Bikers, be aware: Ride defensively

  • Article by: JEFF STRICKLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 1, 2012 - 3:24 PM

Summer biking brings out casual cyclists who often aren't as familiar with the rules intended to help them avoid accidents.

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mn_cameraJun. 2, 12 8:59 AM

I can't count the number of cyclists I've seen just roll through red lights and stop signs irrespective of what the traffic situation was around them. Earlier this year, I saw several riding along Shepard Road in St. Paul, and they were not in the (provided) segregated bike lane, they were in traffic.

From those, and many other displays of reckless riding, I can only conclude that a significant number of cyclists here have a barely suppressed death wish.

I have to lay a lot of the responsibility for this attitude on the "Critical Mass" people, who encourage blocking traffic, and urge taking foolish risks in the name of "claiming the roads" or some such thing.

While I try to move over and give cyclists room, I wish they'd take some responsibility for their own safety. Maybe even ride as though their lives depend on that - because they do.

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thehoffersJun. 2, 1212:29 PM

I see far-FAR more motorists who blow through stop signs and break laws than cyclists, but that's partly because there are so many more motorists. Truth is that there are motorists who are a great deal more destructive and dangerous than what a cyclist is capable of. To whom does the greater burden fall?

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zyxwvuJun. 2, 1212:31 PM

I always cut cyclists the space, but I too can't count the number of times I see them blow stop signs and lights. abide by all the rules of the road, not just the ones that don't inconvenience you.

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ollie3Jun. 2, 12 1:46 PM

"Truth is that there are motorists who are a great deal more destructive and dangerous than what a cyclist is capable of. To whom does the greater burden fall?"----I don't own a vehicle, so I'm definitely not some kind of bike-hater or pedestrian-hater....but the burden falls on everyone, and if you're a cyclist who thinks the motorist should be the one who's extra careful, have fun thinking that when you're lying in a hospital bed in a full-body cast. Motorists have, presumably, at least taken lessons and demonstrated via written and driving tests that they know what they should be doing. For cyclists, on the other hand, any 7-out-of-10er can be out riding on the streets without ever having demonstrated they have a clue what the laws are.

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fourtwozeroJun. 2, 12 4:22 PM

The best advice for cyclists is; ride like you're invisible. Assume no drivers can see you because a lot of them don't.

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allhailfsmJun. 2, 12 4:24 PM

I am one of those cyclists who pretty much ignore the law, because the laws are designed to protect cars from each other, not to protect bicyclists. People in cars will turn right in front of you, push you into the gutter mercilessly, pass you with less than 8 inches between you and them. There is no risk to the car, and most of them act like it.

I feel far safer crossing the street when it looks safe, rather than going to the corner. Sometimes that means I cross over in the middle of the block. I also blow through stop signs when it looks safe, but never in front of a car that has the right of way.

I'm sure I'l get a lot of thumbs-down for this post, but I feel safest when I act as if the cars are trying to hit me, rather than trying to respect my rights to be on the road.

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cosmicwxdudeJun. 3, 12 8:12 AM

Won't where a helmet and never will, thanks anyways.

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beveryafraidJun. 3, 12 8:36 AM

Many cyclists mistakenly believe that Minnesota bike law has a "rolling stop" provision. It does not. That being said, there are also no laws supporting vigilantism, so before you drivers decide to teach cyclists a lesson, remember that if you injure a cyclist you can, and most likely will, be cited. Back off! You can spare a couple of seconds, and everyone gets to go home that day.

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theyankee69Jun. 3, 1211:13 AM

I just wish those on bicycles would stay off the sidewalk. Most sidewalks here aren't wide enough to accomodate bikes safely. I'm tired of having to dodge them or having them yell from behind because, shockingly, I walk slower than they bike. Maybe if some of them took parallel side streets, they wouldn't complain about the traffic so much. I have no defenses against someone zooming down the sidewalk behind me.

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omgurdensJun. 3, 1211:30 AM

I consider myself a responsible, respectful rider, but I never stop at stop signs or wait for lights if there aren't cars around. Why would I want to wait at an intersection for cars to pile up in all directions and risk getting hit by a texting/facebooking driver when I can pass harmlessly before the cars come? The laws should be changed, it is much safer to let bikes pass through empty intersections, and ultimately gets bikes out of the way of cars when lights turn green.

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