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Bicycles:Rules of the road for the sake of safety
I crashed my bicycle. Luckily, I came away with minor injuries. I rode the Midtown Greenway, a major bicycle path between St. Paul and Minneapolis, MN. When I came to Hiawatha Avenue and crossed with the light, a car suddenly turned in front of me. I swerved, hit the curb, and went over the handlebars. The visor on my helmet shattered.
So, to avoid injury ALWAYS wear your helmet! They sure come in handy. And always expect the unexpected. DO NOT assume a car and its driver sees you.
The number of bike paths and lanes in Minnesota, and especially in the Metro, has grown dramatically. Use a bike path whenever possible. And always obey the rules of the road. Those rules apply to us as well as the cars and the drivers around us. Every bicyclist in Minnesota has the same rights and duties applicable to other vehicles and their operators.
Ride as close as practicable to the right hand curb or edge of the roadway unless (1) overtaking or passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction, (2) you are preparing to turn left at an intersection or into a private road or driveway, or (3) it is reasonably necessary to avoid conditions, including parked cars along the right hand curb line.
When riding on the shoulder of a roadway, always travel in the same direction as adjacent traffic.
Bicycles are prohibited on city sidewalks in business districts due to pedestrians, unless permitted by local authority. A city may prohibit any bicycle on any sidewalk within its jurisdiction. Bicyclists lawfully riding on a sidewalk, across a roadway or shoulder on a crosswalk has the same rights and duties as a pedestrian, but must yield to pedestrians and give an audible signal before passing or overtaking. Cross a street in the crosswalk with the light in the direction of adjacent traffic to be safe.
Put a white light on the front of your bike that is visible from a distance of 500 feet. Put a red reflector on the back of your bike that is visible from 100 feet. Minnesota law requires it if you intend to ride your bike when the sun is down. Similarly, you may not ride your bike at any time when there is not sufficient light to render persons and cars on the road clearly discernable at a distance of 500 feet, unless you or your bike are equipped with reflective surfaces that can be seen from 600 feet with the low beams of a car. Thankfully, most bike shops are sold with the reflective surfaces required by law. I own a bright orange vest with white reflective edging that I purchased in a local bike shop. Many highway workers wear similar vests. They may not be haute couture, but you will be seen.
Be safe, be seen, and wear a helmet!
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