Officials Urge Motorists To Share Road With Bikes

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota’s transportation and public safety departments are urging motorists to share the road with bikes after the state’s first bicyclist fatality of 2011.

A 25-year-old bicyclist died Thursday when she was struck by a dump truck near the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

With the snow gone, bicyclists are back on the road. Officials expect the number of bicyclists to continue to rise in 2011, and they’re urging caution for those new to bicycle commuting.

Preliminary figures show there were nine bicycle fatalities in Minnesota in 2010, slightly lower than the 10 recorded in 2009.

Most bicycle crashes happen during afternoon rush hour.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • M

    You need to be smart when riding a bike on public roads. Travel on side roads and bike routes; especially when during heavy traffic in the morning and evening. If you are riding into the sun rise or sunset motorists will have a hell of a time seeing you. Don’t wear headphones. Wear a helmet. Be smart and aware of your surroundings. Always assume vehicles have the right of way. You won’t win if they hit you. Listen for cars coming and make eye contact with drivers so you know that they see you. Don’t run red lights; its as illegal as doing it in a car.

  • M

    Drivers. Pay attention for bikes in the city. You should be paying attention to what is in front and to the side of you anyways. Give a bicyclist a little bit of room on the shoulder. All they need is an extra foot.

    • SR

      M, have you driven on some busy roads in St. Paul and Minneapolis where there are cars parked on the side of the road? It’s IMPOSSIBLE to do such that! Bicyclists need to pay attention and understand that the traffic laws APPLY TO THEM ALSO!!! Don’t just put the blame on drivers there, M.

  • Al

    It is unfortunate that our roads are far from biker friendly. Motorists need to watch and be alert and bikers need to understand they are often in blind spots of vehicles.

  • Jackie

    I think it’s great that people are biking to work however I’m very tired of watching bikers break all the road rules. I’ve come to think of them as a dangerous addition to the streets and truly wish I wasn’t sharing a road with them. Yes, a red light means you have to stop too = you can’t just glance to the left and right and speed on through; no you can’t decide to drive on whichever side of the road will get you there faster, let alone moving up to the sidewalk while riding at a fast clip; no, please don’t weave in and out of traffic; and, please, if there’s a bike lane, use it.

    • joey33

      I AGREE.. This is exactly what I run into all the time…
      they should be licensed, insured and pay the road taxes too….

      • Joe DeLory

        We do pay road taxes in the form of property tax, income tax, sales tax and any other form of tax that goes into the general fund. The fuel taxes and licensing fees (what you call “road taxes”) go help maintain/repair the roads. When you consider the amount of wear and tear that cyclist cause to the road and the ammount of our taxes that subsidizes the petroleum and auto industry, as cyclists we pay far more taxes than the typical motorist ( BTW, most cyclists are also motorists)
        One point made is quite valid, cyclist must use common sense and we MUST obey ALL rules of the road.

        • pat

          All bikes should have to be licensed, just like a car.

  • tuna-free dolphin

    We keep hearing this from “officials” to share the road. How about tell bicyclists to watch out for the 3000+ lb. vehicles who are sharing that road? These people are arrogant about their “right” to the road to the point of being careless with their own lives. Hence they are being hit and killed by motor vehicles. If you are on a bicycle, don’t be a fool- WATCH OUT! The life you save may be your own. If we need to talk about passing new laws then consult a physics book first on the laws of mass and inertia. Everyone obeys those laws.

    • joey33

      NICE.. ! when ever I ride my bike.. those 3000+ lb vehicles have my attention..!

  • Trev

    I believe all need to be more careful. Drivers need to be more aware and bicycists need to follow the rules of the road. I see so many bicyclists blow through stop signs.

  • red

    Even if you are riding a bike you need to ride and obey the rules of the road as thoough you are driving a motorized vehicle and DO NOT WEAR HEADPHONES. If you are happen to be riding at night, wear light clothing, have reflectors and some bike lights. I can’t tell you how many times I haven’t seen a biker til it was almost too late cause they did not have lights, reflectors and wore dark clothing. This is for everyones safety.

    • Joe DeLory

      Lights, reflectors and bright colored clothing is a good idea no matter what timwe of day you are riding.

