Lawmakers seek to designate Oklahoma Route 66 as U.S. Bicycle Route

An Oklahoma state legislator has introduced a bill that would designate all of Route 66 in the Sooner State as a U.S. Bicycle Route.

State Rep. John Talley (R-Stillwater) listed in the Stillwater News Press a bunch of bills he has introduced for the legislative session that begins Feb. 1. This one caught my eye:

House Bill 1706 — A constituent asked me to run this bill, which would designate Oklahoma’s 375 miles of Route 66 as a US Bicycle Route. Oklahoma has the longest continuous stretch of Route 66 in the nation, and this bill would boost tourism in our state as it encourages bicyclists from Oklahoma as well as across the nation to explore historic Route 66.

The language of the bill itself contains this introductory text:

An Act relating to transportation; stating legislative intent; requiring the Oklahoma Department of Transportation sign and send application requesting Historic U.S. Route 66 be declared a U.S. Bicycle Route by certain date; requiring signage be placed on certain highway; providing for noncodification; providing for codification; and providing an effective date.

The bill states that Oklahoma has no U.S. Bicycle Routes. If so designated, ODOT would place “suitable permanent markers marking the route.”

The bill, if enacted, would go into effect on Nov. 1. State Rep. Mike Osburn (R-Edmond) is the co-sponsor.

Missouri also has all of its section of Route 66 designated as a U.S. Bicycle Route.

The Adventure Cycling Association has this explanation of the U.S. Bicycle Routes:

The U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS) is a developing national network of bicycle routes connecting urban and rural communities via signed roads and trails. Created with public input, U.S. Bicycle Routes direct bicyclists to a preferred route through a city, county, or state – creating opportunities for people everywhere to bicycle for travel, transportation, and recreation.

Creating a fun and safe path on Route 66 in Oklahoma would be easier than many other states it traverses. One conceivably can be on Route 66 all the way through Oklahoma without ever being on an interstate.

(Image of the U.S. Bicycle Route 66 sign in Missouri via Wikipedia)

3 thoughts on “Lawmakers seek to designate Oklahoma Route 66 as U.S. Bicycle Route

  1. I like to promote Route 66 as much as most people but my opinion on this is that a bicycle route ought to guide cyclists on a route that can be followed AND a route chosen for the safety of the cyclist. Route 66 has many miles of curvy, hilly sections without any shoulder on narrow rough roads. Cyclists I have encountered in these areas are sometimes not spotted until you are almost on them. Their speed is much less than the vehicle traffic passing them and oncoming traffic may prevent changing lanes to give them a full lane. This all adds up to a very risky ride in some stretches. Upgrading the roads to wider, smoother and full shoulders runs the risk of removing some of the historic nature of this road. I would suggest the law maker personally ride the entire length of it to evaluate its feasibility and safety. There are certainly sections of 66 that would make wonderful bike routes but trying to make the entire length of it a designated bike route is not a good idea.

  2. I’m trying to keep my 66 knowledge correct. I have read that AZ had the longest stretch of 66 yet the quote says OK has that claim. Can anyone verify which of these is fact. If the quote is wrong, this is one way “facts” are born that die hard. If my information is wrong, then an old “fact” is circulating and well-preserved in many sources. Did I read this quote incorrectly? We devout 66er’s need to know. Thanks to anyone who can clarify.

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