Bike Walk Ambassadors Offer Safety Tips for Cyclists and Drivers
October 23, 2008
Bicycle commuting is up by double-digit numbers in Minneapolis, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey. The number of city residents who say they bike to work grew by nearly 50 percent between 2006 and 2007.
Great news, but there have also been nine bike fatalities in Minnesota this year, with four occurring in Minneapolis or Saint Paul. Although increased numbers of cyclists on the road actually reduces car/bike crashes, some cyclists are feeling increased concerns about safety.
"With recent tragedies it would be reasonable for some cyclists to feel more vulnerable than usual," says Joan Pasiuk, Program Director of Bike Walk Twin Cities. "Cycling is a great transportation choice, but we need heightened enforcement of laws for both cyclists and motorists, as well as better education and well-maintained roads."
Through the Bike Walk Twin Cities initiative, the Bike Walk Ambassadors at the City of Minneapolis issued a press release identifying safety tips for both drivers and cyclists.
“There are things that motorists and bicyclists can do to ensure everyone’s safety and share the road,” said Lynnea Atlas-Ingebretson, Program Manager of the Bike Walk Ambassadors. “Safety has to be the priority and is each of our responsibilities. Most motorists and cyclists are not aware of the rules, yet they form opinions and practice behaviors that endanger themselves and others. It takes a few minutes to learn the rules for sharing our roads, and it is an important step in continuing to reduce crashes.”
Other Actions Taken After Bike Fatalities
- A group of cyclists placed “ghost bike” memorials—bicycles painted white—at the scenes of the accidents. The same cyclists also organized a ride that attracted more than 300 cyclists, all of whom rode to the sites of the recent bike crashes. Many also attended the Unite Bike photo at Gold Medal Park, which turned out to be a beautiful picture of the Twin Cities cycling community.
- Joan Pasiuk, the Program Director of the Bike Walk Twin Cities initiative, wrote a letter to the editor of the Star Tribune, asking the paper to clarify that drivers have the legal responsibility to observe traffic and yield the right of way to cyclists before accelerating past a stop sign.
- Through the Bike Walk Twin Cities initiative, Transit for Livable Communities and the Bike Walk Ambassadors program at the City of Minneapolis issued press releases after the crashes. Transit for Livable Communities noted that increased numbers of cyclists on the road actually reduces car/bike crashes, while the City of Minneapolis noted that bike crashes in Minneapolis have trended downward over the past 15 years.
These are only the first steps in a longer-term, collaborative strategy to prevent cycling and pedestrian deaths. Through the Bike Walk Twin Cities initiative, Transit for Livable Communities will work closely with communities and governments on efforts to make our roads safer for all users.
Photo: Bike Walk Ambassadors Lynnea Atlas-Ingebretson, Shanai Matteson, David Peterson, Rebecca Gomez, and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak