A Modest Proposal for Better Minnesota Bike Legislation

state capitol 1940After witnessing the howls of outrage and sighs of frustration (and maybe even chortles of suppressed glee?) related to some very poor proposed bike legislation introduced in Minnesota this Legislative session, I grabbed the fixie by the bullhorns and took a stab at modifying the core Statute of Minnesota bike law (Section 169.222) to reflect the reality of conditions on the ground. A summary of the modifications is below, followed by the full proposed text. Deletions are formatted as strikethrough, additions are underlined (kinda like how they do it at the Legislature! ;-)).

Before we get into the details though – have you noticed all the new blinking yellow left-turn arrows popping up? They are long overdue and I applaud traffic engineers for implementing them. They represent a tacit recognition that traffic control systems at many intersections weren’t efficiently meeting the needs of people using the road system, either in automobiles or on bicycles. My proposed changes to Section 169.222 continue and strengthen that recognition.

Changes:

  1. I removed two words related to “as far to the right as practicable” statements that seemed to indicate people riding bicycles needed to be in the gutter instead of in the traveled lane.

Additions:

  1. Right-turn lanes – is the far right of the right-turn lane the correct place to be when, as a person riding a bicycle, you are continuing straight through an intersection? I agree, it is not the correct place to be! So I added a couple exceptions to the “as far right as applicable” subsection. These additions not only make it safer for people riding bicycles, they also make it easier for people driving automobiles to continue on their way (if they are turning right)! The following image (courtesy of this article by Meg Dunn for Pedal Fort Collins, which seems to reference this article by San Francisco Bicycle Coalition)) shows very similar conditions, just with a bike lane.Right-Turn_SF-Bicycle-Coalition-PFCMods
  2. Idaho Stop – for 30+ years, people riding bicycles in Idaho have been able to treat stop signs as yield signs, and stop lights as stop signs. Given the success of that legislation, it seemed appropriate to add very similar language to our statute, so I did (pretty much a copy-paste, with just a few slight tweaks).
  3. Paris Stop – recently (2015) people riding bicycles in Paris were allowed to treat stop signs on the continuous legs of T-intersections as yields (Schema 2 diagram in this poorly-titled, linked story from PRI, image copied below). This resonated with me since I encounter several of these on my daily #BikeCommute.

Paris Stop from PRI post 2015

 

Full Text of Proposed Statute

169.222 OPERATION OF BICYCLE

Subdivision 1. Traffic laws apply. Every person operating a bicycle shall have all of the rights and duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle by this chapter, except in respect to those provisions in this chapter relating expressly to bicycles and in respect to those provisions of this chapter which by their nature cannot reasonably be applied to bicycles.

Subd. 2. Manner and number riding. No bicycle, including a tandem bicycle, cargo or utility bicycle, or trailer, shall be used to carry more persons at one time than the number for which it is designed and equipped, except an adult rider may carry a child in a seat designed for carrying children that is securely attached to the bicycle.

Subd. 3. Clinging to vehicle. Persons riding upon any bicycle, coaster, roller skates, toboggan, sled, skateboard, or toy vehicle shall not attach the same or themselves to any street car or vehicle upon a roadway.

Subd. 4. Riding rules. (a) Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations:

  1. when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction;
  2. when preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway;
  3. when reasonably necessary to avoid conditions, including fixed or moving objects, vehicles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or narrow width lanes, that make it unsafe to continue along the curb or right-hand edge;
  4. when operating on the shoulder of a roadway or in a bicycle lane;
  5. when preparing to continue straight through an intersection where the right-most lane allows or requires right-turns; or
  6. when stopped at a steady red traffic control light and vehicles behind the person may make a right-turn on red

(b) If a bicycle is traveling on a shoulder of a roadway, the bicycle shall travel in the same direction as adjacent vehicular traffic.

(c) Persons riding bicycles upon a roadway or shoulder shall not ride more than two abreast and shall not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic and, on a laned roadway, shall ride within a single lane.

(d) A person operating a bicycle upon a sidewalk, or across a roadway or shoulder on a crosswalk, shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give an audible signal when necessary before overtaking and passing any No person shall ride a bicycle upon a sidewalk within a business district unless permitted by local authorities. Local authorities may prohibit the operation of bicycles on any sidewalk or crosswalk under their jurisdiction.

