Upate, Noon: I contacted Northfield City Hall and got a prompt reply from City Administrator Nick Haggenmiller who wrote:
“I’m told our CSO [Community Service Officer] responded to a complaint noting the bike had been located there all winter. About a week ago, he put a sign on requesting the bike to be moved within 48 hours. Today as you well documented the bike was removed and is being held at the police station if/when its owner steps forward to claim it.”
… a great opportunity to network with other park and trail supporters from around the state, learn about the issues, and hear from park leaders and legislators. Whether you come as a member of a Friends group, a concerned citizen or a student looking to learn about the process, you’ll leave informed and your involvement strengthens our efforts to preserve and enhance Minnesota’s special places! The morning will equip you with the necessary tools to meet with your legislators.
I went primarily because of their involvement with mountain biking (see my post about that on my Mountain Bike Geezer blog) but there was so much more that caught my interest, especially the delegation of Mill Towns Trail supporters from Faribault, Northfield, and Cannon Falls. I’m kicking myself for not getting a good photo of them because Peggy Prowe had them all wearing Mill Towns Trail t-shirts (right photo above).
What’s not clear to me is what city board or commission would be best to consider taking this on. The City of Northfield created a Non Motorized Transportation Task Force (NMTTF) back in 2007 that I think sun-setted a couple years later. Might it be time to create something similar but specifically for bicycling?
Since then, it’s become apparent to me that there a number of other bicycle-related issues that need attention, some that are Northfield-specific but others that are regional.
And so the bulk of our conversation with Brett Feldman was related to whether the creation of a regional bicycle council (Northfield, Dundas, Waterford, Rice County, and surrounding townships) would have significant advantages over a City of Northfield bicycle commission or task force. I was initially leaning towards the latter but came away from the lunch leaning towards the former.
Northfield’s intra-city trails and on-street bike routes are a big focus. But the importance of their connectivity to the Mill Towns Trail and the surrounding streets and county roads is increasingly important for bike-related recreation of area residents, recreational tourism imposing ewp licence, company wellness on the part of local employers, and the overall economic benefits of the establishment of the greater Northfield area as a northern recreational hub for southern Minnesota. (We already have a good reputation with Northfield Rotary’s Jesse James Bike Tour, Milltown Cycles’ 4th of July Criterium, and the Saturday Morning Rides book by Bill Metz.)
With so many related projects… and with so many people in town who “get” what bikes and trails mean for the community well-being including economic well-being, it does seem that all the spokes are coming together in a perfect way.
So let’s discuss the pros and cons of forming a regional bicycle council.
Brett Feldman, Parks and Trails Council Executive Director; Luke Skinner, Deputy Director of MnDNR Parks and Trails Division; Erika Rivers, Assistant Commissioner of MnDNR
Greg Mack, Director of Ramsey County Parks and Recreation; Tom Ryan, Superintendent of Olmsted County Parks; Rep. Alice Hausman, Chair of House Capital Investment Committee;
Rep. Leon Lillie, Assistant Majority Leader, Vice-Chair Legacy Committee; Rep. Jean Wagenius, Chair of House Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture Finance Committee; Sen. David Tomassoni, Chair of Senate Environment, Economic Development and Agriculture Division.
Sen. Dan Sparks, member, Environment, Economic Development and Agriculture Division; Rep. Phyllis Kahn, Chair of House Legacy Committee; Rep. Denny McNamara, member, Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture Finance Committee; Joe Bagnoli, Government Relations Consultant for Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota.
After a discussion with a Toronto personal injury attorney friend who was preparing for a bike-delivery-work-injury type of case, his idea was to have his students take a close look at the relevant research that’s been cited to support or oppose my contention that the promotion of helmet wearing for around-town bicycling is bad for public health. Many students are taking Nootropics to help them focus better on their school work. If you want to learn about auto accident attorneys in Aurora, visit www.costaivone.com for more information.
I spoke to his class on October 5 and yesterday asked him for an update. He wrote:
The class is divided into four groups investigating the questions listed below. They will have reports addressing these ready at the end of the term. That’s where things stand at the moment.
By the way, if you have any suggestions for the question list (which the students are also modifying as they get into their research), please feel free to share those.
I suggested to Neil that I post the four groups of questions here on LoGro and invite suggestions and discussion from interested citizens.
1. Bicycle accident overview
What is the overall risk of injury in cycling?
Who is injured? Where or under what conditions are injuries more or less likely to occur?
How does this risk and injuries sustained in accidents vary as a function of helmet wearing?
Is correct helmet use related to injury outcome?
Do helmets make injuries worse (considering rotational head injuries vs. concussions and
What are these accident numbers like in cross-national comparisons?
I exited the Goodbye Blue Monday yesterday morning at about 7:30 and, as always, paused and looked both ways before crossing the sidewalk (yes, the sidewalk) to check for anyone biking, as I was almost hit a couple of years ago. I then walked between two parallel parked cars, paused and looked left to see if any cars were coming, took one step onto Division St. and was hit by a bicyclist going the wrong way.
