Bicycle riding up, fatalities down in state

Published 3:48 am Thursday, May 3, 2012

ST. PAUL — Preliminary 2011 statistics from the Department of Public Safety report four bicyclist fatalities in Minnesota — the lowest since 2007.

From 2008 to 2010, 32 bicyclists were killed and 2,836 bicyclists were injured, according to DPS numbers.

Most bicycle crashes occur during afternoon rush hours, and people under age 25 represent more than half of all bicyclists injured annually.

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Officials expect a continued surge in people riding of bicycles in 2012 and urge caution for those who may be new to bicycle commuting.

“We’re striving to create a culture where one traffic fatality is one too many,” said Sue Groth, MnDOT state traffic engineer, in a news release. “Motorists need to be ready as more bicyclists join traffic, and bicyclists need to help drivers by heeding traffic and wearing bright, reflective gear and helmets.”


Eight “rules of the road” to improve bicycle safety are:

—Bicyclists may ride on all Minnesota roads, except where restricted — such as interstates.

—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.

—Bicyclists should always wear helmets and bright reflective gear.