DeBlog: Bicyclists Vs. Cars

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Wednesday night’s Good Question dealt with the rules of the road when it comes to bikes.

The city of Minneapolis has a great write-up that explains the laws. It’s pretty simple, really: Bikes belong on the road, cars need to treat bikes like another vehicle and everyone should signal their intentions.

But many bicyclists don’t stop at red lights. They don’t signal their intentions.

Many car drivers also do the same thing. But on a percentage basis, I’d argue that a much smaller percentage of cars run red lights.

What do you think? Share your stories here.

More from Jason DeRusha

One Comment

  1. Power to The Peddle says:

    Unless I blinked and missed it, there was no mention that bicycles must ride with traffic, not against it. I used to be an avid bike rider, and still do occasionally.

  2. Missy says:

    I think for all the money that has been spent on bike paths, bikers should use those instead of roads. If the road has no shoulder the bikers have no business on them. Cars are for the roads not bikers. I live in the west of the cities and get sick and tires of the bikers not following the rules, riding in the middle of lanes, and the city of Medina and Loretto have spent a good deal of money paving and making bike paths which the majority of the bikers are not using. It gets very frustrating.

    1. Power to The Peddle says:

      Missy, I get tired of drivers who don’t obey traffic rules, like not knowing how to merge onto freeways, and making lefthand turns from the righthand lane.
      drivers should be retested every ten years.

    2. Assfault Olson says:

      Dear Friend Missy– I live in the’burbs and bike 20 miles/day everyday that it isn’t raining. I have had occasion to use a few of the many miles of walking paths and sidewalks in our town when road construction or some other obstacle blocks my usual route. I can tell you from personal experience that the paths you mention are maddingly unsuitable for cyclists because of many factors. I have had many near misses with people walking because they are talking with someone, wearing an iPod or talking/texting on a cel (like the drivers we all fear) or just won’t yield even though you may call out which side you may be passing on. In fact calling out “On your left” usually causes the ped to turn to so who said that and as a result step right in your path. Then there’s the person walking their dog who doesn’t hear you (but the dog does and waits to ambush) or had one of those 20′ retractable thingy’s the often results in a detour long around on the grass (if there is any). The people who swear or scream because suddently, silently, you just whooshed by them at 15 MPH and they did not hear you comming because of reasons stated above. And 1 person can take up the entire path if they are big enough, waving their arms or walking a “drunkards path.”

      Unless one bikes at a speed not much faster than walking, these paths are not a good mix for peds AND bikes. Luckily my usual route sports a wide paved shoulder and involves all right turns but for one left at a low-use intersection. Most aren’t that lucky. I have found the drivers here to be by and large good sorts and polite. I just wish they’d stop throughing their booze/beer bottles out the window–glass on the shoulder is a drag.

      1. Qwerty says:

        So you want exclusive rights to use the roads and the paths? Cyclists are the most entitled people, I swear. But I hear where you are coming from; the next time my 9- months pregnant self needs to get some low impact exercise I will make sure to walk in the dirt so as not to disturb you in any way.

        1. Les Johnson says:

          Sounds like you feel entitled to take up the whole path because you got knocked up and are huge. That’s your cross to bear.

      2. Jim says:

        I feel you “Olson” Unless one drives at a speed not much faster than slow bicycle , these streets are not a good mix for cars AND bikes. Luckily my usual route sports a wide paved shoulder and involves all right turns but for one left at a low-use intersection. Most aren’t that lucky. I have found the riders here to be by and large good sorts and polite. I just wish they’d stop throwing their booze/beer bottles off their bikes –glass on the roadway is a drag.

      3. Dave says:

        Amen. You’re forgetting the most obvious though – Try riding a road bike at 20 mph on a sidewalk that runs parallel to a road anywhere in the burbs. Not only is it barely wide enough for 1 person, but its extremely bumpy (especially on a road bike) but most important of all, you have to slow to almost a stop at EVERY SINGLE intersecting road because drivers usually pull out and stop way past the stop sign. If you ride on the road you never have to slow down once, its a no brainer. It might be different if you are on a cruiser bike towing a burly going 4 mph.

    3. Tim D says:


      A large part of bikers using the trails and sidewalks is this, at least in my opinion. Drivers, again, need to be aware of where they are. Riding on the paths is NOT safe for a biker if the car traffic continually pulls into the path of the trails, or pulls 1/2 way into a stop sign (MN rules are 10′ BEHIND the stop sign, or were when I passed with flying colors) I’ll admit I’ve cleated a few quarter panels of drivers who have stopped in my path, or otherwise, been very unaware that there are others on the road.

      Roads are for bikers just the same unless otherwise stated. I use turn lanes when making left turns and going thru intersections. Why? Because the same drivers that stop in the middle of the path/trails, also will turn into you, or otherwise be oblivious that you are trying to cross the road.

      To Jason’s point, we (bikers) are also required to use signals and visually communicate our intentions since we don’t have lights/signals, and I will agree many riders do not signal as they should, which is also true for many drivers of cars.

      In the end, it’s literally a two way street. We all need to be aware of others on the road, if they are cyclists, or motorists.

      1. SnowFire says:

        Tim D – “…cleated a few…” so you take the law into your own hands – not acceptable – you are part of the problem not the solution! You deserve 3 moving violation tickets, increased car insurance rates, suspended license and your bicycle impounded (hate crime?). Beyond the rant… what you describe seems to indicate both sides of the issue are trying to communicate dislike for the system as it is. Read my comments: June 9, 2011 at 11:06 am.

    4. Patrick says:

      Minnesota Bicycling law gives cyclists the same rights and responsibilities as motorists. This means that you have the freedom to ride on all streets, except for those which prohibit cyclists. In Minneapolis, prohibited streets include the limited access freeway system (such as I-94, I-35W, I-394, MN 62). – From city website.

    5. John Delebo says:

      If you ride on a bike path, you have a speed limit of 10 mph in Mpls. If I want to ride downtown, I have no choice to but to be on the road. As long as motorists and bicyclists obey traffic laws, everyone is safe…

    6. SnowFire says:

      I live in the same area and agree 100%!

  3. Really? says:

    If the road has no shoulder or bike lane and there is no other option of another road to take to get to my destination, what do you suggest I do? Stop and carry my bike?
    Think about it.

    1. tom says:

      would be a good idea

      1. Dave says:

        Tom didn’t stop and think about it. What a tool. Try riding from Burnsville to Shakopee for example. There is a grand total of 1 road to ride on that is halfway safe, and that is 185th street, and even then the shoulder runs out in Prior Lake. The roads IN Shakopee are awful, sometimes you just don’t have a choice, especially out in the sticks.

        1. SnowFire says:

          tom and Really – if you are riding for anything other than required transportation – your ONLY means, then maybe it is worth the risk – your choice. I drive the area Missy is talking about and it sounds like she is referring to the bikes that choose not to ride on the bike paths instead ride on the roads. The main road is one that goes around Baker park (now 3 rivers) with no shoulders, hilly and curvy. The riders are not riding for required transportation therefore it should be illegal. Ticket them and put the money into the trail system.

          1. SnowFire says:

            sorry (tom) – Really and Dave

  4. Marc says:

    Jason, please explain where you get your empirical evidence for a higher percentage of cyclists disobeying laws. Oh, it doesn’t exist? Because you have an inherent bias? Really?

    Perhaps something should be weighted here. When a cyclist rolls a stop sign or disobeys a red light, they are putting themselves at great risk as they are not surrounded by a large amount of metal. As a cyclist, I will often cross against a red light when there is no crossing traffic because it is safer for me to be in front of the traffic traveling in the same direction where I can be seen rather than having to start at a huge torque disadvantage and be forgotten by the motorists rather quickly.

    I invite you to ride with me on my daily (bicycle) commute and afterward ask who is the more contentious user of Minneapolis city streets. As a cyclist, I have to consider every single one of my actions and how it will be interpreted/reacted to/allow me to react to the motorized traffic around me. Tell me that a motorist has to consider all of that as heavily on their daily drive.

    1. tom says:

      hope you get a ticket for going thru the red light

    2. Jason DeRusha says:

      Marc- I have no evidence to support that claim. But: There are far more cars on the roads than bikes. The percentage of drivers running a red light is relatively small. Just yesterday while we were shooting video downtown, I’d say 40% of the bikers ran a red light. Knowing that that isolated experience is certainly in no way representative of the big picture – I’m taking that 40%, dropping it to 2%, and saying that’s still higher than the percentage of cars that do it.

      That said – there’s a reason I said that most car/bike crashes are caused by cars in the story. Running red lights/stop signs on a bike isn’t the most dangerous activity that happens out there.

      1. Jason DeRusha says:

        Plus- to argue that you run red lights because you think it’s safer for you is absurd. You wouldn’t do that in a car.

        1. John Delebo says:

          Jason – while you were watching cyclists blow through lights, did you also watch peds walk against the light or count cars slipping through red lights? Need to provide scientific evidence or surveys not conjecture when making blanket statements.

          1. Jason DeRusha says:

            John – are you kidding me? Are you really arguing that a lower percentage of bikes run red lights than cars? There are so few bikes out there, relatively speaking — the statement that a higher percentage of bikers run red lights than cars do is highly non-controversial.

            Also, this is a blog. i didn’t say that in my news story. I think I can share my personal opinion based on observation here. If you were being honest, I doubt you’d disagree.

            1. John Delebo says:

              Jason – I never kid,,,,,,another phenomenon to consider is how many cars blow through crosswalks? At my wife’s church on Portland Ave, there is a crosswalk with a blinking light, activated by pushing a button. I have witnessed most cars blowing through the crosswalk, even with people half way across the street. I also see a biker was seriously injured on 28th street in a crosswalk,, coming off the Greenway bike path……. Do us a favor. Do a report of cars going through reds vs bikes in various areas of the metro….

    3. Abby says:

      When you run a red light, you are putting more than yourself in danger!! That is a very selfish attitude to take, as cars (that you may NOT have seen) may need to swerve or stop suddenly to avoid your idiotic self, putting their lives and others in danger.

      I also wonder if you were to get hit, would you try to file a claim against the driver’s insurance or would you (rightfully) file under your own health insurance

      1. pants says:

        totally agree abby, well said. and tom you are cracking me up haha. I cant stand when bikers are in the road, it slows down traffic and will cause more accidents. And from what people are saying on here, you bikers are running red lights?? you are giving yourself reasons why bikers should not be aloud on the road, idiots. And Medina and Loretto is HORRIBLE with bikers even if there is a shoulder they ride right on the line and road! And why do you guys have to ride in a herd? are you migrating? what if someone lost control you all would go down, i actually am waiting to see that happen. Im a biker I go on bike paths, thats why they are called bike paths, and if someone gets in your way well think of it as thats you to the people driving.

