The Free Press, Mankato, MN


May 3, 2014

Our View: Biking shifts into high gear

Thumbs up to Minnesota ranking as a top bicycle-friendly state. This is the second year in a row the state has ranked second nationally in the ranking, according to the League of American Bicyclists.

Washington remains the top ranked state for the seventh year in a row.

Minneapolis is often lauded as a top city for bicycling, but those of us in greater Minnesota also know that the popularity of bicycling is increasing here. Not only are more people biking recreationally on our trail systems, but more people are using bikes as transportation.

Nearly half of Minnesotans rode a bicycle last year, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation 2012 Omnibus Transportation Survey.

Although its great to see the recognition, which will no doubt be a tourism draw, now is not the time to sit back on extra-thick gel saddles and relax. Groups such as the Greater Mankato Bike and Walk Advocates know there is much to be done to spread awareness about bicycling and improve conditions for it.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation will hold a Bicycle System Plan Workshop in Mankato from 4-6 p.m. Tuesday at the Blue Earth County Library. Among the session’s topics, the meeting will explore how MnDOT should prioritize biking improvements.

It’s the community’s chance to let the state know what can be done here to help retain that “bicycle-friendly” reputation.

Bad judgment by a rights group

Thumbs down to the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP, which had been so enthralled by Donald Sterling’s commitment to racial equality that it was about to bestow a second lifetime achievement award upon the disgraced owner of the Los Angeles Clippers.

The organization reversed its decision over the weekend after the release of a clandestine recording in which Sterling revealed a contempt for minorities profound enough that the NBA intends to revoke his ownership of the team.

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