Editorial: Watch out for bikes

Published 9:36 am Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Drivers must watch out for bikers when the weather is nice.

There were 963 car-on-bike crashes in Minnesota in 2011, with 917 cyclists injured — 595 of those cyclists were 24-years-old or younger at the time of his or her crash. Five people were killed as a result of car-on-bike collisions in 2011 as well.

Drivers need to know cyclists by law have the same rights as other vehicles on the road, which means cyclists are subject to the same rules and rights that cars have. Always make sure to pass a cyclist on the road with a reasonable distance between the car and bike. Watch for cyclists when turning and make sure, if you’re parked on a street, to check your mirrors before opening your car door.

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Albert Lea is positioning itself to become a hub of bicycle traffic over the next decade as state officials work to complete the Blazing Star Trail to Hayward and beyond and county officials look to turn an abandoned railroad corridor to Hartland into a bike trail. City officials last year embraced bike lanes on Front Street. Albert Lea presently has the added attraction of riding bikes around Fountain Lake.

Cycling is a growing means of transportation, not just in Albert Lea but across the United States. Given that, drivers should get used to seeing more bikers on the road and respecting their safety accordingly.