Minneapolis report confirms city's love for bikes

Bikes are the hottest thing in Minneapolis since Josh Hartnett.
Bikes are the hottest thing in Minneapolis since Josh Hartnett.

Have you heard that Minneapolitans have a crush on bikes?

The rumored love affair was confirmed yesterday by new Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator Shaun Murphy during his presentation of the city's first-ever Bicycle Account, a summary of bicycle activity Murphy plans to make a biannual tradition.

If Murphy is to believed, it appears the city might be ready to go steady with its favorite two-wheeled mode of transportation.

Here are some of the report's highlights:

-- Between 2007 and 2011, bike traffic in Minneapolis grew by 47 percent, with an increase of 25 percent between 2010 and last year.

-- In 2011, on-street bike lines increased by 70 percent, or 35 miles, bringing the city total to 167 miles.

-- Despite the increasing number of riders, the bicycle "crash rate" actually declined by about 60 percent since 1993, perhaps signaling that drivers are taking better account of bicyclists than they were 20 years ago.

The report also notes that Minneapolis was elevated from a silver to a gold-level Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists in 2011. But apparently Minneapolitans don't want their "friendship" with bikes to stop there.

According to the Southwest Journal, during his presentation to the Minneapolis City Council's Transportation and Public Works Committee, Murphy said the city aims to become just the fourth in the country to earn a platinum-level Bicycle Friendly Community rating, following Portland, Davis, and Boulder.

Toward that end, Murphy said the city plans to add 10 more miles of bike trails in 2012 while beginning work on a University of Minnesota trail as well.

Put it together and it appears the city's love affair with bikes is more than a one-year stand. This is a relationship that is built to last.

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