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Editorial: Safe biking is a two-way street

A few weeks ago we wrote in this space about the benefits of making cities like Farmington and Rosemount friendlier to bikers. Encouraging people to bike around town rather than hop in the car every time they need to run an errand provides a natural form of exercise, and it allows people to better experience the city where they live.

But there's more to making the streets bicycle-friendly than striping bike lanes. It also takes some cooperation between bikers and drivers.

That much has been made especially clear recently. In just the last few months we have come in close contact with three incidents involving bikes and cars. One happened right outside our office. And while it appears only one of the accidents was serious --EMDASH-- a Tuesday accident you can read more about on our front page that ended in a 14-year-old getting airlifted to the hospital --EMDASH-- the others could easily have been worse.

There is no shortage of drivers who want bikers off of the roads. There is no shortage of bikers who get worked up as they defend their rights to be there. Tempers sometimes flare on both sides, and that is unfortunate.

We don't know the details of the first two incidents, but in the most recent it appears the biker was largely at fault. He crossed Highway 3 against the light.

This isn't about finding fault, though. There are incidents where bikers are to blame. There incidents where drivers are at fault.

This is about recognizing that bikes --EMDASH-- and other non-motorized forms of transportation --EMDASH-- are becoming more common all of the time on our city streets. It's about realizing that making a city truly bike friendly requires more than infrastructure. It requires an understanding between biker and driver. That people on two wheels will stay safe and drivers in their cars will pay attention.

If everybody works together, these cities can truly be good places to bike.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

(651) 460-6606