        1. John Delebo says:

          So Pants, are you the one who ran me off of Minnehaha Pwky because I was riding on the street at 20 mph and not on the 10 mph bike path, because you “can’t stand bikers” when they are on YOUR road? Or were you the one who threw a can of Coke at me and cursed at me for riding on the road? I follow the laws, ride alone, stay on the far right and you and your ilk take your anger out on me????

  5. Dylan says:

    City and State bike paths to me are meant for recreational activities and are in no way elaborate enough to get you everywhere you need to be. Inevitably you have to use the road system at some point.

    The blame can be shared by both groups in that cars feel entitled and don’t want to be unconvinced by slower bikes, and bikers disdain car drivers because of lack of mutual respect.

    As far as the biker running red lights comment, I believe this is the same for pedestrian traffic in that pedestrian’s will crosswalk or fail to wait for the white man to light up. The only difference with bikers is that they are able to bridge the intersection gap quicker and therefore be successful more often in crossing that intersection.

  6. Marc says:

    In your video story, you managed to bury the lead regarding who is most responsible for car/bicycle crashes. This was the biggest piece of empirical evidence you had and you used it as an aside at the end of the piece. That’s just irresponsible journalism. Really, Jason? All you would have needed to do is hit twitter to interview some of the more dedicated cyclists in the TC, but you chose the cliched “man on the street” interview and the “certified professional.” Neither of these people are necessarily representative of the average person who rides to work nearly every day.

    1. Jason DeRusha says:

      I’d say calling it “irresponsible journalism” is overstating things. The story was: What are the rules of the road for bikes? The crash data is certainly not the lead to that story.

      I can’t imagine you’d ever be satisfied. This story was incredibly balanced, repeatedly pointed out the responsibility of drivers, included 4 cyclists – 2 of which were trainers/professional. Come on.

  7. Jenny says:

    I can’t tell you the number of bicyclists I see running red lights, not signaling their turns or being completely inattentive to the cars on the road. This isn’t to say that the drivers of cars aren’t breaking laws as well, but I honestly can’t tell you the last time I saw a car run a red light.

    I can tell you however the last time I saw a car turn onto the light-rail tracks.

    I think in general both the bikers and drivers need to pay more attention to each other.

    @Dylan – Pedestrians jaywalking or crossing against the walk sign should be a whole separate Good Question. What are the true laws surrounding pedestrians? Am I “running the light” if I cross when the Don’t Walk is lit?

    1. KJ says:

      Go to the intersection of Central and Hennepin in Northeast Minneapolis and wait for about 10 minutes and you will see a car run a red light. Of course, this is because that intersection is a flustercluck and cars can’t tell which light is meant for them, but cars run red lights–and they do it a LOT at this intersection.

  8. tuna-free dolphin says:

    Hey cyclists, don’t forget about the laws of physics. Mass and inertia (my Grand Cherokee at 55) always wins out over 175 lbs at 8 mph. No matter what law man shall write, thou shalt surely obey that law. Amen. My advice to cyclists is not to try to defy the laws of physics to prove a point.

    1. tuna-free dolphin free says:

      Vehicular homocide carries a pretty hefty sentence, tuna-free dolphin. To bad you didn’t write your real name- maybe we could use it to show premeditation when you mow someone down with your car to prove a point.

  9. Tom Turglington says:

    People who ride bicycles just don’t have the sense to buy a car. They are living in a fantasy world. They are an absolute drain on society, generally expecting much while contributing little. Also, they are a financial drain in that they expect paved paths to ride on, and funding these silly projects is completely devastating our economy (that bicyclists are so needy). The only good about bicycles, is that they occasionally provide passers-by with a hilarious crash to laugh at.

    1. Marc says:

      Not very funny troll is attempting to be funny.

      1. Jeff says:

        I thought it was hilarious, although he could have added a line or two about the morons that wear the little skin tight fruit loop colored outfits.

        1. Ben says:

          Don’t feed the trolls. If you starve them for attention, they’ll die.

        2. pants says:

          i’m laughing🙂

    2. Power to The Peddle says:

      Tom Turglington,
      A good cyclist won’t use a bike path because they slow them down.
      I used to work near WCCO years ago, and lived near the Lake Street Bridge.
      It would take me about twenty minutes to get home on my bicycle, and I would beat my neighbor who worked at the same place, and had a car waiting to pick her up.

      1. tom says:

        but she road in comfort

      2. Jim says:

        Can I ask what month you did this scientific study in? November – March? Didn’t think so.

    3. Molly says:

      Head over heels into an open car door is always a gut buster!!!

  10. Paul Solinger says:

    This article is perfect timing for me. I was driving by Lake Calhoun just this evening and saw bicyclists crossing the street in front of cars with no thought given to the fact that the car is bigger then they are. They were certainly not following the rules of the road. Sure I’ll stop when a bicyclist crosses in front of me, but the next guy might not.

    1. Power to The Peddle says:

      The same argument can be said of pedestrians, but even tho the law requires a motorist to stop, frequently they don’t.

  11. George says:

    90% of bikers are self absorbed jerks!! They are probably the agressive, tailgaiting crowd as well. They suck!!

    1. Power to The Peddle says:

      I’d be surprised if you have met more than 10% of the bikers in the Twin Cities.

      1. George says:

        The sampling comes from the aholes that ride in Elm Creek Parkway! Come to the park someday and see for yourself. Walk it sometime. I think you will agree!

    2. Dave says:

      Lol you must be that narrow minded d-bag that feels the NEED to roll down the window and honk and swear at me while Im riding on the shoulder minding my business, to which I reply with a smirk and overly excited wave, as if you were my friend honking and waving at me : ) I hope you die of a heart attack soon, fatty

      1. Jim says:

        Hey Dave-your reply is proof positive that most bikers are jerks!!

