Minneapolis is continuously listed as one of the most bike-friendly cities in America, but what does that mean in terms of trails and accessibility? We'll look at some of the rules of the road, and answer questions on the best ways to stay safe on your bike this summer.
Steve Clark, bicycling and walking manager for Transit for Livable Communities, will join The Daily Circuit Thursday to take your questions. Mike Magnuson, contributing writer with Bicycling magazine, will also join the discussion.
I often hear car drivers complain that bicyclists break the laws.
I'm sure they sometimes do.
My bicycle commute takes me the length of Summit Ave. and a day doesn't pass that a car crossing the perpendicular to Summit doesn't run a red light across Summit. The difference is that if I don't yield to that red-light runner, I will be dead.
EVERYONE must follow the rules of the road.
*Every* time I ride on Hennepin downtown, I see cars going straight for several blocks in the "Bikes, Buses, and Right Turns" lane. I'd come to DT bars and shops more often if the streets were safer for cyclists.
As a cyclist I'm making a real effort to obey the rules of the road, however I slow but do not stop at stop signs (as opposed to lights) if there is no other traffic at the intersection.
I feel like that's reasonable. As our numbers grow, us folks on bikes need to do a better job of being traffic. We're not outlaws anymore. That said, I have no time for any driver who attempts to "teach a lesson" with their car. That's pure stupidity.
I also would love to hear about particularly dangerous spots for bikes.
One of my friends saw a bike-bike crash near Fort Snelling because of a blind spot on a bike path.
Are there roads or paths that you feel particularly safe on as a cyclist?
Drivers need to realize that there are bikers out there with all manner of experience and not all them know what they are doing. A guy that is riding his bike because he has 6 DWI's is probably not going to stop at every stop sign!
I promised in the blog that I'd be listening to learn how to drive my four wheels by your two, so here I am. I hope some will leave tips for my well intentioned, but bike-clueless suburban self. For instance, I can't tell when bike is trying to be in traffic or on the side. Some drive just off my front passenger edge of my Jeep and I don't know how to read where they're trying to be.
I ride my bike because of how aggressive, impatient and incompetent MN drivers are.
I ride expecting cars not to share the road with cyclists and this has worked to keep me safe so far.
Try following here.
Bike lanes tend to be on busy roads, but cars get way too close. So I find myself biking on quieter roads with less traffic.
I bike like vehicle drivers are homicidal and driver like cyclists are suicidal.
It's worked out well as both a cyclist and a driver.
I think I read (somewhere) a long time ago that cyclist can use "stop lights" as a "stop sign," is that accurate for the Twin Cities?
Bikers cannot be fundamentalists about their rights.
As a daily bike commuter, I see bicyclists break the laws throughout my ride from NE Mpls to Uptown. They are generally small things though, and drivers do the same small things. The difference is that a rolling stop by a car will potentially kill me. It's up to a biker to know this an be diligent and very aware. You're not going to care that you had the right of way if you're dead.
I've cycled in Mpls-StPaul for 15 years, and things are fairly harmonious.
We do, however, need everyone to follow the laws, and unfortunately, as the number of newbies on bicycles increases, the need for education grows.
Also, fixed gear riders do horrible PR for cyclists with their redlight running because they have no brakes. They need to be forced by municipal ordinance to have brakes. But overall, as long as law enforcement treats all parties equally and protects cyclists from road-ragers in automobiles, things should be fine.
Jose, if it's a triggered light that you've been sitting at for an "excessive" amount of time, you can go thru if safe. But no, you can't just treat it as a stop sign.
The #1 rule of biking AND driving is to LOOK
Why to some cyclists insist on biking on the road when there is a bike trail running parallel to the road? Are there any laws covering this?
Ed note: Joey has an answer for you from our blog:
"Cyclists ride on the road because it is the safest place to ride. Riding on a trail adjacent to a major road results in about twice as many accidents per mile traveled. That may seem strange, since it feels like there aren't cars on the trail, but most of those trails actually cross a lot of roads, and when they get to the intersection cars aren't expecting cyclists to come darting out. "
Yesterday, I saw 2 cyclists riding against traffic on Franklin Ave. Attention all bike-salmon: stop it! Ride on the right!
Norsk, a bike is a vehicle that has a right to the road. But if there's a bike path, or a street a block over that has a bike lane, I'd rather ride there.
@Stephanie Curtis, MPR News Hennepin ave is very dangerous.