  • Michele

    Are bicycles considered a vehicle or a pedestrian in Minnesota? I’ve come close to hitting a biker as I’m turning right and he/she passes on my right. I’ve also been cut off walking across the street, by bikers. I think there needs to be a clear-cut law about what a bike can and can’t do, and those laws need to be enforced, for everyone’s safety.

  • Deep

    Yes and there’s plenty of REALLY bad car drivers out there also…… personally I know I’m more fit and a far better in hand to hand combat than 95% of the people in this country….. one day a construction worker yelled at me, said he was going to hit me and kill me! After I caught up to him at the red light I told him to hide his license plate so he has a better chance of getting away with murder and that he looked fat and soft and that if he wanted to keep running his mouth I could drag him outta his car by his fat neck and beat the crap out of him and stuff his fat self with broken legs in his trunk! Then asked how would he tell his buddies at the construction site that he got his butt kicked and locked in his trunk by a guy in tights!? Be careful out there some people are far angrier than You and have nothing to loose. Peace and love-get off the phone and drive!

  • s

    People on bikes please obey taffic laws as well. When there is a stop sign or red light that means you need to stop.

    • joey33

      YES.. it really p i s s e s me off that when they want the road they act like a licensed/insured/tax paying auto.. then when they are done acting like a licensed/insured/tax paying auto they do whatever they want …

  • bubba136

    Amen brother !!!!!

  • Deep

    Car drivers! PLEASE get off the phone and DRIVE! Remember many bikers are more fit and some have more anger than you can imagine. So be careful who’s life you threaten, ya could wake up with broken bones KO’ed locked in your trunk wondering what happened to your teeth….. Or bikers like me, when an angry (usually fat) car driver yells at me I ask them if they need a hug……. peace and love. What is up with people with baggy pants that walk out in front of traffic on red (don’t walk) signs? ! ? Personally I would LOVE to see one of these jerks get mowed down! I would never report that lic’ plate! It would be like community service….

    • Melvin


    • tuna-free dolphin

      What ever you say, spandex wearing tough guy. I don’t care how fit you are, or how fat I am. In a battle between you on your bike, and me in my 5000 lb Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited, the end of that story was written before it began, and it doesn’t include you knocking in anyone’s teeth. When is the last time you read about a motorist getting killed in an accident with a bicycle? Yeah we’re all pretty worried about tangling with you guys. Frankly I can’t understand why any self-respecting straight male would don spandex and step outside. But hey Dieter, it’s a free country. Dress up and pedal around all you want. Just try not to become road kill. I don’t want to be late for work.

      • Deep

        You won’t be late for work. You will be in prison charged with homicide.Personally I don’t don the spandix…. I prefer to ride in American Made Diamond Gussett Jeans and shorts. Im not all that tough but if a biker bounces off your truck and lives with no broken bones and deduces that the “accident” is your fault and there are no witnesses…. any biker could be angry enough to be violent towards a driver…. would you be a hit and run type? It takes me 15 minutes to ride to work and 30 to drive…. I don’t want to be late for work either. Good point tho. Bikers be careful out there, these car drivers can be deadly.

  • swerver

    People who ride bikes think they are saving the world, by biking to work your hardly making a difference, they ride around like their sh%t don’t stink, I could ride a bike also but why i like driving my car, I don’t want any biker to be hit by a car, but im not going to change my driving habits so they can ride 20mph in a 40mph zone, get the fok out of the way you look like idiots

    • Joe DeLory

      “40 mph” (or any speed limit) is a maximum speed not a required speed.

      • R.D

        And impeding the flow of traffic is a ticketable offence !

  • Strat

    I have to agree with some others here, there is a real arrogance that seems to be growing with riders who ride with larger groups. Riding 3-4 people wide on a higher speed road is folly and discourteous (must be the strength in numbers scenario that gang members feel). Not too many people riding alone would do some of the stupid things that group riders do. As for car drivers, talking on your phone while driving, e-mailing,texting is the epitomy of stupid, deadly and just a matter of time before you are responsible for someone else’s or your own accident. If you need to talk or text, pull over, is that not worth prventing a possible fatal accident?

