Timon of Athens, 2010-08-16 14:10:40
Cross posted from news section

Randy at Kansas Cyclist has made me aware that the city of Iola has some city statutes that will be of interest to those of us who are pedaling through town. The relevant sections of the municipal code are:


*State law references: Authority to regulate bicycles, K.S.A. 8-2002(21); bicycles and play vehicles, K.S.A. 8-1586 et seq.

Sec. 90-141. Surrender for violations.

(a) Any person violating the provisions of this article shall be punished by being required to surrender the person’s bicycles, if the person owns more than one, to the chief of police and shall not operate any vehicle within the city for a period of one week.

(b) Any person using or operating a bicycle within the city in violation of any ordinance of the city relating to traffic may be punished therefor, in lieu of or in addition to, other penalties provided, by being required to surrender the bicycles, if the person owns more than one, to the chief of police, and shall not operate any vehicle within the city for one week.

(Code 1988, § 14-505)

Sec. 90-142. Registration; tag; fee; additional regulations.

(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a bicycle within the city, without having registered the bicycle and having an unexpired license therefor. Such registration shall be with, and license shall be procured from, the city chief of police.

(b) The city shall furnish to every owner whose bicycle shall be registered, one number plate or tag for each bicycle, and the tag or plate shall be displayed on the bicycle to which it is assigned during the current registration year in such a manner as to be clearly visible from the rear of such bicycle.

(c) The annual license fee for such bicycle shall be an amount established in section 34-732 for each calendar year, or part thereof. Any bicycle which is registered by a new owner on or following December 24 of any calendar year, may display the number plate or tag for the ensuing calendar year and shall be relieved from such fee for the then current calendar year.

(d) The chief of police shall have the power to make additional regulations necessary to make effective the provisions of this article.

(Code 1988, §§ 14-501–14-504)

Sec. 90-143. Riding on sidewalks.

It shall be unlawful for any person to ride a bicycle on the sidewalks within the corporate limits of the city.

(Code 1988, § 14-506)

As you can see, not very friendly to trail riders. Since the trail is paved in town it could be considered a sidewalk.

Now, I have never heard anyone complain about this. Nobody that I know of has had their bike taken. The licensing fee is $.50. But if you are in an accident heading down to Subway from the trailhead, there could be implications for you and your insurance. Note that registering your bike is not limited to residents.

I think that this is something that needs to be brought to the attention of city administration. The contact information is at


Be polite. we don’t want special rights. We would like to bike into town without danger of ALL of our bikes being seized. Just let the four people running the city know that you enjoy the trail and would like to feel that the laws would help facilitate that.



kretzmeier, 2010-08-20 14:12:13
Sam has encouraged me, since I am from Iola, to comment on what seems to be rather unfriendly municipal statutes to bicycle owners and riders. It is my best guess that city officials are not aware of the language of the existing statutes. I come to this conclusion based upon the city commission’s favorable efforts as to the trail inside of Iola and trailhead, cooperating in the installation of shelters, water supply, and racks at the trailhead and most recently in applying and receiving federal/state transportation grant money and committing in excess of $ 100,000 of local money to extend the trail south 1.2 miles to the city park. As a youth I remember when licensing local bikes came about in the 1950’s or 1960’s. Officer Kelly days, I believe. This was probably established to effectively deal with lost, stolen, and found bicycles. I have not personally witnessed the law as it is currently published, being actively enforced.

I have two bikes. I have acquired a license and applied the stick on tag to one of my bikes. The more expensive bike I have not. It is my further guess that the tagging system currently in place was developed using an old card system which was the most efficient system of its’ day and time. Certainly it did not take into consideration that today’s owner of a $ 3,000 or $ 5,000 carbon frame bicycle, would not likely stand for applying a license sticker to their frame. I am one who subscribes to the belief that if one desires change, they should provide suggestions as to what that change should be. The commissioners and City Administrator are known to me and as a resident cycling enthusiast it looks to me like I need to approach them. I will do so.

My recommendations will be to suggest that the old card and license sticker system be replaced. Every bike has a serial number. In today’s world a bicycle database system could be created in 10 minutes using Microsoft Access or even Microsoft Excel. The database could locate quickly any serial number for a bike entered into the system. Consequently, the costs and hassle of a sticker tag system is not necessary. I will recommend they move to a database system, with a one-time registration fee to the bike owner to record the serial number, name, and owner information of the bike.

I will recommend the statute be changed so that licensing applies only to those residents residing within the city limits of Iola so as to hold harmless those person’s riding through the city on the trail or public roads.

Finally, I will suggest language clarification that establishes that paths clearly marked as walking/bike trails do not come within the meaning of sidewalk for the purposes of Sec.90-143.

I am certainly open to a critical eye or someone else’s suggestions as to recommended changes. If you have suggestions as to further statute language changes please try to get them to me and I will champion them to the best of my ability.

jlovitt, 2010-09-29 14:29:56
I wrote a short friendly email to the City Administrator and the Mayor. The City Administrator gave me her word that my bike would not be confiscated. She was going to talk to the Chief of Police about the law and look into updating it for modern times.
gcardell, 2011-08-19 02:43:45
I am an Iola resident and couldn’t agree more with kretzmeier’s suggestion. It sounds exactly like what’s needed.
Timon of Athens, 2013-01-16 11:53:46
Just a quick update here. Iola has changed their statures. Good work from several who I know read this forum. Randy at Kansas Cyclist has more information here.


DirtBum, 2013-01-16 14:01:51
Yes, Iola’s stature has definitely gone up. 😉

I was lucky enough to find someone in Iola willing and able to take this on and work through the process (David Toland at Thrive Allen County http://www.thriveallencounty.org/).

My understanding is that the Iola police were extremely supportive of the changes, as were the mayor and entire city council. That’s so refreshing to see!

The new Southwind Rail Trail to Humboldt is going to be really nice addition to the community as well. The Elm Creek Bridge is particularly awesome to behold.


kretzmeier, 2013-01-19 15:28:09
The new City of Iola Bicycle Ordinance is much more friendly. It even allows for riding on sidewalks.
The compliance portions of the new ordinance are listed below:

SECTION 1. AMENDMENT. Chapter 90 Traffic and Vehicles, Article V Bicycles, Section
90, Paragraphs 142-146 are hereby amended by deleting said Sections of said Code and substituting
thereto the following:

Sec. 90-142. Registration
Any resident of the City of lola can register their bicycle with the lola Police Department during normal business hours. Registration is not required but is highly recommended. There are no fees for bicycle registration.

Sec. 90-143. Bicycles and human powered vehicles on sidewalks.
(a) A person operating a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, shall yield the light-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing such pedestrian.

(b) A person operating a vehicle by human power upon and along a sidewalk or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk shall have all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances.

(c) Bicycles may be ridden upon sidewalks in the central business district. Riders should exercise special caution to prevent conflicts, avoid areas close to store entrances,yield to pedestrians, and walk bicycles in congested areas.

Sec. 90- 144. Parking of bicycles.
It is unlawful for any person to park or leave a bicycle on public property where such bicycle blocks pedestrian travel or presents a traffic hazard.

Please feel welcome coming to Iola. The arch Gateway when Thrive Allen County completes it, and the Elm Creek Bridge south of town on the Southwind Rail Trail when it is completed, will be worth visiting.

Note: This is an archived copy of an old forum thread, maintained for posterity. For the latest discussions, check out our new forums!

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