The Northfield News ran a story last week titled Road rules, bicycle style. Eric Johnson, Bruce Anderson (blogger), and Bill Ostrem (blogger)– members of the City of Northfield’s Nonmotorized Transportation Task Force (NMTTF) — are quoted in the piece.
… as more and more bicyclists and pedestrians take to the streets as a result of higher fuel prices, officials worry that they’ll see a corresponding rise in bicycle-related traffic accidents, as what recorded by Eberstein Witherite accident lawyers. It’s a dark side of bicycling of which Johnson, a member of the NMTTF, is well aware. He has been clipped by a car, shouted at and honked at.
“You can’t peacefully co-exist on the roads unless everybody is playing by the rules,” said Bruce Anderson, an avid bicyclist and member of the NMTTF. “It all gets back to education; there’s just so many things that people do that are unsafe.”
Bill Ostrem, the chair of the NMTTF, believes that a series of education programs would help mitigate crash statistics. To teach cyclists the rules of the road, Ostrem and the NMTTF hope to implement a series of bicycling safety courses in the future with the assistance of Officer Monroe and the Northfield Police Department.
Two related letters-to-the-editor subsequently appeared in the paper.
Betsy Gasior had a letter in the Sept. 6 issue:
There is, however, one glaring problem with the article, or rather, the photograph. Mr. Eric Johnson is improperly signaling his right turn. If a bicyclist chooses to signal, I’ve observed, this is the sort of signal they use. The right hand pointing haphazardly to the right or left. What am I to notice? A wad of gum? Perhaps a $5 bill the bicyclist feels I am deserving of. Maybe it’s the flock of flamingos coming down the street to their left. This is a huge safety issue.
I was saddened and angered when I read the Sept. 2 article about the death of Terry Miller on County Road 8 (130th St), south of Dundas. Saddened, of course, because of this gruesome and untimely death. Angered because it probably could have been prevented… Rice County must stop ignoring bicycles and pedestrians when it comes to their county roads. The county should not be laying 23-foot surfaces. Ever. If they have enough traffic on them to warrant pavement, they have enough traffic that they need some kind of paved shoulder.
Back in May, the Strib ran an article titled A green light for bikers, when traffic allows.
Are Minnesotans willing to grant bicyclists limited immunity from stop signs and red lights? That question is posed by a legislative proposal introduced during Bike/Walk to Work Week earlier this month by Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis, and Sen. Jim Carlson, DFL-Eagan, both bikers. Their proposal is based on an Idaho statute that allows bikers to proceed though stops in certain circumstances. It would require bikers approaching a stop signal or sign to slow to a speed that allows them to stop.
They’d be required to stop if a vehicle is in the vicinity. But they could proceed through a stop sign without stopping if there’s no traffic close enough to pose a hazard while they’d be moving through the intersection. At a red light, they could also make a right turn, or a left turn onto a one-way street, without stopping. And if there’s no vehicle nearby, they could proceed through the intersection after a full stop without waiting for a green light.
I like the idea of granting bicyclists the same judgment call that we currently give motorists for right-turn-on-red turns.