  • b

    Dumb bikes are made for sidewalks if the stupid state goverment wants people to ride bikes build them there own roads and stay off roads where vehicles drive dumbest article i have ever read

    • Joe Schmoe

      b – The “stupid state government” doesn’t allow bikes to be ridden on sidewalks, unless the person on the bike is a child. I mean no offense in this, but judging from your post, you’re still under the age of 18, right? You can ride on the sidewalk, and so can your friends. But once you’re an adult, you have to take it to the street.

    • Cyclist

      It is against the law to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk, look it up.

      • tuna-free dolphin

        Great. If bicyclists can’t ride on the sidewalks, maybe the cars can. Beats getting stuck behind pokemon in spandex.

  • Joe Schmoe

    MS 169.222 is the state law that requires bicyclists to ride in the street. Regardless of how pompous or arrogant you might believe a bicyclist to be, you have to move over a minimum of three feet when a person on a bike is riding in the right lane (which happens to be the correct lane to ride in–not riding against traffic as some people do). If you are unable to get around a person on a bike, you have to ride behind that person until it’s possible to safely pass. That’s the law.

    • Joe DeLory

      AMEN Brother!

    • creepybicyclegeeks

      uh nope…aint doing it….if spandex bike helmit geek aint movin’ their ass i’m bumpin’ ’em over…f*ck that!

  • lyu yu

    please, please, please -bikers, wear light colored clothing – this goes for peds too!!! (Car headlights do not reflect off of dark colours; making riders virtually invisible.) Aslo, understand that a small flashing light is not very visible until car drivers are on your tail. So, during dusk,/nite,/ dawn rembember: Lighter clothing, lots of reflectors, and more / larger lights.

  • Joe DeLory

    If a lane is too narrow to be shared by a cyclist and a motor vehicle it is safer to “take the lane” , the motorist can wait a few seconds until it is safe to pass. Usually a motorist will be stuck behind a bus or slow moving farm vehicle much longer than they would be held up behind a cyclist. I will however pull over when I can to allow motorists to pass. We all need to use common courtesy, although it ain’t that common!

    • ohoh

      sorry buddy, the road is made for cars, giving way to a cyclist just because he can maneuver? I assure you my car is faster than your bike. so move
      I also think we should be able to do away with the upkeep for bike trails and the greenway since all cyclists want to ride on the road.

      • Bicyclist

        Check the law ohoh, it states that you must give way to cyclists when they take the lane.

        • ohoh

          I guess it is time to lobby for some common sense and repeal said law. You don’t pay license fees so the law needs to be changed so you do not have the right of way. If the roads were built for bikes the speed limits wouldn’t 30 mph they woulld be 5mph.

  • tara

    bicystics also must—obey the traffic rules, take the headphones OFF!! stay on the side of the road—many riders are riding on the actual road in a lane as if they were a car—get off the !@#$% road and onto the side—if ya wanna ride like a car, you better be riding as fast as a car-drop the holy than thou attitude—cuz look what happens……..sounds like this person was riding her bike like she owned the place—was she watching for cars?????? NO!!!!!!

    • lauren

      SIGH — tara, she was in the BIKE LANE. She had right of way.

      Your post is sick on a whole other level…a person is DEAD. Have some respect for this girl and her family.

  • Uofmbiker

    I frequently bike and drive on campus. I often times am irate with the amount of jaywalking and bikers breaking the laws. I have said to myself that it will take someone getting hurt or killed for the lawbreaking and undated practices to change. Well it happened yesterday and it looks like it had no effect. Not 12 hours after te tragedy, a biker with no lights or reflectors turns in front of my girlfriend when she has the right of way. It was virtually impossible to see the biker in te rain and darkness. And don’t forget the fact she saw an accident on como with a guy getting taken away on a stretcher. I agree it’s going to take efforts from all parties to safely travel but common sense must be used. It’s sad that clearly the educated college campus can’t learn from past mistakes and follow the law

  • Sporty007

    When I started riding a motorcyle (years ago) and yeah I’m aware we have some idiots who ride motorcycles, but we were taught to SEE – Search, Evaluate and Execute – Search your area and evaluate whats going on and execute – meaning if you need to avoid something you’ve already checked out a safe route to do it in – in other words give yourself an exit (I know not always easy) but look at with the mindset that cars don’t see you – even if your looking eye to eye with a driver – chances are they aren’t seeing you. The only way to stay alive is to stay aware of your surroundings.