  12. Patrick Stephenson says:

    How many cyclists do you see fiddling with their phones as they ride? None. Nearly every driver I see on the road lately is texting, dialing, talking. I’m an extremely attentive and cautious cyclist, and I’m tired of blame being placed on us for accidents by the public because of a few red light running bad apples. Get off your phone and pay attention to the road.

  13. Cathy says:

    If bicycles “belong on the road”, then the same rules should apply for them, as they do for cars. First they must pass a cyclist exam (written and road test). Obey the speed limit, wear a seat belt, have a cyclist driver’s license and plates, purchase insurance, and carry their registration card at all times.

    1. Josh says:

      I think that is a great idea. Perhaps not necessary while riding on off-street trails? But if a rider is on the road, they definitely should carry insurance. The same road-rules do apply to bikes but the problem is that there is absolutely zero enforcement which encourages many cyclists to abuse their position.

      1. Power to The Peddle says:

        My Son was stopped, years ago, in Columbia Heights for riding his bicycle on the wrong side of the street, and was required to take a bicycle training class. I don’t know if they still do that, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea statewide.
        Most of the bicycle riders that I observe breaking the law are the amateurs that ride ounce in a blue moon, and aren’t wearing a helmet.

        1. Josh says:

          That is good to hear. I agree with the second part of that. There are certainly responsible bike riders (as I try to be when I’m not driving) and it is too bad that the abusive ones overshadow the rest.

          When I am driving and am accosted by a bike rider (who usually are breaking the law as they are giving me the finger etc) I constantly have to bite my tongue from telling them that they give the rest of us riders a bad reputation.

        2. Darren says:

          My bike is licensed, I took a course back in elementary school the the local police department put on. And I am insured, I do wear a helmet and pads if needed. I obey the laws of the road. I stop at all stop signs, I use my arms to signal my direction. Not once have I been run into by another person on a bike, but i have been hit by 3 cars the past 10 years all taking right turns on a green light even though I was in the bike lane going straight. I do not use a cell phone or any type of ear piece so I can hear my surroundings.

          1. Jim says:


            You constantly defend all bikers as if they are yourself. If you think “most” people on bikes follow the laws come to st. paul south of I94.

      2. Kosh says:

        The only place the same rules apply to cyclists as cars is in your head. Read up on the laws before you shoot your mouth off.

  14. Josh says:

    I completely disagree with Patrick. Lots of bikers use their phones to play music while riding and subsequently manipulate the device while riding. Heck, I do it sometimes when I’m riding my bike.

    As a driver, I am totally ok with sharing the road with bikers as long as they follow the laws of the road. Unfortunately, it seems that the majority to not. I’m ok with them running a red light if they treat it as a stop sign and there is no traffic, but I am not ok with them swerving between cars in traffic assuming that if (when) they get hit it will result in them winning a lawsuit.

    I have never seen a bicyclist get ticketed even if they blatantly break the law directly in front of a police officer. I also have to agree with the observed attitude presented by many bikers (but certainly not all). It is hard to respect someone who acts childish and expects protection from the law while not following it.

  15. Randall says:

    everyone contributes but the worst offenders are the bikes. they demand to use the road and don’t follow the rules and cut pedestrians off in intersections and still use the sidewalk nearly running you off the thing!

  16. jackienews says:

    Some people just hate having bicyclist on the road and will “rush” a bicyclist just to “teach him a lesson” – Bicycling is a difficult activity and fatigue sets in – should a bicyclist be punished just for being on the road? A driver of a car has a huge advantage, and needs to be more aware of the vulnerability of a bicyclist, not be resentful that the bicyclist is sharing the road and “cramping his style”.

    1. Power to The Peddle says:

      I had a woman who stopped at a stop sign, and waited until I was within twenty feet of the intersection and then pulled out in front of me. I had the feeling something was about to happen when she sat there that long, I was ready with my hands on the brakes. There was no doubt in my mind that she did it on purpose.

      1. Les Johnson says:

        Didn’t you have a stop sign too then?

        1. Power to The Peddle says:

          Les Johnson,
          I was on Wheelock Parkway in St. Paul, she had a stop sign, I did not.

  17. Elaine says:

    I’m sure there are responsible cyclists out there, but the only ones I notice are the ones that try hard to get run over. The darn bikers zip across traffic without notice, run red lights, ride against traffic, ride out in the middle of the road, and ride after dark without any lights at all. I think it’s a miracle that I haven’t run over one of these idiots yet; they act like they have a death wish.

    1. Josh says:

      I am also amazed at how many cyclists ride at night in dark clothing with absolutely zero lights. Not all of course (I don’t bike if mine aren’t working, even if its not dark yet because it may be later).

    2. tom says:

      if you ride a bike in traffic then you do have a death wish, 2 tons of car does alot of damage to the boke and body

  18. Duster says:

    I bike sometimes and drive sometimes. I get annoyed at fellow drivers and bikers once in a while. (I heard of this annual event that some friends do, at which they try to finish fifteen boxes of wine, and then go out biking, hoping to avoid getting hit by a car. -___- I wish there was some way to tell all the bikers and all the drivers to do their thing more carefully, just all at once, but unfortunately there isn’t. Probably a way to tell a lot of them, some public service announcements or awareness poster campaigns. Please don’t be an aggressive driver and make general assumptions about all bikers! Please be a biker with common sense! Please consider not letting your emotions get the better of you, and thinking about all sides of the issue (I’m kind of going on a tangent, but I notice this could be useful advice to many people who comment on these articles, and they know who they are). If you can tell me something wrong with thinking of all sides of something, I’d like to hear it.

