I thank you councilors for taking the time to consider changes to our local bicycle laws.
I am Michael Christensen a League Cycling Instructor certified by the League of American Bicyclists to teach their Smart Cycling curriculum. I also served on the committee that offered cyclist revised law input to Sam and the planning department. I will introduce myself further at the second reading council meeting.
I’m going to send you a series of short e-mails this week to address some of what I heard at the informational meeting tonight. Short. I promise.
On the matter of sidewalk riding: councilors please - as we work through this process do not damage in the public eye, those of us who do legally and responsibly ride our bicycles on the roadways. Personally held opinions that sidewalk riding is safe riding are one thing, the same publically stated opinions reveal undereducated thoughts from governing decision makers.
I teach cycling safety. I teach the safest way to sidewalk ride is pedestrian speed. I teach stopping at every intersection is what South Dakota law requires of sidewalk riding.
I teach people that want to cycle meaningfully, that want to really go somewhere, they must operate their bicycle within the law on the roadway as a legal vehicle.
The predictability from riders that Councilor Anderson craves is found with 100 years of traffic engineering on the road with bicycles as vehicles. These revised laws will help citizens understand this. Your traffic engineer supports these revisions.
Helpful internet reading:
South Dakota Department of Public Safety 10 Smart Routes to Bicycle Safety - http://dps.sd.gov/enforcement/highway_safety/images/10routes.pdf - never mentions sidewalk riding as a safety feature.
Safety page of twin cities public bike sharing: https://www.niceridemn.org/safety/ - “don’t ride on the sidewalk”
The 130 year old League of American Bicyclists “rules of the road” page: http://www.bikeleague.org/resources/better/roadrules.php - “be conspicuous...don’t ride on sidewalks.”