5. Bicyclists do not have the right to impede traffic flow. This means they must generally bike as far to the right as if safe to serve their destination. This also means that two or more bicyclists traveling together may ride two abreast if it does not impede normal and reasonable traffic flow.
6. Bicyclists must obey all traffic control signs and signals, including stop signs and stop lights.
7. Bicyclists should use arms to signal turns and lane changes. It is OK to hold the right arm straight out to signal a right turn.
8. Bicyclists must use lights and reflectors at night and in dim light; a white headlight, and red flashing tail light.
9. On trails and bike paths that cross roadways, bicyclist should obey stop signs and other warning devices.
10. Bicyclists should generally avoid riding on sidewalks, and in many cities or parts of cities, it is, in fact, illegal for bikes to ride on sidewalks. Motorists need to understand this as well, as it is not uncommon in Mankato to hear a motorist shout “get on the sidewalk!” to a bicyclist. An exception, of course, is younger children traveling at low speeds. If it is necessary to use a sidewalk, a bicyclist should essentially act as a pedestrian.
As suggested above, children present a special case. Children should not be riding in motor vehicle traffic until they are ready to do so. Parents, guardians, and other adults can teach children traffic skills on quiet residential streets and gradually move to busier roadways. Motorists need to be especially alert around young bicyclists, who may be quite unpredictable. An unfortunate national trend indicated in one of the above-mentioned studies is that while bicycling rates are increasing overall, rates for children are declining. Hopefully we can buck this trend here in Mankato. Bicycling is a healthy activity that can provide children with a wonderful sense of independence.
To Mankato bicyclists — follow traffic laws and be predictable; respect motorists. To Mankato motorists — be patient with and respect bicyclists; give them space. To both – remember that bicyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of motor vehicles.
Lee Ganske is vice president of Greater Mankato Bike and Walk Advocates.