(e) An individual operating a bicycle or other vehicle on a bikeway shall leave a safe distance when overtaking a bicycle or individual proceeding in the same direction on the bikeway, and shall maintain clearance until safely past the overtaken bicycle or individual.

(f) A person lawfully operating a bicycle on a sidewalk, or across a roadway or shoulder on a crosswalk, shall have all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances.

(g) A person may operate an electric-assisted bicycle on the shoulder of a roadway, on a bikeway, or on a bicycle trail if not otherwise prohibited under section 015, subdivision 1d; 85.018, subdivision 2, paragraph (d); or 160.263, subdivision 2, paragraph (b), as applicable.

(h) A person operating a bicycle approaching a stop sign shall slow down and, if required for safety, stop before entering the intersection. After slowing to a reasonable speed or stopping, the person shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching on another roadway so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time the person is moving across or within the intersection, except that a person after slowing to a reasonable speed and yielding the right-of-way if required, may cautiously make a turn or proceed through the intersection without stopping.

(i) A person operating a bicycle approaching a steady red traffic control light shall stop or slow to a reasonable speed before entering the intersection and shall yield to all other traffic. Once the person has yielded, they may proceed through the steady red light with caution. Provided however, that a person after slowing to a reasonable speed and yielding the right-of-way if required, may cautiously make a right-hand turn without stopping. A left-hand turn onto a roadway may be made on a red light after stopping or slowing to a reasonable speed and yielding to other traffic.

(j) A person operating a bicycle approaching a stop sign or steady red traffic control light at a T-intersection where the person’s direction of travel does not require turning on to another part of the intersection or crossing the portion of the intersection where turning traffic may be present shall continue at a reasonable speed and yield to all other traffic. Once the person has yielded (if required), they may proceed through the intersection with caution.

Subd. 5. Carrying articles. No person operating a bicycle shall carry any package, bundle, or article which prevents the driver from keeping at least one hand upon the handle bars or from properly operating the brakes of the bicycle.

Subd. 6. Bicycle equipment. (a) No person shall operate a bicycle at nighttime unless the bicycle or its operator is equipped with (1) a lamp which emits a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front; and (2) a red reflector of a type approved by the Department of Public Safety which is visible from all distances from 100 feet to 600 feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful lower beams of headlamps on a motor vehicle. A bicycle equipped with lamps that are visible from a distance of at least 500 feet from both the front and the rear is deemed to fully comply with this paragraph.

  • No person may operate a bicycle at any time when there is not sufficient light to render persons and vehicles on the highway clearly discernible at a distance of 500 feet ahead unless the bicycle or its operator is equipped with reflective surfaces that shall be visible during the hours of darkness from 600 feet when viewed in front of lawful lower beams of headlamps on a motor The reflective surfaces shall include reflective materials on each side of each pedal to indicate their presence from the front or the rear and with a minimum of 20 square inches of reflective material on each side of the bicycle or its operator. Any bicycle equipped with side reflectors as required by regulations for new bicycles prescribed by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission shall be considered to meet the requirements for side reflectorization contained in this subdivision.
  • A bicycle may be equipped with a front lamp that emits a white flashing signal, or a rear lamp that emits a red flashing signal, or both.
  • A bicycle may be equipped with tires having studs, spikes, or other protuberances designed to increase traction.
  • No person shall operate a bicycle unless it is equipped with a rear brake or front and rear brakes which will enable the operator to make a braked wheel skid on dry, level, clean A bicycle equipped with a direct or fixed gear that can make the rear wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement shall be deemed to fully comply with this paragraph.
  • A bicycle may be equipped with a horn or bell designed to alert motor vehicles, other bicycles, and pedestrians of the bicycle’s presence.
  • No person shall operate upon a highway any two-wheeled bicycle equipped with handlebars so raised that the operator must elevate the hands above the level of the shoulders in order to grasp the normal steering grip area.
  • No person shall operate upon a highway any bicycle which is of such a size as to prevent the operator from stopping the bicycle, supporting it with at least one foot on the highway surface and restarting in a safe manner.

Subd. 6a. Operator age. No person under the age of 15 shall operate an electric-assisted bicycle.