Drivers don't pay attention to the bike lane. It's poorly marked and anyone downtown for the first time during a Twins game generally doesn't know where they are going, much less what the vast methods of marking the bike lane mean.
I still find the amount of obnoxious bikers scary - they're a danger to pedestrians riding on sidewalks, and a danger to drivers disregarding all traffic rules.
I bike and am shocked at how many bad ones we almost hit regularly.
I heard some States allow bikers to run through 4 or 3 way stop signs if there are not any cars present. We should adopt that law here.
I commute via bike year round.
I have been hit by a car when I had the right of way but was more aggressive that I should have been. I wear very bright clothing and though I was very visible until I was driving my motorized vehicle one day and did not see someone wearing the same clothing.
We are hard to see and need to assume no one has seen us.
I've ridden on the Greenway for two solid years, and I've never seen any cyclist-on-pedestrian or cyclist-on-cyclist hate.
I bike to & from work nearly every day through downtown Minneapolis. I see far too many cyclists ignore traffic laws.
Yes, it may be safe for you at that time, but you represent all cyclists when you're on the road. It says to drivers that you (and by extension all cyclists) are above the law.
Want to be respected on the road?
Follow the same laws as your fellow vehicles.
My scary situation: cyclists that pass cars on the right in the right turn lane (and go straight). How do we educate them to use common sense?
What the percentage of women bikers in Minneapolis?
I would believe the percent of women bikers would be an indicator of bike safety. For instance, I have read in other countries (i.e., The Netherlands) 55% of bikers are women.
20 years ago, I was crossing a bike lane on campus on foot (about a four-step distance) and got hit by a cyclist.
Blew out my ACL and required surgery. And I've been scared lots of times since then when hiking on combo pedestrian/cyclist paths, even though I try to always walk on the right.
Cyclists scare me like cars scare cyclists.
I firmly believe in giving the bigger, larger, faster motor traffic benefit of the doubt. If we collide, no matter who is at fault, I lose.
Speaking to sharing the Greenway or lakes with pedestrians, staying in the appropriate lane is a safety issue. Pedistrians are often walking or running on the bike path which is dangerous, stupid and irritating.
Hear, hear, conigs!
The bike path speed limit is 10 mph. It's great for a casual ride, but baby strollers and kids on bikes can be a real hazard for anyone going at any meaningful speed and vice versa.
To the caller: River road limit is 25mph. Serious cyclists can go about that fast. Motorists don't have the right to speed.
Are there any good, safe roads/routes through downtown MPLS from south? I ride up 1st/Marquette Ave and it never quite feels that safe.
I've seen some ugly confrontations between racing bikes and people just "taking up space" on the Stone Arch Bridge - an especially dangerous place to bike fast, given its attractiveness to tourists, peds, etc.
bicyclists should announce "passing on your left" when overtaking pedestrians AND other cyclists
I have noticed, as I commute more, that it is faster to ride on the street with traffic, than on a sidewalk or trail. And often, the road is a bit smoother than the trail.
I use the trails quite a bit, but will creep out in traffic if it is light.
@lindsay You're right Lindsay. Steve says that when there are more women, biking is safer overall.
re: w. river rd. The bike paths along the Grand Rounds are difficult to navigate due to the high volume of pedestrians that expand into the bike path. That occasionally gets combined with slower riders that ride across both bike lanes which blocks passing and a kills the natural flow of traffic on the bike paths.
Maybe the bikeshops should host or require bike education classes when they sell to new bikers?
Also, maybe Driver's Ed classes should have a lesson on how to share the road.
Many paths, especially around the lakes have conflicting messages, and pedestrians get confused.
Serious bikers should give pedestrians the benefit of the doubt.
I've been a victim of "bullying" by cars, which has forced me to ride more paths such as the Greenway and now I've heard of some daytime attacks on there.
Any thoughts or comments?
As a biker, on a daily basis, I am nearly struck by fellow bicyclists who pass me on either the right or left and never announce themselves.
I expect this from kids and amateurs, but serious bikers should know better.
Please announce yourself when passing. A simple "On your left" will suffice.
As I asked a question in regards to bike paths I would like to add a comment.
As a walker, I get very frustrated by people who walk on the bike path.
I am a biker myself but I get so frustrated by the lycra clad speed racers who bike around the lakes ON THE PATH going 20 miles an hour who swear and even swerve towards walkers.
They should be ticketed for this behavior. There are young bikers and people with strollers on this path. These guys need to bike on the road at this speed.
@conigs the only really safe way through DT seems to be on the newer path that goes under Target Field. Nothing really though on the eastern side of DT though...
