O sidewalk! My sidewalk!

Last Saturday, WCCO ran a story about the traffic laws concerning bicycles. Reporter Jason DeRusha, took viewers through the basics of lawful cycling. He also pointed out how most cyclists don’t really follow such rules.

DeRusha provided some pretty simple evidence: dozens of cyclists running the teeny little stop sign on the Greenway just past the Uptown transit center. Though, that's a whole other issue...

The critical part of the story dealt with a mistake concerning a cyclist's ability to ride on the sidewalk. And it was uttered by lifelong cyclist, John McConaghay, an employee at Calhoun Cycle. Though, this mistake is a pretty easy one to make.

McConaghay was quoted as saying, "In Minneapolis, it is illegal to ride your bicycle in the sidewalk. I think a lot of people don't know that. Because that's what I see them doing everyday.”

Umm… not exactly.

On the city’s website it clarifies the rule in exact terms:

Please note, cyclists may not ride on a sidewalk in a business district or where posted. While a business district is precisely defined in state law, the layman’s definition is a city block which has more than half of its buildings occupied by businesses. In these areas, the lawful cyclist will walk his or her bike, or ride on the street. When riding on sidewalks, cyclists must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians. When necessary, cyclists should announce their presence to pedestrians on sidewalks, before passing.

But as a side note, while it is legal to ride on most sidewalks, it’s actually less safe. Some studies indicate that riding on sidewalks increases a rider’s chance for an accident twofold. So get back in the street, it’s safer and faster. But if you really want to ride on the sidewalk, go right ahead…cause, y’know… it’s legal and stuff.

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