COMMUNITY VOICES | Making Minnehaha safe for biking

I am writing in response to the TC Daily Planet’s recent article by Rebekah Peterson concerning the debate surrounding Minnehaha Ave cycle tracks.  After carefully reviewing the scientific literature I’m afraid Hennepin County’s claim that in-the-street bicycle lanes are a safer alternative than cycle tracks has little merit. Studies comparing the relative safety of cycle tracks versus in-the-street bicycle lanes have found cycle tracks to be the safer option by statistically significant margins.  In fact the most recent data suggest cycle tracks have less than 1/6th the risk when compared to in-the-street bike lanes (Teschke, et. al. 2012).   Furthermore, cycle tracks are particularly effective at eliminating midblock accidents such as riding into a car door and being hit from behind, the latter having the highest fatality rate of all cycling injuries (Thomas and DeRobertis, 2013).Cycle tracks also increase rideshare while bike lanes do not.  A recent study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health found a 250% increase in ridership when compared to in-the-street bicycle lanes.  This is important as increased ridership results in real safety benefits, as shown by Jacobson (2003), not to mention the associated societal health gains.  Ridership rates are also an important consideration when contemplating the local economic benefits safe bicycling infrastructure provides.  These benefits are one reason the City of Chicago is currently constructing more than 100 miles of urban cycle tracks. Related stories:Minnehaha Avenue: Residents speak up at Hennepin County public input meetings (Rebekah Peterson, 2013)Minnehaha Avenue reconstruction: Details from Hennepin County public input meetings(Rebekah Peterson, 2013)Minneapolis: Minnehaha Ave reconstruction delayed (Rebekah Peterson, 2013)Minnehaha Avenue reconstruction: What we know, what we don’t know (Rebekah Peterson, 2013)Where’s the space for community input on Minnehaha Avenue reconstruction? Continue Reading