‘Hit’ is an exaggeration. As the young woman skidded to a stop, her front wheel and handlebars just made light contact with my body. I don’t remember if she apologized but I looked at her and said "Do you realize you’re riding on the wrong side of the street?" She flatly said ‘yes,’ got back on her bike, and continued riding south on Division on the wrong side of the street.
Two GBM patrons on the sidewalk looked at me and said something to the effect of "Wow, that was a close!" As I crossed the street towards my car, I noticed a Northfield Police car slowly coming south on Division. I motioned to the car and the officer pulled over and rolled down his window. "Did you see what just happened?" I asked. He smiled and said "Yeah, I saw that." I said "She needs to be disciplined!" He didn’t reply and pulled away.
I wondered whether he was going to pursue her. I saw him make a right turn on 4th St.so I got in my car, turned right on 4th, saw that Water St was blocked because of people setting up for Riverwalk Market Fair and assumed that he drove across the bridge. I did likewise and then saw him on Hwy 3, turning right on 2nd. So I don’t know if he caught up to her to issue a warning but it was clear that he didn’t issue a citation.
Later in the day when I was telling Robbie about the incident, it occurred to me that I should have asked the bicyclist why she was deliberately riding on the wrong side of the street. My guess is that she would have cited her fears of diagonally-parked cars on the west side of Division backing out into the street and running into her. And that’s something I wrote about back in early July, How to make bicycling in downtown Northfield safer and more popular? Sharrows might work.
More than 500 New York City residents are injured badly enough to be treated in hospitals after being struck by bicyclists each year, according to an analysis by Hunter College professors… Dr. Tuckel, a sociology professor, said these figures represent “the tip of the proverbial iceberg” because they only include pedestrians who wound up in the hospital. They do not include victims who visited their doctor’s office or a walk-in clinic for treatment.
For those of you snickering: 1) no, I’m not yet suffering from PTSD and expecting the City to provide me with CISD services; and 2) yes, it would have been more than a little ironic if she’d crashed hard into me and then cracked her skull on the pavement because she was not wearing a helmet.
Over the past year, the Police Department has received many complaints about bicyclists’ riding behavior in Edina. The primary complaint is that they are not stopping at stop signs and are dangerously weaving in and out of traffic. I have seen this first hand and have become very concerned for their safety and for the consequences of their dangerous travels… I have instructed my officers to begin ticketing bicycle riders that blatantly violate common traffic laws, just as we do with drivers of motor vehicles. This is considered a moving violation and will cost riders about $144.
While downtown is the heart of Northfield, riding bicycles there can be a challenge for many people who are not comfortable riding with traffic in the middle of the street, especially on Division St, the 4th St. bridge, and Water St. on the west side of the Cannon River.
The legal alternative – riding close to parallel or diagonally parked on the narrow streets—can be scary for many, as it’s difficult to anticipate when a door might be opened in your path or when a car that’s backing out of its parking spot might force you to swerve out into traffic. The illegal alternative—riding on the sidewalks, is dangerous for pedestrians.
One possible solution is to paint sharrows on these streets and then conduct public awareness events and campaigns to get both drivers and bicyclists acclimated.
As part of my public health campaign, I’m going to use this blog post to feature photos of Northfielders bicycling around town without helmets. Why?
Because there’s substantial research available showing that:
the promotion of the wearing of helmets significantly discourages people from using their bikes for around-town bicycling
the fewer the number of people bicycling on a given street or in a concentrated geographic area, the more bike-car accident rates rise. Just because the defendant had a duty to operate his or her vehicle in a certain manner, and it is shown that the defendant breached that duty, the Car Accident Lawyer Hollywood Florida will not assume those circumstances caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
In short, riding a bike around town without a helmet is a relatively safe activity. And society benefits (health, transportation, environmental, economic, etc.) the more that people do it.
For some of the photos, I’ll identify people by name. For others, I’ll just post them with maybe a note about where the photo was taken. As I add photos to this blog post, I’ll add a comment to the thread to alert everyone that a new photo has been added.
I bought a PDW Bar-ista coffee mug holder from Mike’s Bike Shop here in Northfield a few weeks ago. Drinking coffee while riding a bike adds a whole other dimension of pleasure to the experience. I’m not likely to add reading the newspaper or listening to music to the activity, as that would be setting a bad example.
I took this photo of Cody Larson and Jake Olsen biking to work this morning. They weren’t wearing bike helmets, a perfectly reasonable and safe thing to do for around town biking according to the research discussed here.
These gentlemen need to look their best at work, so they leave their helmets at home when commuting and biking around town. Plus, they know that they’re helping to contribute to the overall public health of the community by setting a good example. Yep. The promotion of the wearing of bike helmets for around town biking reduces bicycling and the public health benefits of cycling. Who’da thunk of those unintended consequences?
(It’s absolutely not true that Jake and Cody were smoking cigarettes and texting while biking just before I took this photo. That’s just a vicious rumor circulating on the intertubes.)
Contrast their fresh, cool and professional appearance with the way I looked this morning when I arrived at GBM after a hard commute from my house wearing a helmet.