City’s cycling czar needs a helmet
I found the article ‘City’s Cycling Czar’ very informative. I appreciate that one of Shaun Murphy’s focuses is on finding way for motorists, cyclist and pedestrians to share transportation networks in harmony. Dissemination of information is a good first step.
Unfortunately, Shaun is shown as a reckless rider in the article. I just hope that is not how he rides in real life. In both of the pictures in the article Shaun Murphy is shown riding without a helmet, this is a terrible example to show other cyclists. As parents, it can be a struggle to teach our children to always ride with a helmet. I always ride with a helmet to set the proper example for my child. Our Legislature has mandated that we utilize seatbelts in our cars because it saves lives. Shaun Murphy could show the community that he is an advocate for cyclist safety by demonstrating that he himself wears a helmet. Shaun could take it a step further by pushing for the mandatory use of helmets on public bike paths and marked roadways where cyclists must co-exist with cars.
As both a motorist and a cyclist I try to be very aware and courteous of cyclists. In the winter this is even more important as both cars and bikes cope with slippery conditions and narrower roadways. I am frustrated in these conditions when I see cyclists without helmets. They may feel it’s their own decision or right to assume this additional risk, but unfortunately the burden of taking caring of a rider after a traumatic head injury falls on all of us. Additionally, the pain of seriously injuring another person, even if one was not at fault, would last a lifetime.
Shaun, please let the community know where you stand on safe cycling and helmet use. I hope you’ll help promote the use of helmets so that 10 years from now it will become the norm and cyclists will think it’s reckless to ride without one.
Stop spending tax dollars on cycling
I read the article “The City’s Cycling Czar” with great interest and frustration. I am an avid recreational biker, but I am very concerned with the direction and expense of the city’s bicycle program, regardless of where the funds come from. There should not be a use of property tax funds for this program as federal funds end. If you went to the December budget hearing, you would know while property taxes are out of control and programs such as women’s abuse shelters and minority assistance are slashed, we are nonetheless able to fund a salaried “bike” position as you covered in your article. We also do not know how we will pay for the millions of dollars needed for repainting bike lanes on streets stripped by plow work. Keep in mind that for 99 percent of Minneapolitans, biking is at best a six-month sport.
Additionally, despite the attempt of the green movement to get people to bike, the automobile is still the vehicle of choice and the infringement of bike lanes into city streets only increases frustration and commute times for taxpayers that work downtown. I suggest saving this money and giving property tax relief. As federal funds end, we should not budget for biking using local funds. And by the way, I’d rather the federal funding that has kept the program afloat thus far be used to reign in the runaway deficit that is not addressed by the current administration. We just can’t afford it.
More on lake paths
I just read Melissa Waskiewicz’s letter to the editor, “Stay on the right path.” I’m pretty sure that the Park Board has temporary signs posted all winter long that state that the outer path is, for winter months only, a “Shared Path” and that bikers are asked to yield to all pedestrians.
The outer path is plowed and cared for all winter while the inner path is not. I am one of the runners who Melissa is so frustrated by when she is on her bike. We have not “taken over” the bike path. We are using the one assigned to all of us for the winter months. A simple “On your left” is all that is needed for me to move to the right, giving her plenty of room to yield to me and others who are following the signs for the winter.
A vote for Hornstein
With the new legislative district lines now in place, delegates to the newly formed 61A will have to choose between two great candidates to represent them in the Minnesota House next session. A difficult choice, to be sure, but Frank Hornstein has not only the experience and the seniority, but more importantly, the ability to build coalitions and to reach across the aisle to get things done.
I have known Frank to be a smart and dedicated voice for sound transportation policy and environmental protection issues, and a tireless advocate for social justice. I strongly encourage the delegates at the convention on March 24 to endorse Frank Hornstein for Representative of the new district 61A. Your friends and neighbors will love you for it.
The runner’s perspective
I am writing in response to a letter written by a reader (Melissa Waskiewicz) who is frustrated by runners and walkers who use the bike path in the winter. I run daily all winter long in the very early hours when it is still dark. Unfortunately, the walking path at Lake Harriet is not lit nor plowed in the winter, as the bike path is. While we have not had much snow this winter, the walking path has many icy patches, which cannot be seen. I wear a headlamp, which helps some, but not enough to light the whole path.
My running mates and I are always on the lookout for bikers and appreciate a quick bell or warning — we always get out of the way. We look forward to warmer, lighter days when we can safely get back on our path. In the meantime, we ask for bikers’ understanding of the need to share the path in the winter.
Another perspective on the paths
This is in response to a recent letter to the editor entitled “Stay on the right path.” We live very close to Lake Harriet and use the upper and lower paths daily all year round. Contrary to the writer’s beliefs, during the winter months, the upper path is a SHARED path to be used by bikers, skaters and walkers. In fact, during the winter the sign on the upper path clearly states “CAUTION: Bicyclists & Skaters Must YIELD to Pedestrians.” Bikers, please share the path with everyone.
Bikers may not always see that the lower path is snow covered and icy, which is why walkers and runners are on the upper path. We appreciate the Park Board’s dedication to keeping the upper path cleared for runners, walkers and bikers during the winter, and both paths debris free the other months of the year. We are truly fortunate to have this resource available to all.
Jeff and Kate Dusek