Bicycle safety in numbers


Bicycle riders have safety in numbers. We've highlighted the fact in our humble blog for about a year. Now, the sleeping giant woke up and made it into feature story. Thank god. The more the word gets out, the safer it is to ride.

Here is a collection of amazing facts from the Strib story:

The Midtown Greenway saw a 24 percent increase in ridership in the first four months of this year, compared to the same period of 2008. Ridership from March through December last year was up 32 percent over the same period the year before, said Shaun [chainwhip] Murphy, coordinator of a nonmotorized transportation pilot program for the city.

Murphy said he expects increases of 10 percent to 30 percent this year.

The percentage of Minneapolis residents who bike to work increased from 1.6 in 1990 to 3.8 in 2007, according to the U.S. Census.

The story shows how increased ridership lowers accidents rates... all this despite a string of tragic cycling deaths on the roads this year.

Last year, we wrote about previous string of deaths and came to the same conclusion:

Yet despite these high-profile incidents, it is actually safer to ride on the street than at any other time in recent memory, according to city statistics. Minneapolis reports that accidents are down 20 percent from the 1990s.

Again, all this makes it seem like it should be more wonderful to ride a bicycle through the city. But riding continues to be a precarious situation. Many intersections remain hazardous to both cars and bicycles. And Hennepin Avenue, a subject of scorn by many in the bike community, continues to act as a gateway to destruction. Just last week, I witnessed two close calls. Both were the same: the riders were heading toward the river and the cars were making a left turn without taking time to do a double check their review mirror.

Worse yet, the city knows about this danger and is taking their sweet time to address it.

But as the article brought up, infrastructure and cars are not the entire problem. Cyclists tend to follow road signs and laws about as well as them Duke boys. The worst is when a collection of cyclists is patiently waiting at a red light and some dude (yes, dude.) rolls up and cockily pedals through the red light.

Dude. You are not awesome. You are a D-Bag, ruining it for others. Follow the rules. It's not hard and makes life better for all. You have the right to be on the road. So do the cycling community a favor and follow the rules of the law.

And be aware of cars that don't see you. Make noise. Wave. Have eye contact. Look ahead to anticipate. Wear reflective... god, I'm starting to feel like a mom.

Just ride.