I recently moved to MPLS from Milwaukee. Everyone seems to be doing a far better job here.
With many schools banning biking to school, is there any formal bike safety education in public schools?
A fellow cyclist has twice been physically assaulted, seriously injured, and robbed on the Greenway in south Minneapolis in the last year.
Are the police increasing patrols on the Greenway to safeguard those who use it?
@conigs getting from DT to south is as easy is Bryant Ave (bike lane) but if you want all trails, take Nicollet to the Loring Greenway. Then from Loring across the bridge, past the sculpture gardens to Cedar Lake trail. Then from Cedar Lake you can take that south to the Midtown Greenway.
My only complaint is that when riding is that my fellow cyclists don't realize they also need to look behind as well. Say, on the Greenway, which has a wider path, riders will be in the center of the lane, which makes it difficult for riders to pass...Pedestrians and cyclists need to stay to the right...and like when in a vehicle, look behind before leaving your line.
When the Minneapolis Parkways were redesigned in the mid 1970's, the organized bicycle community (League of American Wheelmen etc.) opposed making the roadway narrower precisely because good bicyclists ride speeds that are too fast for the narrow bike sidewalks that were proposed.
Cyclists can also ride two wide within the law on any road.
I've seen cyclist run through red lights at intersections. I wonder if a cop would pull a cyclist over for doing that.
It's against the law for motorists, and i assumed bikes and drivers need to follow the same rules of the road.
Riding right of the white line often puts you among the trash and rubble there
I drive on River Rd at Minnehaha Park regularly and have often wondered why cyclists aren't using the bike paths more.
Now I understand the issue a bit better. However, it can be very frustrating when bikers are riding two or more across and the opportunity to pass safely doesn't arise because of traffic coming from the other direction.
Also, I've regularly seen cyclists ignoring road rules and doing their own thing. Glad the Twin Cities are considered great for bikers though.
should bicyclists obey vehicle traffic laws? i.e. stop signs, traffic lights, pedestrians?
I bike in the country and suburbs, and it seems like while it might be better for bikers in the city, it's still a problem out here in the sticks.
I've had jerks in pickups scream to startle me into the ditch, no place to chain your bike, people looking at you like a crazed hippy for not being in an SUV. Any efforts to spread better bike culture to the frontiers?
I think the single best thing that could happen for sharing the road would be for all drivers to try riding a bike on the road.
Make it part of mandatory drivers education. I'm a biker and driver, and I know that how I drive is influenced by being a vulnerable roadway user.
The river road bike paths are in very poor shape.
I'd like to hear more talk about the fact that it is not absolutely necessary to pass a bicycle. Motorists should be considering slowing down and waiting rather than scooting by, especially in the rural situations described by the last caller.
I've noticed that the culture around Minneapolis has gotten a lot better since there are now more bikes than ever. If there are more bikers in the rural/suburban areas, then things would improve.
@Carol Are you in a big hurry on River Rd? The speed limit is 25... Perhaps you can find an alternate route?
Stephanie, I wish you could just follow me around all day. I sound way better when you edit my words, and then read them for me.
Tami makes a great point. Drivers need to remember that you don't have a right to pass immediately at any time.
Pass when it's safe. A couple seconds might mean someone's life, or at least make someone's day a lot better.
re:stop lights and stop signs... I often have cars wave me by even though they have the right of way. If I've already stopped for them, I get frustrated since it is so much easier for the car to accelerate.
I think what motorists mistake for "a feeling of owning the road" in thinking they are above it all is more a sense that YOU as a bike need to take YOUR safety in your own hands and biking defensively. I ride among cars in a manner that keeps me safest, even if it isn't strict to the law.
Having done a significant amount of driving and bicycling, I'd say both factions are guilty of rudeness and infractions. But remember the tombstone engraving: "Here lies Gideon Gray, he died defending his right of way." If you frequently try to make a left turn in the normal "legal" way, waiting with your left arm out and waiting for oncoming traffic to clear, you WILL eventually get clobbered from behind.
Young friend, not an experienced cyclist, was just hit by a right-turning car as she crossed from the sidewalk. Street seems busier, but far safer for visibility.
One place I often see cyclists run stop signs is where the east end of the Greenway crosses 22nd Ave. Cyclists have stop signs on the path both way!!!.
Often I see cars with no stop sign and supposed to have the right of way, waiting for all of the bike path users to blow through the intersection. This is so dangerous! If, as a cyclist, I stop there I feel I may cause an accident by trying to do what is right and getting run over by other cyclists. I need the rest of the cyclists to stop there, too. It is the law.
