Bike riders, motorists must share the road

Published 10:08 am Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The temperature topped 80 degrees in Austin Tuesday and hopefully sooner rather than later we’ll see more days like that.

With summer right around the corner and the recreational possibilities in Minnesota endless, it’s easy to think about waterskiing, boating, biking and taking advantage of the great things this state offers.

Just as it is with most things, however, recreational activities don’t come without a certain amount of risk.

Take for instance, biking. Austin is a nice town to bike in, whether it’s a ride around Mill Pond or a short trip to the YMCA.

It also can be dangerous, though.

A report from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety shows that in 2009,10 bicyclists died throughout the state, a drop from 13 in 2008, but still above the average of eight deaths per year.

In addition, nearly 1,000 bicyclists are injured in crashes in Minnesota annually.

“Motorists need to be ready as more bicyclists join traffic, and bike riders need to help drivers by heeding to traffic and road rules, and wearing bright, reflective gear and helmets,” said Cheri Marti, director of the DPS Office of Traffic Safety.

Both bicyclists and motorists share responsibility when it comes to bike safety.

Motorists should take extra caution when driving around town or in areas where bike riding is prevalent. And bike riders should be aware of current bicycle laws and oncoming traffic.

Bike riding is a nice activity during the warmer months, especially in Minnesota. However, disobeying state law or carelessness can lead to tragic consequences.

While the number of bicyclist deaths last year decreased from 2008, 10 deaths is still 10 too many.