  • Citizen of Minnesota

    The maneuver I really “enjoy” from bikers is the guy riding his bike in the right lane who suddenly cuts across moving traffic to turn left causing drivers to cram the brakes. You bikers need to remember that whatever you do a 3,000 lb. car trumps a 20 lb. bike every time. Just like the driver who cuts in front of a semi and gets hit. We all need to be courteous, but, I’m sorry, as long as bikes do not go as fast as cars and traffic remains as congested as it is in city streets, any law is stupid that allows bikes or pedestrians to have more rights than a car driver. The laws of physics are the laws of physics. And we can’t legislate intelligence in driving either bikes or cars, it appears.

  • Uofmbiker

    Bikers have every right to the traffic lane as cars. Read the law before making a comment. What if there is no bike lane and it is a commercial zone so we can’t ride on the sidewalk? We have to bike in the traffic lane. Drivers must give bikers at least 3 feet. Oftentimes I go out in lanes when turning so I don’t end up in trouble like the girl yesterday. It looks like drivers and bikers need better education on the subject

  • Citizen

    Uofmbiker. Educate all you want, but as I said in my post, you can’t legislate intelligence, or courtesy. Bikers, being more unsafely at the mercy of the laws of physics, need to be aware of their surroundings and very careful. Wearing of headphones by either bikers or pedestrians is insane. If you are a biker or a pedestrian that gets in the way of a 3,000 lb. car, I don’t care if the law says you have a gazillion rights to your attitude and position, you will get hit or you will get hurt. You may be right, but you may also be dead!

    • j

      Yes, bikers need to be aware of their surroundings, but then again, so do the people driving the 3,000 lb cars. In fact, shouldn’t it be the people in the cars that should be more vigilant?

  • Mark

    Spring must be here. A bicyclists once again gets struck and killed and a bunch of self-righteous motorists rant about how cyclists don’t follow traffic rules. A few points here (1) A lot of cyclists, in fact, the majority of cyclists in the city where these incidents occur, cycle to work because it is faster or as fast as driving and/or because it is expensive and/or difficult to park at work. My commute – Loring Park to the U of M, takes 30-45 minutes by bus, 30 minutes by car, and 20 minutes by bike door to door. Why in tarnation would I not bike when the weather is nice (2). Most cyclists follow the rules of the road to the extent that they ride safely. Yes, we don’t always come to a complete stop at stop signs though we do slow down enough to prepare to come to a full stop if we need to yield to a pedestrian or car and we always look both ways. And yes, every once in a while at a red light, I can see clear down the cross road straight down to Dixie and can tell that there isn’t any cars coming for blocks and I jump a red light. Its illegal sure, but don’t tell me it is unsafe. On any give day, I see about three cars run red lights (as in I see a light turn green in front of me, and a driver on the cross street is gunning across the intersection), one of these occurrences is always on Park Avenue across 15th street, and this is both illegal and unsafe. (3) I take the full traffic lane when I don’t feel like a car can pass me safely. This applies to roughly three blocks on my 3 mile bike ride and these are blocks to where in my experience I have been inches from being hit multiple times. I also take the left turn lane when I am turning left. (4) In every case (five times in the last three years) when I have almost been hit, it was due to a car turning into me, and always right after passing me, and always when I was in a bike lane. This is 100 percent the drivers fault and it is illegal. Drivers: Don’t pass a cyclist just to turn across them. Don’t do it, Don’t do it, Don’t do it. (5) Cyclists have the same rights in the road as cars. That means that we can take a lane, that we can change lanes, and that you might have to drive behind us.
    Really, both drivers and bikes break some rules of the road. From what I see, when bikes do it, it is usually in a safe and cautious manner, when cars do it, someone gets close to being killed (or gets killed). Sure, there is always a rogue cyclist out there, but that doesn’t exclude motorists from their obligations to share the road safely with cyclists. Stay safe everybody.

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