Subd. 7. Sale with reflectors and other equipment. (a) No person shall sell or offer for sale any new bicycle unless it is equipped with reflectors and other equipment as required by subdivision 6, paragraphs (b) and (e) and by applicable regulations for new bicycles prescribed by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission.

(b) Notwithstanding paragraph (a), a new bicycle may be sold or offered for sale without pedals if the bicycle otherwise meets the requirements of paragraph (a).

Subd. 8. Turning, lane change. An arm signal to turn right or left shall be given continuously during the last 100 feet traveled by the bicycle before turning, unless the arm is needed to control the bicycle, and shall be given while the bicycle is stopped waiting to turn.

Subd. 9. Bicycle parking. (a) A person may park a bicycle on a sidewalk unless prohibited or restricted by local authorities. A bicycle parked on a sidewalk shall not impede the normal and reasonable movement of pedestrian or other traffic.

(b) A bicycle may be parked on a roadway at any location where parking is allowed if it is parked in such a manner that it does not obstruct the movement of a legally parked motor vehicle.

Subd. 10. Bicycle events. (a) Bicycle events, parades, contests, or racing on a highway shall not be unlawful when approved by state or local authorities having jurisdiction over that highway. Approval shall be granted only under conditions which assure reasonable safety for all participants, spectators and other highway users, and which prevent unreasonable interference with traffic flow which would seriously inconvenience other highway users.

(b) By agreement with the approving authority, participants in an approved bicycle highway event may be exempted from compliance with any traffic laws otherwise applicable thereto, provided that traffic control is adequate to assure the safety of all highway users.

Subd. 11. Peace officer operating bicycle. The provisions of this section governing operation of bicycles do not apply to bicycles operated by peace officers while performing their duties.

History: 1978 c 739 s 12; 1986 c 444; 1987 c 255 s 14; 1993 c 326 art 4 s 2; art 7 s 2; 1995 c 72 s 2; 2012 c 287 art 3 s 29-31; art 4 s 20; 2013 c 127 s 31-34


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35 Responses to A Modest Proposal for Better Minnesota Bike Legislation

  1. Sean Hayford Oleary
    Sean Hayford Oleary February 6, 2017 at 10:20 am #

    I like your ideas, particularly Idaho stop. However, I think you’ve slightly overstated the issues with the existing law.

    The right turn provision you propose is interesting, because I actually would like to see the law go the other way. Not only is not “practicable” to ride straight through a right turn lane, it is technically illegal now — because you would disobeying the regulatory sign “right lane must turn right”. (This is why jurisdictions with shared right-turn lanes often add a secondary sign, “except bikes”.)

    In relatively low-speed urban environments, the advice provided by the SF diagram is very true — you should move to the left and allow other vehicles to turn to the right of you. However, this is not the case in high-speed suburban and rural environments, where wide bikeable shoulders are often provided, but bicyclists must choose between merging into 50 mph traffic or breaking the law by riding through the right turn lane.

    I believe BikeMN wanted the law changed to allow bicyclists to ride in the leftmost 1/3 of a right-turn only lane, but I can’t find the reference now.

    • Luke Van Santen
      Luke Van Santen February 6, 2017 at 11:48 am #

      Thanks Sean!

      I didn’t mention anything wrt shoulders on the right-turn bit because that seems to be covered already in Subd4.4 – I assumed that being in the shoulder would take precedent over anything about right-turn lanes. For instance, when the person bicycling is approaching an intersection with a through lane and a right-turn lane, the bicyclist should move over (within safe lane change practices) to the line between the through lane and the right-turn lane. That way, they can continue through the intersection while maintaining “as far right as practicable”, for the direction being traveled.

      Largely, it seems to me to be the “right thing to do” – moving to the right side of the the through lane allows people turning right to proceed as they will and not have to wait for me to clear their path.

    • Eric Saathoff
      Eric Saathoff February 6, 2017 at 12:44 pm #

      I really like the Paris Stop. That would be great at a couple of intersections I use, such as Cayuga & I35E ramp and Tedesco & Payne.

      I also agree with Sean about using the “leftmost 1/3 of a right-turn only lane.” This is what I typically do to position myself to go straight but allow right-turning vehicles to squeeze through.

    • Luke Van Santen
      Luke Van Santen February 7, 2017 at 9:55 am #

      Here’s an example from my commute (42nd Ave N & Boone Ave N, in New Hope). Being in the left third of the through lane (either southbound or northbound on Boone) is exactly what I already do. Also, there’re no shoulders at this intersection, or at some others along Boone.

      https://goo.gl/maps/R39ChG7bmWC2

  2. David Markle
    David Markle February 6, 2017 at 10:44 am #

    I favor instituting a statewide speed limit on sidewalks, for everyone. Possibly the term “sidewalk” in the present law needs further clarification. Maybe 5 mph.

    Another point that deserves further clarification is whether cyclists, like pedestrians, have the right-of-way when using pedestrian crosswalks.

    Attention to these issues would improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists alike, and should reduce unreasonable liability for motorists at intersections.

    • Sean Hayford Oleary
      Sean Hayford Oleary February 6, 2017 at 10:58 am #

      What about joggers? The trouble is that sidewalk context really varies. For example, riding 15 mph on a sidewalk along a major arterial with limited access isn’t necessarily dangerous, at least if slowing at intersections. Some state — I think Wisconsin but couldn’t find it — uses phrasing that suggests that a bicycle has right-of-way as a pedestrian if operating in a manner “consistent with pedestrian movement”. That is, you can’t blast through a crosswalk at 20 mph and assume cars will see and be able to yield.

      Another point that deserves further clarification is whether cyclists, like pedestrians, have the right-of-way when using pedestrian crosswalks.

      I think this is abundantly clear today.

      169.222, subd. 4 (f) A person lawfully operating a bicycle on a sidewalk, or across a roadway or shoulder on a crosswalk, shall have all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances.”

    • Walker Angell
      Walker Angell February 6, 2017 at 11:19 am #

      I’m not sure most people would even be able to balance going 5 MPH.

      We frequently ride on the sidewalks along County Rd E in Vadnais Heights and are often the only people on these sidewalks. The alternative is to share a traffic lane w/ a lot of 55 MPH traffic. I’m not sure there’s a need for a speed limit of less than 13 to 15 MPH on these.

      What determines if something is a sidewalk, MUP, SUP, or Bikeway? These are all very clearly defined in northern Europe but here even traffic engineers disagree. The Netherlands (and several other countries) have largely eliminated MUPs. They define something as either a walkway or bikeway. People walking have ROW on a walkway and bicycle riders may be allowed as guests. Speed limit will often be 9.5 MPH (15 KPH) for bicycle riders as guests though this varies and is only really enforced if the rider is being a nuisance or dangerous.

      Many outer suburban and rural bikeways (bicycle riders have ROW) will allow people walking as guests. Typically no speed limits enforced except for snorfiets and e-bikes. While they have the ROW a bicycle rider is still expected to be cautious of people walking and those walking considerate of bicycle riders. If the number of people walking is above a fairly low threshold then they will add a separate walkway.

      Their Sustainable Safety principles are focused very heavily on separating 3 modes of transport based on speed, maneuverability, and mass; walking, bicycling/disabled and motorized. https://bicycledutch.wordpress.com/2012/01/02/sustainable-safety/

    • Luke Van Santen
      Luke Van Santen February 6, 2017 at 11:54 am #

      Hi David!

      This makes me think of a stretch of Winnetka Ave north of 49th Ave N in Crystal / New Hope – their is no shoulder there and numerous catch basin inlets with drops of 2-4 inches along the right side. It is also a higher speed roadway, so when I commuter through that stretch, I use the sidewalk. Having a 5 mph speed limit on the sidewalk, while certainly making it safer for pedestrians, would essentially (assuming perfect enforcement) force m back on to Winnetka. I can only assume there are numerous other similar places out there where following eth law would make people riding bicycles LESS safe?

    • GlowBoy February 9, 2017 at 10:22 am #

      A 5mph speed limit on sidewalks would effectively ban bicycles from them, at least for transportation purposes.

      That’s unacceptable unless and until we make the adjacent streets safe for bicycling.

      I use bike lanes and paths when they’re available and unobstructed (often not the case in winter), but in other situations – especially in suburban areas – I find the sidewalk to be the only option for me to get where I’m going without risking death. Please don’t kick us off the sidewalks without giving us somewhere else to go.

      • Eric Saathoff
        Eric Saathoff February 9, 2017 at 10:31 am #

        Agree

  3. Nicole February 6, 2017 at 2:40 pm #

    My 10 year old is going to be very disappointed to read this… wonder why I never noticed it before, and why does it exist?

    “Subd. 6a. Operator age. No person under the age of 15 shall operate an electric-assisted bicycle.”

    Otherwise, right on! Love your proposed changes.

    • Luke Van Santen
      Luke Van Santen February 7, 2017 at 5:06 am #

      Nicole –

      I completely overlooked that part!

      Since it part of the current law, how do you think it should be changed? I can see it coming down to 12 years old (12 year-olds can legally drive tractors / farm equipment, I think?)

      • Nicole February 8, 2017 at 9:22 am #

        Why does having a battery affect one’s ability to ride. I honestly don’t think there should be any standard on that. I see kids riding electric scooters all over the place, and those have straight throttles. The e-bikes I’m familiar with are pedal-assist, and have governors at 20mph. There’s really nothing about it that is inconsistent with riding a regular bike (other than they’re heavier). If there has to be an age on it, well, you can operate a boat at 12, why not a bike? Still, this seems like legislating a solution to a non-existent problem.

        • Walker Angell
          Walker Angell February 8, 2017 at 2:22 pm #

          There are two key issues with e-bikes.

          1) They can make other path or bikeway users uncomfortable. Or as many Dutch say “they are terrorizing the bikeways”. This has become a major issue in The Netherlands, Denmark, and elsewhere. People riding e-bikes tend to ride much faster than others, with less control, and less consideration for others. What they have learned is that someone powering themselves behaves very differently from someone being powered by a motor.

          This is why they are tightening the regulations for what an e-bike is. Today an e-bike is simply limited to 15 mph (avg speed of people on bikeways is 11-13 mph). These do not have an age restriction nor helmet or registration requirement. They are amending it and it looks like it will now require that there be no throttle, that at least 50% of propulsion at all times come from pedaling, that initial torque be limited, and that motor assist taper beginning at 9 mph to 0% assist by 15 mph in a linear fashion. There is also debate about reducing the current 250 watt limit to 150 or 200 watts but this likely won’t be included.

          Anything else will require registration, helmet, insurance, and be prevented from using most bikeways.

          2) Children. Keep in mind that children in Europe (or northern Europe) grow up riding bicycles for transportation. They learn rules of the road and bike handling skills from their parents and often every single day. They have classroom and on-the-bikeway bike safety courses every year with a fairly intensive one around 4th grade. They have determined that these children should not ride anything more powerful than the above until they are at least 16 (and at that just about zero parents will let their children ride any kind of e-bike unless they have a disability).

          • Walker Angell
            Walker Angell February 8, 2017 at 2:34 pm #

            For a bit of perspective. When I’m riding; 90 watts output will propel me at about 12 MPH (or with a case a wine about 11 MPH). 150 watts about 18 MPH. A top rider in the tour-de-france will average about 230 watts (a bit less on flats, considerable more up mountains).

            So, an e-bike with a 250 watt motor is capable or quite high speeds but perhaps most important has a very considerable amount of torque that allows an e-bike rider to go from slow to very fast very quickly.

            Some people want a 350 watt, 500 watt or even larger motor on their e-bikes. For a cargo bike carrying 300 lbs of goods up a hill perhaps but these are not appropriate on a lighter bicycle on a path with other users.

            • Nicole February 10, 2017 at 10:58 am #

              Thank you for the detailed response. I guess my perspective on e-bikes comes solely from the cargo bike category, so that whole “out-pacing everyone else on the bike path” really never comes into play. Ours really don’t want to go much faster than 12mph without a lot of effort and/or quick draining of the battery, so it’s a non-issue for us. I can see other e-bike options causing the problems you describe. Still, I think over-legislating this idea will just turn people off from riding. 15 seems way too high an age, especially given that younger children can operate other motorized transport–boats, scooters, tractors, 4-wheelers, snowmobilies, etc before then.

          • James February 12, 2017 at 5:04 pm #

            I ride an e-bike daily for commuting, shopping and leisure. I agree they can make bikeway users uncomfortable, but so can non-electric bike riders. In particular the spandex clad pathletes that travel well above the MN max assist speed of 20MPH on an e-bike. Rider speed and poor etiquette are not mutually exclusive to e-bikes. It is individuals, not their bicycles, that create problems. Legislating against e-bikes is like legislating against sports cars and hoping it will reduce the number of crazy drivers on the road.

            Education is probably the better approach.

  4. David Markle
    David Markle February 6, 2017 at 3:59 pm #

    Make that a 5 or 6 mph limit except where posted otherwise.

    As to crosswalks, especially without a speed limit, motorists have an unreasonable liability when cyclists going 20 mph (maybe, seemingly out of nowhere) blast across the street using the crosswalk. Same with runners, skateboarders, skaters, etc. as for cyclists.

    • Walker Angell
      Walker Angell February 6, 2017 at 8:14 pm #

      I don’t see how slowing and making sure that nobody is coming is an unreasonable liability. That said, most drivers don’t even stop when someone is standing in the crossing. The moment a driver begins to drive a motor vehicle they are assuming a great responsibility. Unfortunately they don’t take that responsibility seriously and so they kill 35,000 to 40,000 people every year.

      We do need to do a better job of indicating right-of-way and of providing clear sightlines.

      In northern Europe right-of-way is very clearly indicated for every interaction. If peds/bikes have ROW then cars will have sharks teeth to indicate that. In that case they must slow enough (or stop) to make sure that nobody is coming. Sightlines are usually such that a driver can easily see near pedestrians or far bicycle riders. When they are not then it is the drivers responsibility to stop and make sure that nobody is coming.

      If cars have ROW then peds/bikes have sharks teeth and responsibility to look for cars.

      In reality peds/bikes must always be on the lookout simply because of the consequences. Drivers do make mistakes and this must be watched for.

    • Luke Van Santen
      Luke Van Santen February 7, 2017 at 5:22 am #

      David and Walker –

      Minnesota’s pedestrian statute (https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=169.21) pretty clearly spells out how the interactions at intersections are supposed to play out (if pedestrian is in crosswalk, drivers must yield; pedestrians can’t enter crosswalk if doing so makes it impossible for the driver to yield). Reality is, of course, a different story.

      As Walker says, drivers SHOULD look more, but I fear even with more looking / better sight lines there would still be drivers trying to squeezing through intersections.

      As David says, a 20mph speed on a sidewalk WILL be harder for drivers to ensure the intersection is clear before proceeding.

      Both illustrate the fact that sidewalks are not the appropriate place for bicycles!

      • Walker Angell
        Walker Angell February 7, 2017 at 9:35 am #

        The current statute effectively says that a pedestrian or bicycle rider must place themselves in danger (and in the splush wake of passing motor vehicles) before they gain right-of-way. That’s a problem.

        If a sidewalk is not appropriate, then where is? I agree that sidewalks are very sub-optimal. U.S. traffic engineers and planners have given us an extremely poor and dangerous surface transportation network to work with. Likely the worst designed roadways of all developed countries. But it’s what we have today. If where you want to go requires choosing between a mile on a sidewalk or a mile in a traffic lane with 50 MPH traffic, then where do you go? Where do you tell your child or grandparent to go?

        I agree that 20 MPH is too fast on a sidewalk. But 5 MPH?

        Most sidewalks can function somewhat well with bicycle riders going 10 MPH, being considerate of people walking (and those walking likewise being considerate), and slowing at crossings. The problem here is the same as with how our roads are designed – too much reliance on obedience and too little cement that enforces obedience.

        We need bikeways (and walkways and roads) designed to CROW standards so that they are safe, efficient, and eliminate ambiguities and conflicts as much as possible. Until we have them though we have to work with what we have. Saying that bicycle riders are unwelcome on sidewalks when that is their only reasonable safe option or restricting them to walking their bicycles (effectively what a 5 MPH limit does) will only promote more driving.

        There are perhaps some interim things we can do. Slower speeds and bits to enforce motorist speed where there are crossings. Another might be to begin defining right-of-way at crossings better by using sharks teeth (and yield signs?) to indicate to motorists that those on the sidewalk approaching the crossing have right-of-way and that the motorist is required to yield and must do so before the person puts themselves in danger.

