front and the rear on any moving part of the bicyclists, pedals, crank arms, shoes or lower leg, visible from the front and the rear at night under normal atmospheric conditions on a straight, level, unlighted roadway when viewed by a vehicle driver under the lawful lower beams of vehicle headlights at two hundred feet; and
(4) Reflective material and/or lights visible on each side of the bicycle or bicyclist visible at night under normal atmospheric conditions on a straight, level, unlighted roadway when viewed by a vehicle driver under the lawful lower beams of vehicle headlights at three hundred feet. The provisions of this subdivision shall not apply to motorized bicycles which comply with National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration regulations relating to reflectors on motorized bicycles.
307.188. Rights and duties of bicycle and motorized bicycle riders. Every person riding a bicycle or motorized bicycle upon a street or highway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle as provided by chapter 304, RSMo, except as to special regulations in sections 307.180 to 307.193 and except as to those provisions of chapter 304, RSMo, which by their nature can have no application.
307.190. Riding to right, required for bicycles and motorized bicycles.
Every person operating a bicycle or motorized bicycle at less than the posted speed or slower than the flow of traffic upon a street or highway shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as safe, exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction, except when making a left turn, when avoiding hazardous conditions, when the lane is too narrow to share with another vehicle or when on a one-way street. Bicyclists may ride abreast when not impeding other vehicles.
307.191. Shoulder riding, allowed but not required for bicyclist operators
(1) A person operating a bicycle at less than the posted speed or slower than the flow of traffic upon a street or highway may operate as described in section 307.190, or may operate on the shoulder adjacent to the roadway.
(2) A bicycle operated on a roadway, or the shoulder adjacent to a roadway, shall be operated in the same direction as vehicles are required to be driven upon the roadway.
(3) For purposes of this section and section 307.190, “roadway”, means that portion of a street or highway ordinarily used for vehicular travel, exclusive of the berm or shoulder.
307.192. Bicyclists may signal right turn with right arm
The operator of a bicycle shall signal as required in section 304.019, RSMo, except that a signal by the hand and arm need not be given continuously if the hand is needed to control or operate the bicycle. An operator of a bicycle intending to turn the bicycle to the right shall signal as indicated in section 304.019, RSMo, or by extending such operator’s right arm in a horizontal position so that the same may be seen in front and in rear of the vehicle.
307.193. Penalty for violation.
Any person seventeen years of age or older who violates any provision of sections 307.180 to 307.193 is guilty of an infraction and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not less than five dollars nor more than twenty-five dollars. Such an infraction does not constitute a crime and conviction shall not give rise to any disability or legal disadvantage based on conviction of a criminal offense. If any person under seventeen years of age violates any provision of sections 307.180 to 307.193 in the presence of a peace officer possessing the duty and power of arrest for violation of the general criminal laws of the state or for violation of ordinances of counties or municipalities of the state, said officer may impound the bicycle or motorized bicycle involved for a period not to exceed five days upon issuance of a receipt to the child riding it or to its owner.
© 2011 The Law Offices of Michelle M. Funkenbusch, LLC.  All Rights Reserved. These materials may not be reproduced in any way without the written permission of The Law Offices of Michelle M. Funkenbusch, LLC. This blog is designed to provide general information on the topic provided and is posted with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering any legal or professional services. Although this post and the blog is prepared by a lawyer, it should not be used as a substitute for legal advice. If legal advice is required, the services of The Law Offices of Michelle M. Funkenbusch should be sought privately.