    1. Duster says:

      *that event that I mentioned involving the wine was a tangent, but just something I heard some people do, not people that I personally know do, and which I think is the absolute stupidest thing I could imagine doing.

    2. tom says:

      bikers are like liberals, they think they are entitled

      1. to tom troll says:

        Careful troll, I think you’re confusing liberals (who work towards the betterment of society) with conservatives (who work towards the betterment of their bank statement).

        1. pants says:

          hey charlie sheen everyone!!! haha @ to tom troll

    3. Jason DeRusha says:

      Thanks Duster. I’m with you. It’s funny that so many people on the bike and the car side of things are so passionate that the other side is wrong. WE ALL ARE TERRIBLE! Drivers don’t pay attention, they’re texting, talking, eating, etc. Bikers break all the traffic laws – and then rail against the horrible drivers. Everyone needs to get their act together. That’s kind of what we were saying here.

  19. DARREN says:

    I was riding my bike home from work one morning, I work the overnight shift and all of the other people riding bikes, walking their dogs or just outside were so nice to me and each other, a wave, a good morning was said. Then the next day i drove home from work and I got honked at 2 times, and once given the finger. I give my vote to the people on their bikes who show manners and Minnesota Nice anyday over those in cars.

  20. Cathy says:

    My ‘gripe’ are the ones that look as if they are ‘professional cyclists’ pretending they are cars, clearly riding for exercize, on main streets. Sometimes in ‘packs’. Can’t critisize the ones that do not have ‘cars’. They are polite.

  21. Jared says:

    Let’s not jump to generalizations about motorists and bicyclists. Transportation methods and laws are very cultural. When automobiles were new on streets there were growing pains just like any other trend throughout history. Regardless, the recent rise in cycling is great news; for the health of ourselves and the livability of our cities!

    For those who think that roads are only for cars, take a look at the history of urban transportation. These are public right of ways for all types of transportation, and streets have been around longer than cars have existed. Streets especially are more paid with property taxes; not automobile registration fees and gas taxes. We all still pay, whether we drive a car, walk, take the bus, ride a bike, etc. We don’t charge user fees for sidewalks or crosswalks; these are inherent needs associated with the risks imposed by modern automobiles. In my opinion, the same applies to those who ride a bicycle. Automobiles cause the most damage in an accident, the most damage to air and water quality, the most wear and tear on our roadways, and so on.

    Bicycles, pedestrians, and even horse drawn carriages were on streets before cars were even invented. Let’s not make this a “bicyclists vs. cars” war. This isn’t Wrestlemania. This is regular people using infrastructure everyday; just in different ways. And even though there are cultural growing pains (cyclists running red lights, drivers not passing with enough room, etc.) let’s be considerate of each other and learn to treat everyone with respect.

    1. Bum Back says:

      time to nap Jared…3:00am huh

      1. Jared says:

        Prime time for reading the news!

    2. velo Mel says:

      Well said.

  22. Ann Marie Caliguire says:

    Bikes and cars don’t mix. I have had several close calls with bikers running red lights- if you’re going to drive in traffic why aren’t you required to have the same liability insurance as car drivers? Rules of the road should apply to everyone.

  23. Mark from Plymouth says:

    Dead on Ann – require the same registration fees, insurance as in No Fault, and laws be applied as to a motorcycle or car.
    It gets old and very frustrating to be cut off by weaving riders who ride 2-3-4 across one moment then drop into a single file race ….. pedestrians, stoplights, vehicles be damned ….. here I come and make room sucker.
    I rode for years but OBEYED the laws, paid heed and granted a right of way to a truck, bus, whatever …… the mentality of bikers today is different and crazy.
    Maybe more need to go splat to wake people up. I dunno …. this is now insane

  24. Larry A says:

    All I can say is bikes bend the rules by a wide margin And thats a fact end of story

    1. Jason says:

      Then how do you explain the motorist that did an illegal U turn and struck me down last Tuesday?! I was not bending the rules, he was and that is a fact.

      There is room on the road for both cars and bikes but we all need to be aware of our surroundings and respect other users. Please SHARE THE ROAD.

  25. Angus says:

    I ama paranoid biker and think every car is out to get me. It is safer with that attitude. Twice in the last 2 years I have had cars going in the same direction as I am riding and then make a right turn in front of me and nearly putting me in a hospital. Too many times drivers do not see bikes, they are looking only for cars. And older drivers like to drive to the extreme right, precisely where the bike is traveling.
    Saying that, I wish police would enforce traffic laws against bikes who break the law, I wish there were mandatory classes for bikers, and I wish drivers would respect bikers. It is a two way street but too many people still regard bikes as “toys” for children.
    Bikers: remember you have three rights:
    Traffic RIghts
    Last Rites
    Dead Right

  26. tom says:

    you must not have been paying attention, at most places u turns are legal, and bikes are harder to see then cars.

  27. Tim says:

    I am both a driver with a long commute and a cyclist. I prefer paths but use roads. I have found most drivers are pretty good with bikes, but a good percentage are not.
    As for bicyclist, I find them to be a good lot, however a lot of them will run a red light if it is safe to do. I find this annoying, it puts themselves at risk, and the rest of cyclist in a bad light.
    I saw a comment that roads are for cars, bull! Roads are for the public, Walk, ride a bike, motorcycle, horse and buggy… what ever mode of transport is desired. We just need to share!

