Ask A Trooper: Be Safe On The Road With Cyclists – Austin Daily Herald
By the sergeant. Troy Christianson
A soldier in southern Minnesota recently took a report from an affected cyclist and requested that this information be passed on. This person rides a bicycle, has a flashing white light on the front and a flashing red light on the back, wears a helmet, has a mirror, obeys the rules of the road, rides on the cycle paths where they are provided and always close to the fog line when there is no cycle path. The rider is concerned about passing vehicles and does not leave three or more feet of room when passing. The cyclist was almost hit on several occasions.
Last summer, in a previous article, I covered some “rules of the road” when it comes to sharing the road with bikes. With the fall upon us, I think it’s always a good time to review this important safety information.
Rules of the road
• Cyclists may use all roads in Minnesota, except where restricted.
• Cyclists must ride on the road and must ride in the same direction as traffic.
• Motorists must maintain a clearance of three feet at all times when passing a cyclist.
• Cyclists must obey all traffic control signs and signals, just like motorists.
• Cyclists must signal their turns and must ride predictably.
• Cyclists should use a headlight and rear reflectors when it is dark. To increase visibility, add a flashing light.
• Drivers should drive at safe speeds and be alert: look for cyclists, check blind spots.
• Drivers should exercise caution and look twice for riders when turning.
• Drivers should use caution when opening the door when parking on the side of the road.
About half of all bike-to-vehicle collisions are due to various cyclist behaviors, such as disobeying a sign or traffic signal. The other half is caused by driver behaviors, such as inattention and distraction. It is important that everyone does their part to share the road and drive smart.
You can avoid a traffic ticket – and an accident – if you simply buckle up, drive at safe speeds, be careful, and always drive sober. Help us drive Minnesota to zero deaths. If you have any questions regarding laws or traffic issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Sgt. Troy Christianson – Minnesota State Patrol at 2900 48th Street NW, Rochester MN 55901-5848. (Or contact him at [email protected])