    • GlowBoy February 14, 2017 at 10:17 pm #

      Oregon’s statute says that if cyclists (and other wheeled users) enter a crosswalk at at greater than a walking pace they must yield to ALL other users. In other words, you may “blast” across the street if you like, but you will be found at fault if any collision happens to occur.

      This does solve the problem from the perspective of motorists, but it is a terrible law for cyclists.

      The unfortunate practical effect of the law is that cyclists are ALWAYS believed to be at fault in Oregon crosswalks, because no jury (and thus not the legal system itself) will believe that you were going at a walking pace. Even if you started from a stop when the WALK signal came on and proceeded at a slow pace, you were uber-visible and got hit by a speeding drunk driver, you have absolutely ZERO chance of recouping damages from the driver.

      I’m not sure what the right solution is, but it’s probably somewhere between what Oregon does and what Minnesota does.

  5. KK February 7, 2017 at 1:28 pm #

    Question: Which came first, Florida’s bike statues, or Minnesota’s? Some of the wording is suspiciously similar:

    http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0300-0399/0316/Sections/0316.2065.html

    • Walker Angell
      Walker Angell February 7, 2017 at 1:32 pm #

      Given Florida’s worst in the nation ped/bike fatality rates I’m not sure that’s a compliment either way.

    • Sean Hayford Oleary
      Sean Hayford Oleary February 7, 2017 at 4:35 pm #

      They both probably originate from the Uniform Vehicle Code, which is a privately written code that is adopted and modified by many (all?) states. See page 168 (PDF page 185) here.

  6. David Markle
    David Markle February 8, 2017 at 2:06 pm #

    Hennepin County has deliberately and unnecessarily placed pedestrians and bicycles on the same pathways of the redesigned Franklin Avenue Bridge. Bad County!

    • suggestions February 8, 2017 at 7:21 pm #

      How could the bridge be better?

      • Adam Miller
        Adam Miller February 9, 2017 at 9:44 am #

        He wants grade separation between pedestrians and bikes, because he views bikes as a danger to pedestrians.

        Which is maybe a fair point although here the space, demarcated with paint between pedestrians and bikes, is so large that conflict doesn’t seem like a big problem.

        • Walker Angell
          Walker Angell February 10, 2017 at 11:55 am #

          I think I agree with David. Better separation than paint (only a painted line?) would certainly be good.

          A bit of grade separation helps but if the bikeway color and material are the same as the walkway then, while better than paint alone, there will still be problems.

          Different colors and ideally different materials do a much better job of delineating the two and communicating that they are different and intended for different purposes. A typical bikeway in Europe will be red asphalt while walkways will be cement, paver, or faux paver in cement. They often have a bit of grade separation as well but not always. When they do it will usually be no more than about 2″ and at a bicycle wheel friendly 30°.

          • Adam Miller
            Adam Miller February 10, 2017 at 12:17 pm #

            I rode the new bike path through the Hennepin/Lyndale bottleneck (with Lisa Bender’s Winter Bike to Work Day group) and noticed there’s a separating foot of grey brick between the bike portion and the sidewalk. I thought that was a great idea.

            • Walker Angell
              Walker Angell February 11, 2017 at 2:58 pm #

              Yes. I’d think it would. Sounds a lot better than a painted line. Are the path itself and walkway the same color and material?

    • GlowBoy February 14, 2017 at 10:23 pm #

      I rode that path on Friday. It’s about 20 feet wide, with paint delineating the cyclists’ space from the pedestrians’. Sure they’re on the same grade level, but c’mon. You don’t get to kick cyclists off every shared space – or reduce us to an ineffective slow-jogging pace – just because having us go by TEN FEET away from you makes you “uncomfortable.”

  7. Matty Lang
    Matty Lang February 10, 2017 at 1:59 pm #

    You mean I’m not supposed to be clinging to vehicles during my toboggan commutes? Oops.

  8. Bill Dooley February 12, 2017 at 2:54 pm #

    Luke, thank you for your interest in Minnesota bicycle legislation. The Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota is working on a number of bicycle legislative initiatives to pass or defeat for this legislative session including: school buses stopping in bike lanes, highway-roadway obstruction, Safe Routes to School, bicycle rider licensing, and cell phone while driving. You are welcome to attend our next planning session on Wednesday, February 15, at 6:30 p.m. Please email me at bdooley09@gmail.com for the meeting location.

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