Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Bicycling

Education

Resources for anyone looking to improve bicycle safety statewide.

Safety tips for bicycles and motorists

Bicycles

  • Follow the law - obey all traffic signs and signals. Ride in the same direction as traffic.
  • Be predictable - maintain a straight course and avoid weaving between parked cars.
  • Communicate your intent - look, yield to traffic and signal before turning or changing lanes.
  • Use extreme caution near commercial vehicles - pass only on the left and recognize drivers’ blind spots.
  • See and be seen - wear bright colors, reflective gear and use head and tail lights.
  • Protect yourself - wear a helmet.
  • Stick to roads and trails - sidewalk riding puts you at risk for crashes at driveways and intersections. Always yield to pedestrians.
  • Avoid distracted bicycling - put away mobile devices and headphones.

Motorists

  • Be patient when passing a bicyclist - slow down and pass only when it’s safe. Allow clearance of at least three feet.
  • Look before you merge - check mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes.
  • Be on the lookout - watch for and yield to bicyclists before making a turn.
  • Use extra caution around young bicyclists - children’s movements can be unpredictable.
  • Be respectful - don’t speed past a bicyclist to make an upcoming right turn. It’s easy to misjudge how fast bicyclists are traveling.
  • Exit your vehicle safely - look for bicyclists before opening your car door.
  • Think before you honk - honking may startle a bicyclist and cause a crash.
  • Stay alert and avoid distracted driving - put away mobile devices, food and makeup.

Bicycle crash facts

Minnesota bicycle fatalities and injuries

Bicycle crashes are reported to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety only if they involve collision with a motor vehicle. Therefore, this data only represents a portion of the total number of bicycle crashes.

  • Eighty-four percent of crashes occur at intersections.
  • Crashes most commonly occur during warm weather months between 3 to 6 p.m, in areas with posted speed limits between 30 and 35 m.p.h., and in urban areas with larger populations.
  • Bicyclists are at fault for about half of crashes, with motorists at fault for the other half (e.g., inattention, failure to yield, obscured vision, etc.)
  • In 2015, 10 bicyclists were killed on Minnesota roads. Of these, eight were males.
  • In 2015, 873 bicyclists were injured on Minnesota roads. Of these, 77 percent were males.
  • Over half of all bicycle-commercial vehicle crashes are due to distraction or bicyclists not being visible.
  • In 2015, persons under 25 years old accounted for 44 percent of bicyclist injuries.

National bicycle fatalities and injuries

The U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration put together Traffic Safety Facts based on data from 2014 (PDF).

Advocacy and education

  • Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota - seeks to increase the popularity of bicycling for fitness, recreation and transportation. The non-profit membership organization educates, promotes and implements events, advocates and provides technical assistance.
  • League of American Bicyclists - non-profit membership organization which promotes cycling for fun fitness and transportation through advocacy and education.
  • Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center - improves the quality of life in communities through the increase of safe walking and bicycling as a viable means of transportation and physical activity.
  • Pedal Minnesota - aims at making Minnesota the bike friendly state. A coalition of partners have come together to make sure that news of Minnesota’s bicycle culture is shared.
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration - responsible for keeping people safe on America’s roadways.

Safety campaigns and programs