The following is a guest blog post by local bike attorney Dan Brazil of Brazil Law Group. Brazil Law Group is a sponsor of Twin Cities Bike to Work Day.
In September of 2017, Minneapolis committed to Vision Zero, an initiative to eliminate traffic fatalities and injuries by providing safer streets and infrastructure for all. While this initiative is still in its infancy, it's exciting to see the promising work Our Streets Minneapolis and other advocates are doing to ensure its success.
Living and Working in the Middle of Vision Zero's High Injury Network
The data collected for Vision Zero lays out the High Injury Network, a compilation of streets where crashes are more likely to result in severe injury or death. In Minneapolis, the majority of these streets fall in Uptown and include Franklin Avenue, Lake Street and Lyndale Avenue South. In fact, these streets are part of the 9% of streets where 70% of the severe and fatal crashes occurred between 2007 and 2016.
I work and live in the middle of the High Injury Network. My law firm is located on Lake Street, and I live only six blocks away. As an attorney, pedestrian and cyclist, I use these streets to travel and commute to the office on foot, bike and car.
My family also uses these streets. My son and his friends walk and ride their bikes to one another's homes, local coffee shops and libraries. Daily, during my commute, and as I wave goodbye to my son, I see things that cause me to worry about the safety of pedestrians and cyclists on our city streets. What happens if my wife, my son or one of his friends becomes the victim of a serious crash? One day, I hope to no longer fear the streets I have no choice but to use every day.
Continued Advocacy and Improvement Is the Answer
As an attorney, I see the carnage of traffic crashes each year. These cases are some of the worst tragedies I work on.
As someone who understands that there are often tow sides to every story, I realize that not everyone will view Vision Zero in a positive light, since these streets are long-time traffic corridors that are used daily. I support Vision Zero because the only answer to crash prevention is continued advocacy and infrastructure improvement, which the City of Minneapolis and partners such as Our Streets Minneapolis are working to provide.
Current Infrastructure Efforts
Local agencies are responding with infrastructure safety efforts. Recently, Hennepin County installed plastic posts called delineators at 25th and 27th Streets on intersections on Lyndale that don't have marked crosswalks. These delineators are intended to control traffic and left turns.
According to City of Minneapolis Public Works, a few new projects are in teh works for 2020 and 2021, including bicycle and pedestrian improvements in Whittier and on Queen Avenue North.
Together We Can Minimize the Effects of Crashes
These changes and others made thus far aren't enough to make city streets safer for all. Yet, together, we can help minimize the effects of crashes. For me, that means continually advocating on behalf of my clients who become victims of these crashes. Should you experience a bike crash, don't wait to reach out. An experienced pedestrian and bicycle injury attorney can help.
Attorney Daniel J. Brazil of Brazil Law Group is an experienced personal injury attorney with offices located in Uptown. He has a passion for the outdoors, especially cycling and climbing. Learn more about Dan and his practice by following him on Twitter (@LawDanielBrazil and #MplsBikeAttorney).