Ask A Trooper: Be safe on the road with bicyclists

Published 6:30 am Wednesday, September 22, 2021

By Sgt. Troy Christianson

A trooper in southern Minnesota recently took a report from a concerned bicyclist and asked to have this information passed along. This person rides bicycle, has a flashing white light to the front and flashing red light to the rear, wears a helmet, has a mirror, follows the rules of the road, rides in bicycle lanes where provided and always near the fog line when there is no bicycle lane. The bicyclist is concerned of vehicles driving past and not giving three feet or more room when passing. The bicyclist has nearly been hit multiple times.

This past summer in a previous article, I covered some “rules of the road” when it came to sharing the road with bicycles. With fall upon us, I feel it’s still a good time as any to review this important safety information.

Rules of the Road

•Bicyclists may ride on all Minnesota roads, except where restricted.

•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.

•Bicyclists must signal their turns and should ride in a predictable manner.

•Bicyclists must use a headlight and rear reflectors when it’s dark. To increase visibility, add a rear    flashing light.

•Drivers must drive at safe speeds and be attentive — look for bicyclists, check blind spots.

•Drivers should use caution and look twice for riders when turning.

•Drivers should use caution when opening door upon parking on side of road.

About one-half of all bicycle-vehicle collisions are due to a variety of bicyclist behaviors, such as disregarding a traffic sign or signal. The other half are caused by vehicle driver behaviors, such as inattention and distraction. It’s important for everyone to do their part to share the road and drive smart.

You can avoid a ticket — and a crash — if you simply buckle up, drive at safe speeds, pay attention and always drive sober.  Help us drive Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths. If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota send your questions to Sgt. Troy Christianson – Minnesota State Patrol at 2900 48th Street NW, Rochester MN 55901-5848.  (Or reach him at, Troy.Christianson@state.mn.us)