Ride Boldly!

Bikes, bicycling, and road safety.

Bloomington Bike Trail Development

Bloomington (Minnesota) is looking at developing some links within a long-proposed 72-mile trail from Fort Snelling to Le Sueur, per the Star-Tribune.

As usual, within a proposal that should be good news, I find a moment of ‘urk!’ To wit:

Joined with the pedestrian walkways along American Boulevard at the city’s northern edge, the three new trails would create a “wonderful grand loop through the city,” Quale said.

Pedestrian walkways are not bicycle trails. While it would certainly make a lovely walking trail, calling this all a ‘river bike trail’ is clearly inappropriate. Especially when you consider the following component of Bloomington City Ordinance:

(c) Bicycles on Sidewalks.

(1) Pursuant to Minnesota Statutes Section 169.222, Subdivision 4(d), and unless otherwise posted, persons may ride a bicycle upon a sidewalk in the City of Bloomington but must yield right-of-way to any pedestrian on the sidewalk. Yielding the right-of-way shall mean leaving the sidewalk if necessary.

Having once worked down on American Boulevard, I can attest that the roadway itself is usable, but probably pretty scary for most cyclists on the average weekday (and the average weekday, along parts of the stretch). The pedestrian walkway also is crossed by approximately 3.2 trillion driveways. A cyclist rolling along there is at high risk of not being seen if they are rolling against the flow of traffic on the nearby street.

I find any plan that assumes that bicycles belong on sidewalks, and that sidewalks are ‘safe’ to be lacking. Signs alone, or hope alone, do not a bike route make.

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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.

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