Reader thoughts //A better bike town?

More connections

The biggest problems bicyclists have is how do you deal with getting across major highways and through major intersections? As a bicyclist you want to avoid really busy roads so where do you go? Sometimes there aren’t good alternatives to get across arteries. The addition of the Midtown Greenway has been great for getting east-west in Minneapolis but there isn’t much for north/south. For example, how do you get over Crosstown Hwy. 62? 94? 494? The options are busy bridges which are narrow and have no room for bicycles. These problems need to be considered to make the Twin Cities a more viable biking community.

Minneapolis has done a good job building bike paths and routes, now many of the major routes need to be connected rather than just ending and leaving you in the middle of a busy road, e.g., Hennepin bike route ends at Washington Avenue, Portland bike route ends at Washington Avenue.

Andrea Rugg
Tangletown

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More space on the street

I started bike commuting last year. (I also skateboard to work once a week, too.) I live in Fulton and work in Bryn Mawr. What I’ve noticed, at least in the areas I bike, is that this town is really only set up for recreational biking. Because the lake trails are set up for one way traffic, bikers like me traveling from north to south on the west side of Calhoun and Harriet cannot get around the lakes without riding in the busy parkway traffic. If we are serious about commuting, we should pave another set of trails on the other side of the street. I’ve noticed there is plenty of space available. The pedestrian, bike and auto traffic around the lakes is over capacity and something needs to be done about it.

Also, connecting France Avenue between Excelsior Boulevard and Minnetonka Boulevard would do wonders for reducing auto traffic around Lake Calhoun.

Dane Hartzell
Fulton

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Wear your helmet

We need more bike paths in heavily populated areas and in heavily trafficked areas

And more bike lanes, although they are not nearly as safe as bike paths.

The bike traffic laws should be widely distributed so they can be understood by all. Bikers should obey the laws and be ticketed just like automobile drivers are. Bikers should be required to wear helmets. I have seen bikers ride on the street in front of my house not wearing a helmet and talking on their cell phone held up to their ear. Yikes. 

Marty Allen
East Isles

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Raise awareness about bikers’ rights

I am a third-season biker here and I think the community and city have done some great things to make Minneapolis better for bikers. One thing that comes to mind for me about what can be done to make it even better, is to make the drivers here more aware of bikers rights. I can’t count how many times drivers have yelled at me to get on the sidewalk. I really think that if there were some TV and billboard ads that state the facts that we can ride in the road and what clearance they have to give us that some of them would respect us a bit more.

Thanks for your time and effort.

Helena Thompson
East Harriet

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Improve relations between bikers and police

Due to a recent experience in downtown Minneapolis it has come to my attention that a better relationship between the Minneapolis police and cyclists needs to be forged. I watched last week while my husband was thrown off his bicycle, thrown to the ground and arrested for running a red light on Nicollet Mall. This was absolutely horrifying. If someone runs a red light in a motor vehicle are they pulled from their car and dragged into the street? No. A driver is ticketed while a cyclist is violently harassed and arrested.

The interesting aspect of this encounter is that he was charged not with running the red light but instead with fleeing a peace officer. He did in fact run a red light and if an officer saw this he rightfully should have been ticketed; however, this was not the case. Instead two Minneapolis officers on bicycles followed after him yelling strings of obscenities at him without ever once identifying themselves as police.

When he did not stop they continued and used more the necessary force to remove him from his bicycle. As cyclists we have learned to ignore the obscenities and harassment that we have to endure daily from people in their cars. This is self-preservation not fleeing. When I reached them, I got off of my bicycle and asked if he was OK and what was going to happen to him, the response I received from the officer was a barrage of obscenities, which included extremely degrading terms for a woman.

Neither one of us had done anything to escalate the situation except for the fact that we were riding bicycles. For every one person that I have told this story I have heard multiple stories of similar circumstances. . … There is no hope for Minneapolis to be a positive place for cyclists until the Minneapolis police have positive attitudes towards cyclists.

Christine 
Lyndale