Ride Boldly!

Bikes, bicycling, and road safety.

Pave the Luce Line?

There’s talk of paving the Luce Line. It may even be an OK idea. But some of the reasons why… eh, not thrilling to me.

The article was in the Hutchinson Leader. There’s some debate among locals, current trail users, would-be-trail users who hate the limestone, and others about future plans for the trail. Some advocate leaving it as is, some advocate paving.

However, the article definitely reflects some notions that aren’t necessarily good reasons for paving.

Lee Salmi of Hutchinson said he could ride a mountain bike if he were 40 or 50 years younger. Bike riding is key to keeping up his cardiovascular health, but riding around town is hazardous, he said.

“I’ve been knocked down twice on the streets,” he said.

I have every sympathy for this. However, I have to wonder about how he’s riding the streets. Is he sidewalk-surfing against flow? Is he in parking lanes? Is he cycling as a vehicle?

Similarly, another cites ‘safety’ as a goal of paving:

Hutchinson Mayor Steve Cook also cited safety for cyclists as another reason to pave the trail. Cook said he and his family rode the trail to Winsted and back again. On the return trip, his son opted to ride along Highway 7 because the going was smoother. Cook was concerned that riding along the highway was far more dangerous than riding a paved trail would be.

I don’t know that section of 7. I’m fairly sure it’s a 4-foot shoulder. Might have a rumblestrip or two. However, if there is a shoulder, even a fast section should be safely ridable by most adults. I can certainly understand not taking children of a certain age on a busy, fast roadway — lots of kids need skills development, such as how to ride straight. As well, kids are short, modern vehicles are tall, and that can be a bad combo. But on-road, you don’t deal with off-leash dogs (as much, given that it’s farm country), children rolling all over the place, people who don’t ride to the right and allow for passing or oncoming traffic, horse poop on shared bridges, etc. etc.

That said, I’m not opposed to paving. Pavement is nice. Trails have a place. But their place shouldn’t be as a reaction to ‘oh no the road has cars.’ If one rides properly and defensively, roads are safer.

Since I keep on this rant, I should dig out the stats on that. However, there are meatballs and beer waiting. Ah, the joys of blogging during dinner prep!

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Author: julie

Julie Kosbab is an online marketing consultant and active transportation advocate living in Anoka County, Minnesota. She was one of Minnesota's only League of American Bicyclists Certified Instructors when certified in 2005. She is a past member of the National Bicycle Tour Directors Association. She has 2 children and 4 bicycles. Find her on Twitter as @betweenstations.


  1. I can’t believe people are even thinking of paving the historic Luce Line trail. This is pure crazy! Bicyclists can’t ride on the trail as it is?? If that is so, get the heck off it and leave it to the people who think it is beautiful and natural and wonderfully maintained. If they want to ride paved trails, then it is their job to seek them out, the Luce Line needs to stay the way it is. Millions of dollars to maintain and pave—Minnesotans have truly lost their minds.

  2. Pingback: Pace the Luce Line Trail Ride Boldly | My Site