Where to Ride
The Twin Cities metropolitan area is home to some of the best urban biking in the country. In fact, a number of studies have placed the Twin Cities second (behind Portland, OR) in the country as far as bike able community.
Minneapolis has 40 miles of dedicated bicycle lanes along Minneapolis streets and 82 miles of off-street bicycle paths. Minneapolis biking is about to experience a bikeway building boom, particularly during the 2009 and 2010 construction seasons. 45 miles of bikeways have been funded for construction. That’s a 37% increase in miles over the current 123-mile total.
The City of Minneapolis web site contains links for maps to help you know where to ride around the metropolitan area. You can also provide comment on the new Minneapolis bicycle map, which is currently under development.
Bicyclists must follow the same rules and laws that cars do. Despite all the recent news to the contrary, according to Minneapolis statistics, it is actually safer to ride on the street than any other period in recent time.
Biking safety is important and easy to do. The following tips can be easily followed:
- Wear a helmet. Purchase a helmet at a bike store and ask for assistance in fitting. Besides protecting you from head injuries, a helmet also helps make a biker more visible.
- Get your bike checked out and tuned up if it has been awhile since you have ridden it.
- Bicyclists can legally ride on sidewalks, but studies have shown that street riding is safer.
- Follow the rules of the road. A bicycle is a vehicle and should follow all the rules. Stop at all stop signs and lights.
- Do not ride after dark unless you have lights on both the front and back of your bike and wear reflective clothing.
- Pay attention to traffic around you. Realize that a biker may be difficult to see.
- Use your ears. You can often tell if a car driver sees you by the pitch of the tires and engine.
Many people and their employers are discovering the benefits of leaving their care behind and biking to work. There are obvious advantages to this form of transportation – save money on gas, parking, and wear and tear on one’s car, exercise, etc. In many cases, biking can be as fast or faster if your route is highly congested. Plus, it is a lot more fun!
Metro transit has many resources to help people in their biking commute. Their website (click here) has all kinds of ways to make this easier. Metro transit also has resources for people who bike to work daily, occasionally and anywhere in between. For example, all Metro Transit buses and trains have bike racks so you can pedal for part of your trip and ride for the rest. Some of the locations have bike lockers for rent for the safe storage of your bike while at work. Plus, if you ride your bike three times a week or more, you’re eligible for a Guaranteed Ride Home. This free program makes sure cyclists can get home in an emergency.