Share the Road Stresses Bike Safety

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In New Jersey, bicyclists are making a statement with shirts that say “Don’t run me over!” “Stop ur txting” and “If you can read this, I need more room.”

In Minnesota, bicyclists are a little more polite. Most of their statements come from organizations like the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Transportation, the Minnesota Department of Health, Explore Minnesota Tourism, and people like Lisa Austin, a MnDOT transportation planner, who spreads the “Share the Road” safety message with anyone who will listen.

“Minnesota’s streets, roads and highways provide transportation for a variety of vehicles—cars, trucks, motorcycles and, yes, bicycles,” Lisa says. “By following eight rules of the road, bicyclists and motorists can share the road more safely and enjoyably. After all, bicycle safety is a two-way street.” Those eight rules include the following:

  • Bicyclists may ride on all Minnesota roads, except where restricted.
  • Bicyclists should ride on the road, and must ride in the same direction as traffic.
  • Motorists must at all times maintain a three-foot clearance when passing a bicyclist.
  • Bicyclists must obey all traffic control signs and signals, just as motorists.
  • Motorists and bicyclists must yield the right-of-way to each other.
  • Bicyclists must signal their turns and should ride in a predictable manner.
  • Bicyclists must use a headlight and rear reflectors when it’s dark. To increase visibility, add a rear flashing light.
  • Bicyclists should always wear helmets.

The Minnesota Department of Health fully supports the helmet rule. National data shows that in the event of a crash, wearing a bicycle helmet reduces the risk of brain injury by at least 85 percent. If each rider wore a helmet, an estimated 500 bicycle-related fatalities and 151,000 nonfatal head injuries would be prevented each year. This amounts to one death per day and one injury every four minutes.

Visit the Living Green Expo to learn more about Share the Road, Safe Routes to School efforts that support walking and biking to school year-round, and the newest bikeway—the Mississippi River Trail (MRT)—a route that starts at the headwaters of the Mississippi River and travels all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.

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