Thursday, July 10, 2008

Bike Rights

Biking can be a great commuting option but sharing the road with vehicles is not necessarily for the faint of heart. Fueled by a near miss last week and a confrontation today...

Rules regarding bicycling in Minnesota can be confusing because they represent an amalgam of the rights and responsibilities of both motorcycles and pedestrians. To clarify some of these often confused items, below is a checklist of things I’ve encountered as a cyclist. This information is gathered from, Minnesota Statute 169: Operation of bicycle; Minnesota Passing Law; and Minnesota Pedestrian Law.

• To ride in a traffic lane, not the shoulder, even when there is a bike path present
• To be left no less than three feet clearance when being passed by a motor vehicle
• To have the right-of-way at crosswalks when riding on the sidewalk
• To park at bike racks and sign posts
• To have a bike lane respected as if it were another lane of traffic


• Obey traffic laws
• Yield to pedestrians
• To give an audible signal when passing pedestrians on a crosswalk
• To ride where cars can see you, even if that means riding far away from the right

The most confusion seems to stem from where cyclists are allowed to ride. I’ve been told to get off the street and get off the sidewalk. While it’s generally safer to ride in the street (more so than a bike lane even) it is acceptable and legal to do both.

Bicycles can ride on the street,
to the right, except:
• When passing
• When turning left
• When reasonably necessary to avoid hazards

Bicycles can ride on the sidewalk,
• When in a business district – which is defined as having more than half the block occupied by businesses.

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