Some new signs will be popping up along roadsides in Kansas — designating two different bicycle routes. One of those, U.S. Bicycle Route 76, also known as the TransAmerica Trail, passes through Harvey County as it connects the east and west coasts.
“Thousands of cyclists ride these routes through Kansas every year, offering great tourist opportunities for the over 30 communities they pass through, especially rural towns,” said Jenny Kramer, Kansas Department of Transportation bicycle and pedestrian coordinator. “Many towns take advantage of this opportunity for economic growth and development by making their towns more bicycle-friendly and creating attractive resting and overnight spots for travelers.”
The TransAmerica Trail brought a world-record holder to Newton in 2014, and cyclists from around the globe competing in the annual TransAm Bike Race since 2014. The next Trans Am Bike Race will launch June 7, 2020. In 2017, a veteran cycling to raise awareness of veteran suicide stopped in Newton.
In 2018, Tsaichu Cheng, from Mountain View, Calif., was southbound in the 6100 block of North Ridge Road when he was struck by a car driven by Michelle Watson, 17, of Hutchinson, at 10:40 p.m. June 18. Cheng suffered multiple injuries, including a shattered hip and injured neck. According to the Harvey County Sheriff’s Office, Cheng was southbound and struck from behind just north of N.W. 60th.
During the same race, John J. Egbers, 64, of St. Cloud, Minn., was struck by a car near Scott City. He died three weeks later.
"We sign it for motorists too, and it makes sense. It brings awareness and will put it in motorists' minds that they may see a bicycle and be ready to slow down," Kramer said.
Sign installation will begin in spring 2020 and should all be placed by June. KDOT has developed signing plans to assist with installation along the state and local systems. In addition, KDOT plans to release the 2020-21 Kansas Bicycle Map by next summer.
“Signage is beneficial because it provides wayfinding for cyclists and it alerts motorists to diligently be aware of and respectful to cyclists sharing the road,” said Chris Herrick, KDOT planning and development director.
Highway signs that will help show the way for USBR 76 and 66 throughout Kansas were unveiled Thursday at an event along Historic Route 66 in Riverton. Kramer said the signs will be posted with already posted highway/road identifier signs along the route — about every 3 to 10 miles, depending on the road. Within cities there will be more, tracking each turn in the route.
In Newton, for example, signs will be more prevalent as the route makes turns and changes.
The west side will be marked along Meridian, along with 1st Street, K-15 highway and the Interstate 135 junction.
More than 900 new road/highway signs will be placed across Kansas marking the two bicycle routes. These routes in Kansas were approved by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), as a result of collaborative efforts between KDOT and the Adventure Cycling Association, beginning in 2015. The USBR system connects bicycle routes across the country for safer, long-distance cycling.
The TransAmerica Bicycle Trail extends more than 480 miles in Kansas and runs from Greeley County on the Colorado border to Crawford County on the Missouri border. The Kansas stretch of USBR 66 is 13 miles long and runs through the southeast corner of the state.