Is Minneapolis Bicycle-Backlash Free?

Photo by Flickr User Jeremiah Patterson

An interesting article caught our attention the other day over on the People for Bikes website.  National blogger and Minneapolis Resident Jay Walljasper laid out some lessons on becoming bike “backlash free” like we are in Minneapolis.  Does that give anyone else pause?

While we enjoy Mr. Walljasper’s columns, such as this one in the Huffington Post we aren’t quite sure that we are backlash free here in the Twin Cities. True, we aren’t experiencing the full-on, throw nails in bikes lanes backlash that cyclists in New York are, but that doesn’t mean we don’t experience our own bikes-aren’t-traffic rants from local columnists.  Mr. Walljasper also noted that everyone in the city cheered when Minneapolis was named the #1 bike city in the US, but that is probably more of an issue of bragging rights, no different from the number of people in the cities who all of a sudden became big fans of UMD hockey Saturday night.

We agree that we do have a friendly climate (attitude not weather) towards cyclists here in the Twin Cities, is this the result of our efforts, or should we be waiting for the cycling backlash to make its way here?

Readers, what do you think?  Are we backlash free here in Minneapolis?



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4 Responses to Is Minneapolis Bicycle-Backlash Free?

  1. Jean-Paul says:

    We are hardly free from backlash, if anything, the animosity is building on both sides of the subject. Motorist have no idea what the current laws for cyclist are and I dare say most cyclist don’t even know the correct rights and responsibilities. Daily, I have motorists shouting out the ever so friendly word ‘SIDEWALK’. What makes matters worse are the cyclist who actually ride on the sidewalk.
    Minneapolis loves to take all the federal money they can, but the bike lanes that have been placed downtown are counter-intuitive, confusing and blatently unsafe. Our city government is contemplating helmet laws, while ignoring that anyone with any level of road experience can rent a bike off the side of the road, with no helmet. Not to mention even a basic instruction of road signals or knowledge of proper right of way.
    Essentially I see it this way, until the folks on 2 wheels can ride with a general consistency and respect for those around them, and the basic law of the road…. Driver backlash will only get worse. The city needs to offer some basic instruction to everyone, drivers and cyclist both. I don’t want to go so far as to say we need licenses, but, maybe we need licenses.

  2. Elliot says:

    It is impossible to “backlash” free. All progress comes at a cost, and not everybody loves change, so forth. Kind of a cop out comment but yeah

  3. Jay Walljasper says:

    I did not mean to leave the impression that things are perfect for biking in Minneapolis. Obviously there is blowback anywhere when there are changes in the streets, which is a commons in which everyone feels an ownership stake. Some drivers want to keep things as they are, which is that most streets are for their exclusive use– bikes and pedestrians should get out of their way.

    And there is still considerable resistance from traffic engineers and other municipal officials about putting in 21st Century bike facilities. Change comes slowly.

    However I never did use the word “bikelash free”. I did use the word “everyone” to describe the popularity of biking, and I should have said “most people.”

    But I believe we have a good story to tell the rest of the country. Folks who biked here in the ’70s and ’80s remember just how brutal it was on the streets. We have come a long way. I want to celebrate that, but not leave the impression there is not room for improvement.

  4. domotion2011 says:

    Biking in Minneapolis or any other city in the US has it’s unique street situations. How we ride cannot be a disconnect with those situations. I agree that downtown presents messy situations even for the most experienced. The good news is the bypass on the north end of downtown should keep through riders safe and away from the masses of angry drivers. As the season gets into full swing there are going to be plenty of opportunity to exhibit tolerance for idiots both on bikes and in cars. Keep the faith.

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