A Ton of News From the BAC Subcommittee

One of my outtakes from five months of attending the Encouragement Enforcement Education subcomittee (EEE) meetings is the incredible amount of bike advocacy events that are going on in Minneapolis and beyond. Seriously, make an effort to read this whole post:

Bikes and large vehicles don’t often collide, but when they do, 54 percent of the accidents result in fatalities. To help increase driver awareness of bicycles, the University of Minnesota is inviting employees and contracted commercial drivers to get trained on bicycle safety.

bus blind spot

Behind the big wheel

Part two of the training invites the public to sit in a school bus and semi-truck to get a sense of the blind spots. This will take place on Thursday April 26 at noon outside TCF Bank Stadium. Contact [email protected] if you have questions.

Driver feedback

It was stated that a common complaint from drivers who go through this training is: “if bikes are considered vehicles, why do they so often break the law?” The training (put on by certified League of American Bicyclists who advocate for “smart cycling”) respond by saying, “we’re also training cyclists, too,” which appears to address the complaint. The workshop will also cover MN state law and gives commercial drivers tips on careful passing of cyclists.

Speaking of training

  • Bicycle alliance of MN is putting on a Traffic Skills 101 training for cyclists this Saturday, April 28. Scholarships are available.

  • What about the police? There is training for officers on May 3-4 to further their awareness of bicycle and pedestrian enforcement practices.

  • The city of Minneapolis is offering three different classes for cyclists all summer: one for families, one for adults and one for 55+.

  • Bike/Walk also has classes on cycling respect and courtesy, and there is preliminary discussion of a “Don’t be that guy” poster campaign.

  • There are a bunch of upcoming events put on by Bike Walk Twin Cities.

38 ZAP stations planned

In February I learned about the locally produced ZAP program, where you adhere a small tracking device onto your bike, and when you ride next to a ZAP station, your device will record your presence and miles. You can then log on and view your miles, become eligible for prizes and someday (organizers hope) get discounts on your health insurance, like the gym membership discount. Here’s a fact sheet on the program.

The wrinkle in the rollout is that the ZAP stations are a bit heavy and bulky, so in order to install the devices, they need encroachment permits from the City of Minneapolis, and have had trouble securing them. The plan is to install 38 stations in both Minneapolis and St. Paul.

The committee then voted and passed a resolution in support of the encroachment permits, and will be heard at the full BAC council.

Responding to crime

The committee also discussed several of the recent local and national bicycle accident/incidents, and how these situations impact the public’s perception of bicycling. As an example, was the death on 35th and N Freemont a crime issue or a bicycle issue? Some on the committee attended the vigil, and one member commented how the crime shook one city council member’s confidence in bike storage facilities.

The committee discussed how to combat this perception, and discussed the complexities of the situation. One member mentioned the Greenway trailwatch group, that has been visible on the Greenway over the past three years.

From Albert Lea to Bemidji

Given the longer distances between home and work/school in rural areas, it is great when our outstate Minnesota friends get behind bicycles. Nick from Bicycle Alliance of MN shared how their organization is engaging greater Minnesota, including the upcoming events around the state.

This includes Bike to School day on May 9 and locally, a bike rodeo at Hale School in Minneapolis on May 12.

Final nuggets

  • Twin Cities Bike Walk Week is Jun 2-10. Lots of events that week.

  • May’s meeting should be interesting. Two guests will speak on the economic impact of cycling.

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