Minneapolis, Minnesota was ranked as the number two biking city in the country by Bicycling Magazine. The city features 92 miles of roadway bike lanes and 85 miles of off-roadway bike paths. The Grand Rounds trail circles the whole city. The Mississippi River Trail runs along both sides of the river and draws many tourists.
Biking in the city can be a healthy and environmentally friendly way to get around town. Yet, biking also poses greater risks than traveling by car. According to the CDC, in 2010 around 800 bicyclists were killed and half a million individuals went to the ER due to injuries related to biking.
To ensure everyone’s safety, it is important to understand the laws of the road and your rights, responsibilities, and protections as a bicyclist on the road.
Here are some key laws bicyclists should keep in mind before riding:
- Riding on residential sidewalks is legal, but bicyclists are not allowed to ride on sidewalks in business districts. When in doubt, don’t ride on the sidewalk. Bicyclists are liable if they hit pedestrians while riding in areas where they are not legally allowed to ride.
- Bicyclists are required to follow all traffic laws. Bicycles are required to abide by the same laws as any motor vehicle on the street.
- Focus on the road and avoid listening to music while biking.
- Avoid biking along the curb or too close to parked cars. You put yourself at risk of being hit by an open door or car.
- Pay attention to your surroundings, especially when pulling into traffic, and ride in the direction of traffic at all times.
- Wear a helmet!
Some things automobile drivers can do to help share the road:
- If there isn’t enough room for the car and the bike to share the lane, the car should allow the bicyclist to have the whole lane.
- Give bikes a wide berth when passing or when encountering bikers on the road.
- When turning, drivers should check for bikes as well as for cars.
- Bikers on the sidewalk should be treated like pedestrians and given right of way.
As a bicyclist, the key thing to remember is that you are required to follow all traffic laws, and use proper signaling. If riding at night, use of headlights and proper reflectors is required. Bikers should always yield to pedestrians.
Motorists should make sure to provide three feet between their cars and bicyclists. The law prohibits motorists from driving, crossing into, or parking in bike lanes.
Becoming familiar with bike lanes is also a good way to protect yourself and other people. The City of Minneapolis provides a nice chart of bike lanes and road markings and explains what each of these markings mean.
If you have been injured as a bicyclist in the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota, it is important to understand that the law provides protections for bicyclists who have been injured while on the road. Bike safety is everyone’s responsibility. The Law Office of Martin T. Montilino provides legal services in Minnesota to protect the rights of individuals who have been injured while on the road. If you or a loved one has suffered due to another motorist’s failure to obey traffic signals, bike lanes, or observe due caution while driving near bicyclists, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries under the law. Contact The Law Office of Martin T. Montilino, LLC today to seek justic