  28. mohair44 says:

    what i can’t stand is when a bicyclist rides down the middle of the street at their 8 mile an hour pace and expects all the traffic behind them not to mind……
    MOVE OVER and let those can and want to get somewhere DO SO!
    i often wonder what those same bikers do when they get behind some self-selfing biker going 8 mph in front of them ? They seem like a pretty self-absorb my-mom-say-i-could type…..

  29. Wendl. says:

    SInce it’s ok to make generalizations here:

    All drivers ignore stop signs. All drivers need to stop where the sign is, not five-ten feet afterwards. Stop signs are not optional and they are not yield signs.

    All drivers slow down at the stop sign, give a cursory look left and right and if they don’t see any other cars and cars only within a reasonable distance will slam on the gas and just go. There wheels never completely stop as they roll through the stop sign.

    The only time drivers do stop is to wait for a cyclist to approach the intersection in order to cut them off/possibly injure them. This is all drivers, not just some.

    1. yay drivers says:

      Well said Wendl!
      I’d like to add that all drivers turn the wrong way down one-way streets; drive drunk (even though “they can handle it”); all drivers drive between 5 and 10 miles over the speed limit; all drivers under 30 think signaling their turns/lane changes is unnecessary and lame; no drivers over 65 know how to turn their blinker off, no drivers understand the concept of merging; no drivers know how to avoid hitting parked cars (I’ve had my side mirror knocked off 3 times while it was parked); all drivers text while driving (most of them are sexting), it takes every driver at least three attempts to parallel park (and usually they hit the car behind them); all drivers use the passing of an emergency vehicle as an opportunity to get ahead of the traffic; all drivers (when making a left or right-hand turn) have difficulty figuring out which lane is the correct one to turn into; all drivers sneak into the carpool lane, even when there’s nobody else in the car; every driver believes that driving is a race; all drivers park so close to each other that they can’t get out of their vehicles; a driver will never remember the appropriate number of car-lengths required to safely follow another vehicle; all drivers believe the secret to moving the traffic along is ‘tailgaiting’; all male drivers believe their car has the power to make them more masculine; all female drivers put their make-up while driving; when parked along a busy street, no driver will look to see if a car is coming before they open their door to exit the vehicle; if a driver happens to hit a bicycle or pedestrian, their strategy is to flee the scene as fast as possible…

  30. Alice says:

    Can someone please explain to me why bycylists insist on wearing all black, especially at night, with no refectors and a single, tiny blinking light in the back? My husband almost hit a “ninja” one evening while driving on a side street. The cycylist was making a right hand turn into my husbands lane, but my husband didn’t see him until it was almost too late. Fortunately, nobody got hurt, and my husband got a dirty look from the cyclist. Would it be too much to ask to try to wear bright, visible clothing at night?

    1. Stormshadow. says:

      Why was hubby driving on the wrong side of the street, Alice?

  31. Ybor says:

    I cycle, most cyclists signal their intent. Most motorists, I’d argue that includes Mr. DeRusha, don’t know/care what the signals mean, or simply ignore them. As for running lights, if there’s no cross traffic, I’ll do it on occasion. Think about that next time your stuck trying to take a right turn behind a cyclist who’s going straight at a red light. 90% of the time I’ll wait at a light even if I’m the only thing on the road.

    I’d also guess a lot of this car/bike frustration comes from suburban commuters who are scared or intimidated when they have to share the landscape with bicyclists and pedestrians. They need to get over it.

    1. Jason DeRusha says:

      Ybor- I also ride a bike – I’m very aware of the signals. I think you’re right that there’s an issue with people not familiar with bikes – and it’s scary. The data indicates, the more bikes on the road — the safer it is — because cars are conditioned to look for bikes.

    2. SnowFire says:

      If you are going to run the red light on occasion then do it when there is a car behind you turning right – or better yet, pick up your bike and use the cross walk – legally, move to the left side of the lane so the car can still turn right. Seems you might be more likely to not go on red if it will prevent a car from turning that’s behind you. Sounds like you should be fighting for a law to require drivers to pass a test regarding bicycle signaling. Does it bother you if you don’t run the red light and the car behind you wanting to take a right turn right isn’t upset with you? Also your mind reading capabilities are weak.

  32. Arnold Drummond says:

    Are you kidding? You can count the number of cars that continue to speed through the lights after they’ve turned red, but I suppose “that’s different”.

    1. Willis Drummond says:

      Don’t you mean “diff’rent”?

  33. Kim says:

    I’d love to see all of these people complaining about cyclist actually get out on a bike and see what it is like. Motorist complain about cyclist riding in the street and would like to see them all on the sidewalk, but then they stop in the middle of the crosswalks without looking to see if any pedestrians/cyclist are coming. They complain about cyclist running stop signs and red lights but its ok for them to do it. If you think motorist don’t run them let me show you how wrong you are. From the comments above all I see are a bunch of bullies that don’t care of the law says I have a right to ride on the road. I’ve been yelled at, honked at, flipped off, and had cars come right up behind me reving their motor up as if to run me over. Tell me that isn’t bullying! I was doing nothing more than what the law says I have a right to do.

