Letter to the Editor: motorists and bikers need to acknowledge each other’s rights

In response to the bike rant in the November 21st print edition of the Knight Errant, I’d like to address another side of the story. While I would never condone biking on Lake Street with the Greenway so close by, I would like to bring some criticism to the feeling many motorists have about cyclists taking over the streets.

The city of Minneapolis have done research in the past couple of years to support bike planning around the city. From 2007 to 2013, the number cycling commuters have increased by 76%. Sharing the road with cyclists is a reality of modern-city driving, and both parties should be aware of their legal rights to do so.

Minneapolis has diagnosed the majority of bike crashes to two causes: motorists not yielding to cyclists and cyclists not riding predictably. It is an education issue on both sides. There are numerous encounters by my community members of frustration of cyclists weaving in and out of lanes, but also of motorists who clip by cyclists, not leaving the required ‘safe’ space out of ignorance or anger.

Minnesota state laws in summary require cyclists to ride as close to the right hand curb at all times. Exceptions are not limited to hazards in conditions, objects, and surfaces making it unsafe to ride. These hazards include parked cars. While comical, being ‘car-doored’ tends to be a painful experience. This limits cyclists ability to cram themselves next to the curb.

My best advice to deal with the rants of motorists about those darn cyclists on the road? Go ahead and give riding a try. In the streets, with traffic, with the road rage. It takes some serious guts to do so; just make sure you grab a helmet.

(Kirsten Hoogenakker)