Keeping the paths safe and fun for all

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April 22, 2014
By: Jack Delehanty
Jack Delehanty

David Brauer's editorial on the use of the paths around the Minneapolis lakes misses the complexity of the issue.

These paths serve a diverse population of pedestrians, runners, cyclists, and others, and keeping them safe and enjoyable for everyone requires flexibility.

A runner moving at 10-12 miles per hour or faster on the walking path creates a serious safety hazard for dog-walkers, stroller-pushers, and slow-moving pedestrians enjoying a stroll around the lakes, but poses considerably less danger to cyclists on the outer path. Who is more endangered by a fast runner: a group of children or seniors, moving slowly, occupying the full breadth of the walking path, or a cyclist riding alone on the outer ring?

Cyclists who find it inconvenient to pass a runner moving at high speeds might wish to consider that the speed limit on the bike path is 10 miles per hour. It is no more reasonable to ask faster runners to navigate the maze of strollers, leashes, and children on the inner paths than it is to ask cyclists to strictly follow this limit. Both rules exist for good reasons, but neither should apply in every situation. Cyclists can ride fast without endangering anyone when the paths are quiet, and runners who are fast, alert, and agile, and who hug the right edge of the path, pose no risk to cyclists.

Our presence there is the result of consideration for our own safety and that of others, not of arrogance.

Jack Delehanty
Lyndale