Bikers Beware: Drive Defensively in Minnesota

 In Personal Injury

Bike Accidents in Minnesota

If I could tell you anything in two short words about biking in Minnesota after helping numerous injured bikers who have been injured by no fault of their own, here is what I’d say to them: “Ride defensively”.

This is the best advice that I (or your mother) can give to any bicyclist or bike commuter who ventures out into the streets of Minneapolis and/or St. Paul, especially with the winter months and more dangerous driving conditions approaching.

Bike safety seems like something that an attorney would probably write about, but actually the Star Tribune had a feature article on driving your bike defensively in early June of this year and Nice Ride Minnesota has started a two year project to donate over 10,000 bike helmets to the community at large to promote safety.

As an attorney, I cannot help myself when it comes to advising people to be on their guard when they hop on a bike on our busy city streets.  As a fellow biker and outdoor enthusiast, I know what I am talking about when I say that defensive riding and wearing a helmet is your best defense.

Between Minneapolis and St. Paul have 84miles of dedicated bike trails and 44 miles of dedicated bike lanes on the streets. This gives riders a lot of real estate to commute on and enjoy without encountering as many hazards on the open streets where anything goes.  And despite the fact that the Twin Cities boast one of the best bike friendly cities in the country, everything changes when you turn on to a busy street.

When you get on a busy street like Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis, or Marshall Street in St. Paul, bikers are fully exposed and often have a limited ability to evade a motor vehicle driven by a driver who is distracted by texting, talking on his phone, or the driver is intoxicated.  Also, riders that decide to go sans helmet are at far greater risk of suffering a head injury.  In fact, the decision to ride without a helmet puts you at even greater risk, since 33% of injured bikers are diagnosed with a traumatic head injury.  Head injuries often result in a permanent loss of physical function, speech, cognitive skills, and mobility.  Injuries such as these often can result in astronomical medical bills that can send families to the brink of bankruptcy.

Our office can help you, your friend, or family member overcome these types of hardships and work hard to get you a full monetary recovery, allowing you to provide for your family and get the proper medical care, and return to your life before the accident.

Here are some helpful safety tips that the Star Tribune’s
experts highlighted in its recent article:

  1. Make yourself visible (wear bright clothing during the day and a reflective vest and lights at night).
  2. Pretend that you’re invisible.  Assume drivers don’t see you.  Approach every encounter from the perspective that you will have to avoid the vehicle and not expecting the vehicle to avoid you.
  3. Signal your turns.
  4. Ride with traffic. Avoid darting in and out of traffic and quick moves.
  5. Leave your headphones at home.
  6. Learn the laws (i.e. some sidewalks are off limits)
  7. Always, always wear a helmet.

*Star Tribune June 10, 2012


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