  34. Jim says:

    I don’t bike personally, and only one thing really offends me about their biking still is when they switch inbetween “I’m a car” and “I’m a bike” mode and don’t let anyone know. A car going 30 mph can get through a yellow light, a bike doing 15 mph cannot. Half the bikers stop for stop signs, others just blow through them whether or not there are cars waiting. People on bikes don’t get DUI’s then start driving cars. Just from my observations in St. Paul people on bikes prefer busy streets then adjacent streets with bike lanes. Sure some people don’t know how to drive around bicycles, but they don’t know how to drive around cars either.

  35. Aaron T says:

    The last time I checked I pay taxes too. I bike to work to work every day and I have never seen any bikers break the law. Most of the time we are trying not to get hit by a car. Cars have to give the bikes 3 feet that is the law.

    1. Jim says:

      Do you fill your bike up on gas and pay road tax? Do you rent or own a home? Yep you rent and don’t even pay property tax. What taxes do you pay? Income tax as a barista? What little you do pay is given back to you at the end of the year. The sales tax on your bike doesn’t even pay for a square foot of pavement. You aren’t equal on the road just like in a car, you need to drive defensively. An SUV on top of you isn’t going to prove any points, just make me go to a different coffee shop.

      1. Aaron T says:

        When bikers pay more for there bikes then most people pay for a car. We are healty and doing somthing for the world by not using gas. So get into the SUV’s and give big oil your money! Or buy a bike and save your money for things that are good for you. This is a issue that there is no easy out.

        1. Jim says:

          Bikers don’t pay more for their bikes than cars unless you are talking about as a percentage of their salaries. Your Holier than Thou technique doesn’t convince anyone. Your president is still fighting oil wars for you even though you ride a bike.

      2. BKKbadboy says:

        I have been renting for 25 yrs. I pay over $3,000 in property taxs every year.
        It’s built into the rent you pay. I don’t get a property tax refund because I’m single and make over $54,000. You don’t know what you’er talking about Jim.

        1. Jim says:

          I am talking to our coffee shop friend who complains and says he pays taxes…. sticking with coffee shop theme.

  36. lost says:

    bikes should have licence fees, insurance and manditory bike training or stay off the road

    1. WHY says:

      Why? So the state can take more money from us?

      1. B says:

        To WHY:
        Yep, that is what motorists have to do. If bikers want to use the road and have all the rights of the road, then they should have to pay for it too.

        1. Marc says:

          This is a common fallacy. Cyclist do, in fact, pay for the roads. The majority of costs of roads is paid through property tax and the general fund. As bicycles create much less wear on the roadway surface, cyclists generally end up paying a larger proportion than their use would otherwise dictate.

          1. SnowFire says:

            The road surface is the infrastructure and right of way – this was initially paid for long ago for most roads. The rest of the cost is signage, repairs and maintenance, traffic control/electricity, etc. All of which the bikers uses and depends on to the same degree as automobiles. Sometimes you need it more than the cars – such as rough roads/pot holes repairs, snow removal, rain drainage, street sweeping sand and small debris, etc. Also the elements cause wear that everyone has an equal responsibility to pay for. I would take some doing to come up with information to say who is and who is not paying enough.

  37. SnowFire says:

    How about some common sense?
    We need to divide the bikers in to 2 groups – required transportation bikers (rt) and every other biker (eo). Rt bikers should be allowed in the inner city and the rules should be you ride the sidewalks and bike paths unless they are not available. You should have to be licensed and insured as an auto. We should eliminate bike paths that are part of a roadway except to make rt bike routes complete – no shoulder bike paths. Rt cycling should be like truck routes – not every street is available, you have to use the routes. Rt bikes need to comply with current motorcycle regulations including mirrors, turn lights, horn, etc.
    Reasoning – bicycles are in the same class as pedestrians not automobiles, considering size and speed. This lack of speed works best with inner city speed limits (although it is still weak). Eo bikers are riding for recreation and this type of biking needs to be confined to bike paths for safety. For those eo bikers complaining about riding on bike/walking paths/sidewalks, if you all ride the bike paths everyone will learn the rules. So few eo bikers ride these paths that the pedestrians don’t know the rules. Bikes need to ride with the pedestrians – if the 2 collide the damage will be much less because the speed and weight factors are similar. Maybe eo bikers need to have horns to notify pedestrians they are coming and maybe sidewalks need a bike path section.

  38. Beth says:

    Apparently Jason hasn’t seen all the cars I have that run stop signs just as frequently as bikes (yes, I’m admitting to seeing plenty of bikes do it too). As a biker, I am most frustrated by drivers who are entitled to run the red light because they are turning right. I always wait for the light to turn green so I have the right of way, but so many cars won’t give me the right of way. Also, while I still follow the traffic lights, I’d like to point out that it is now a MN state statute (as of 2010) that as long as a biker comes to a complete stop at a red light, if there is no traffic approaching, s/he may proceed through the intersection.

    1. Trev says:

      No. The bicyclist cannot just proceed through the intersection after they make a complete stop. ALL the rest of these conditions must apply as well:

      I see so many proceed through when traffic is backed up for cards. this is NOT legal.

    2. Jason DeRusha says:

      Beth – clearly you didn’t read what I said. Many cars run red lights. But there are WAY more cars out there. On a percentage basis — I’m arguing that a higher percentage of bikes run red lights. Not really a big deal.

  39. Let's Play Nice says:

    I take the River Road to and from work, and the fact is that there isn’t safely room for both bikes and cars on it, especially if you follow the 3′ rule. That’s the reason there are bike paths next to parkways. Unfortunately, in my neighborhood, the latest “fashionable” thing is to bike on the wrong side of the street. Seldom do you see cars in my area stopping short of the crosswalks. Pedestrians deliberately wait until they have a yellow light before slowly starting to cross the street. It just isn’t that hard to obey the rules, is it?

