17 March 2009

Give 'em 3!

It's warm(er)! Which means that a lot more folks are going to grab their bikes and hit the trails, and the roads.

We know that HOURCAR members are, on the whole, walkers and bikers, so I'm sure that people are good about yielding right of way at crosswalks, marked and unmarked, but did you know that there are also legal requirements for passing bicycles?

Yup, according to Minnesota state law, three feet is necessary:
(3) the operator of a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle or individual proceeding in the same direction on the roadway shall leave a safe distance, but in no case less than three feet clearance, when passing the bicycle or individual and shall maintain clearance until safely past the overtaken bicycle or individual.

That's not to say that there isn't a whole bit of statute regarding the operation of a bicycle, most of which is common sense (staying to the right, using lights at night). Only a bit is arcane, like not attaching yourself to a streetcar (ha, like we have those anymore). And cyclists do have to obey traffic laws, including stop signs (even if this is honored in the breach by some), although there's no law against passing four light-cycles of traffic on Lyndale at rush hour, and no law against chuckling when you bike over I-94 when it is a parking lot in both directions. There is some talk in the house last session about letting cyclists run lights and stop signs (when safe), but it doesn't seem to have gone anywhere.

So oil your chain, adjust your brake lines (or in my case replace your cogs, chain and casette) and get ready to ride, and if you're driving, especially in an HOURCAR, make sure to give bicyclists three feet of room. We appreciate it.

Some safe cycling links:

* State statute
* Info from MNDot
* Info from the Twin Cities Bicycling Club

No comments: