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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Metro-east bicycling news

Here's a roundup of recent news involving bicycling in the Illinois counties of the St. Louis Metropolitan Area, commonly known as the metro-east:
  • Bicyclist dies while performing stunts: Jimmy Mullins of Red Bud, Ill., was killed Monday while performing stunts on his bicycle outside the Monroe County Courthouse in Waterloo. Mullins, 27, was known for performing jumps and tricks. Mullins had been performing tricks on a 20-inch Mongoose BMX bike on the lawn of the courthouse when he rode out at a high rate of speed in front of a parked sports utility vehicle and into traffic, Waterloo Police Chief Jim Trantham told the Belleville News-Democrat.

    No charges will be filed against the driver, a Missouri man who was in town on a fishing trip. He was not injured. "It was clearly not the driver's fault," Trantham said. "He could not avoid the bicycle, the way the bicyclist came out."

  • Belleville to get new bicycle trail: It's not a very long trail -- one-quarter of a mile -- but the west end of Belleville is getting its first bicycle trail. Signal Hill Elementary School received a $250,000 grant to build the trail, which will link Foley Drive with Signal Hill Park. The trail is intended to give children safe access to walk or ride their bikes to Signal Hill Elementary and nearby Blessed Sacrament School, the Belleville News-Democrat reported.

  • Work continues on Great River Road trail: The Illinois Department of Transportation is repaving Illinois Route 100 and the adjoining Sam Vadalabene Bicycle Trail between Alton and Grafton. The (Alton) Telegraph reports work will be continuing on the road and trail into October. Detours are being posted when necessary for the bike trail.

  • Calhoun County pursues grant for bike trails: Calhoun County, nestled between the Illinois and Mississippi rivers, is seeking a $20,000 grant for planning bicycle trails. Although the southern tip of the county only about 5 miles from St. Charles and St. Peters, Mo., as the crow flies, the county is relatively isolated because it is accessible from the rest of the St. Louis area only by one bridge across the Illinois River at Hardin and several ferries. Nevertheless, many cyclists have discovered the county because of its rural beauty. With about 5,100 residents, Calhoun County is the third-smallest county in Illinois.

    "We have bicyclists that already ride through the county, and our focus on biking/ hiking trails is on promoting health, economics, and safety of bicyclists and hikers in the county," Dale Hagen, a member of the county’s Calhoun Community Foundation, told The Telegraph. "While a bike trail might not bring in a lot of money from bicyclists right away, it might down the road, as people come to Calhoun County and see its beauty, and that might lead to other things."

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