  40. me says:

    Bicyclists: if you can’t see cars (Bicyclists die)
    Cars: if you can’t see Bicyclists (Bicyclists die)

    and the winner is………………..

    1. Power to The Peddle says:

      Cars: if you can’t see a semi-truck (occupant of car dies)
      Semi-truck: if you can’t see car (occupant of car dies)

      Moral: Blind people shouldn’t drive, or ride bicycles.

  41. Randy says:

    A car going only 15 MPH in a 45-50 MPH zone is just as dangerous as a bike. If you can’t keep up with the speed of traffic, you don’t belong on the road. Plain and simple.

    1. Power to The Peddle says:

      40-50 MPH is the maximum posted speed limit, there is not minimum speed limit unless it’s posted. Slow down, save fuel, and stop polluting the air.

      1. Randy says:

        I do understand that, but it IS dangerous to go 30-35 MPH below the speed limit nevertheless. A car driving the speed limit comes up mighty fast on something moving that slow and therefore reaction time is severely impacted as a result.

  42. SnowFire says:

    Common sense – no one that rides a bike or drives a car follows every riding/driving law 100% of the time so there is no good way to argue from this point. The law only pertains to accidents and getting caught/ticketed. Discussing this is a different conversation. Bike riders currently have more rights on the road than anyone else. Bikers are in the strongest position when it comes to the laws of the road, but are in the weakest position when it comes to the laws of physics. To protect those that don’t understand how physics trumps, we normally create laws to protect them from themselves – except in the case of bike riding on roads. Change the laws – it is that simple!

    1. Jason DeRusha says:

      Great point, SnowFire. Bikes have lots of laws protecting them — but the reality is, in a crash with a car, the law of physics is not on the bikers side.

      1. Jean-Paul Dangerbunny Beaulieu says:

        What laws in Minnesota protecting cyclist are we referring to?

        1. SnowFire says:

          How about the law that says cars have to stay 3′ away from a bicycle – if ever the 2 meet the car is in the wrong. I only agree with this law if the bike is not on the roadway – see my comments above: June 9, 2011 at 11:06 am. (don’t know why no one has replied)

  43. There are laws for bikers? says:

    Ok, I drive downtown in my car daily. I actually thought bikes were allowed to run through the red lights until I read this. Most every biker goes through the red as soon as there is an opening. I always thought why else would you bike if you have to wait at each light so it made sense that they all go through them. My biggest beef is that there is a bike lane on your left as you are taking a left hand turn in a car. A biker having the right of way in this scenario is not logical. After seeing bikes for many years downtown, I can say nobody I see follows the rules you are all discussing in the comments above. I have seen several bikerdeaths over the years from bikes ignoring physics.

  44. Kwiss says:

    NOM NOM NOM – I hate bikers, vegetables, and thinking. Someone please change my dirty bops for me. NOM NOM NOM

  45. jb says:

    I bike about 20 miles a day and what find is everyone (cars, bikers and pedestrians) has this “me first attitude” and “god forbid if I have to slow down or stop”.

    1. Jason DeRusha says:


  46. Jean-Paul Dangerbunny Beaulieu says:

    It might help the overall situation if the folks who drive cars would treat cyclist as vehicles, rather than stopping to wave a cyclist through an intersection when not appropriate. Daily, someone behind the wheel thinks they are being nice while they block traffic waving me through my stop sign. While some folks think they are being “bike-friendly” they are contributing to the overall attitude that cyclist have of not stopping or obeying the rules of the road. This seems to be a difficult point to convey to both sides of the arguement. Yes, all vehicles should stop at all stop signs. Howevor, when I have a stop sign, and you don’t… Don’t stop. Sure slow down enough to make sure I’m not stupid… But follow the right of way and I won’t get an expectation that I have right of way, when I don’t. Last year a woman caused a three car pile up because she saw me waiting on my bike at a stop sign, thought she was being nice by slamming on her brakes. I could have waited.

  47. Swamp Rat says:

    If cyclists thought of the themselves as vehicles subject to MN vehicular statutes then autos vs. bikes safety accidents/incidents would decrease 900-1000%!!! It is truly amazing that the present bicyclist injuries or fatal body counts haven’t exploded exponentially over the heavy cyclist inane safety incursions that happen daily in downtown St.Paul or Minneapolis.

    If law enforcement could enforce ALL MN vehicular statutes then the results would beneficial and educational to all. For example, if a motorist can get a DUI for operating a motor vehicle then why can’t bicyclist get a DUI for using their bike under the influence? Or, receive a ticket for running a red light or reckless endangerment for reckless bicycle operation in a crosswalk?

    No vehicle operator/user, of any type, is above the law and common sense!

    1. Jean-Paul Dangerbunny Beaulieu says:

      You are rather foolish. I count 3 fatalities in the twin cities this year which at least one person was on a bike… How many fatalities in car car accidents?

      1. Jean-Paul Dangerbunny Beaulieu says:

        Swamp Rat, I wasn’t actually replying to you, but to Tuna, sorry.

      2. SnowFire says:

        in the car/bike crashes, how many people killed in the cars?

  48. Bradley Johnson says:

    Jason, Great story for a Good Question. Perhaps there should be a performance evaluation of the City of Minneapolis Police and to their enforcement of bike related laws. Further, before there is any additional accommodations given to city bikers, such as dedicated lanes, they need to learn how to behave.
    Again, GREAT STORY. Uncovering the hypocrisy of the Bikeroti

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