Reporter's Notebook: Top 15 Bike Safety Tips

Last summer, the City rolled out their Bike Walk Ambassador Program (BWAP!). The program encourages education and getting folks to walk or ride when running errands. Below are safety tips from BWAP! (CP translated them from government legalese):

Five things cyclists should know:

1. Both drivers and cyclists need to look out for one another. This isn’t that cheery hold hands crap, but just a way to keep safe and avoid collisions.

2. Bikes: get the hell off the sidewalk. While it’s sometimes legal in Minneapolis, it’s also stupid. Sidewalks double your chances of getting into an accident. They are not the bastion of safety they once were when you pedaled your big wheel around the block.

3. Turn off your iPod. We know it kicks ass to pedal through downtown while cranking the Black Keys, but the absurd drumming of Patrick Carney can block out the sound of a dump truck turning into your lane. Cyclists need their ears.

4. Don’t cruise through stop signs. 24 cyclists collided with cars between 2003-2005 by ignoring the octagonal markers. Red means dead.

5. Keep your head on a swivel when crossing the street. Merely left and right won’t cut it at most intersections.

Five things drivers need to know:

1. Give cyclists the full lane. Yes, many move slower than a street sweeper. But it’s their right. If you start feeling pissed, mellow out with some MPR classical.

2. Be patient and give cyclists a three-foot or more clearance when passing. And don’t call female cyclists bitches or sluts from your car window.

3. Careful with the left-hand turns. Actually, all turns.

4. Watch out for cyclists riding on the sidewalk. Yes, this takes an extra couple glances, but it’s worth it.

5. Slow down. Pop-in some Snoop and cruise a melodic pace. It makes the streets a safer place for all.

Five more things cyclists need to know:

1. Take up the full lane... or at least a quarter of it. This will piss off some drivers, but most will edge their way around you with plenty of space.

2. Ride with traffic, unless a bike lane allows you to ride against it. This is the no-shit suggestion.

3. Again, get the hell off the sidewalks.

4. Use those dorky looking bike signals. If a hipster, use them ironically.

5. Buy a helmet. Wear it. Buy some lights. Turn them to blink-mode at night.

And here is our feature story on the 10 worst intersections in Minneapolis.

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