One thing that happens many times is drivers waving me through at a 4-way stop when they have the right of way; essentially overriding the basic rules of 4-way stops. I am on a bike, but I am not special, and I should not be treated as such...especially when other vehicles are present.
Ditto on a lot of fronts - River Road and burbs and women & safety in particular.
Also a quandry: why do parents put helmets on their kids when they don't wear them themselves?
I hope the kids know how to dial 911 when/if their parent goes down! Common sense goes out the door with some riders.
I've been a commuter since 1995, and I have never seen so many cyclist as this year.
Car drivers are much more tolerant than they used to be, but with more cyclists there appear to be more that feel that traffic signals are for someone else. I will be surprised if there aren't more bike accidents this year (including bike on bike -- paths are much more dangerous than the street).
Mike, Mankato was designated as Minnesota's 4th Bicycle Friendly Community joining Minneapolis, Rochester & St. Paul. So, things are getting better in Mankato.
Why are cyclists not fined for moving violations just like motorists?
I rarely see bikes stop at stop signs / lights. I used to walk on the River Road, and there was one particular Stop Sign that in the 5 years I walked there I never saw one cyclist stop at that stop sign!
@SuzanneSR It's actually illegal for cyclists to be on the sidewalk, except kids.
Why aren't we talking more about pedestrians? Have we become the country's most bike-friendly city at the expense of those on foot?
I just returned from a 10 mile ride in White Bear Lake. Riding in the bike lane on the right, I approached a moving van parked in the bike lane. I looked over my shoulder to see if a car was approaching before I attempted to pass the van. The car behind me stopped and waited for me to pass the van. I assume the driver was listening to the Daily Circuit!
Right of way should be one set of universal law of right of way yielding so NO one can argue it. Make it pedestrians first, bikes second, cars third and let there be no question
Cyclists are fined for moving violations. It depends on the city and police department. FYI, don't run a stop sign on a Three Rivers Park District trail!... or any place else for that matter.
@MNCruzn Are you referring to one of the three-way stops? If you're in a continuos bike lane on the curb side of a three-way ere really isn't a safety hazard for not stopping.
Three Rivers is the new name for Hennepin Parks
On the LRT trails in the western suburbs, the police have pulled over car drivers who have stopped for cyclists and told the drivers that they have the right-of-way at the trails and to not stop.
Many suburban communities are setting goals to be more bicycle friendly and apply for national designation as a Bicycle Friendly Community.
@Jason In Minneapolis at least, it is perfectly legal for bikes to be on sidewalks. This is uncommon, though.
I have heard stories of motorists in one lane waving the bike to cross, but cars in the next lane don't know this.
As a result bikers get hit by cars in the other lanes. I think motorists driving in multiple lanes need to be aware of this.
I called in, as a note, I was assertive in my lane when I was hit by a car as was the person I almost hit. I must say as a year round cyclist I have learned to assume I am not seen.
I wore very bright clothing and the first thing the person who hit me said "I can not believe I did not see you".
@MNCrunz I think it's because you are not required to have ID unless you are driving a vehicle. No ID means no reliable way to issue a citation. But I'd love it if street cycling for anyone over 18 required a state issued ID. (I say this as a both cyclist and typical anti-"papers please".)
Bicyclists need to use signals, both when they are on the street and when they are on dedicated bike paths. Communication with other cyclists and drivers is key.
I have noticed in the past few years that more cyclists are using lights on their bikes and clothing.
YAY! As a motorist, I'm pleased to see people riding, and I want them to be safe, but feel I need a little help from them - like putting lights on clothing and equipment and wearing helmets. My one remaining concern is cyclists who ride on the white line of the bike path.
I drive on St. Paul's Summit Avenue nearly every day - the road is wide and there is a good bike path, but I find many cyclists riding as far to the left (and even across the line) - as a motorist, I want to be sure that I give bikes as much space as possible so I wish they rode well within the bike lane...
It is only a matter of time before someone on a bike runs me down on one of our Woodbury paths.
This morning six unsupervised kids careened past me with inches to spare. Parents need to teach their kids to not only yield to peds but to alert them when approaching from behind.
Amazingly, even adult riders will fail to alert walkers at times - I have been narrowly missed while walking the dog because of the failure of a cyclist to alert me. When I ride, I find it easy to alert peds and slow down if the walker has a pet or small children in tow.
As a rule, people don't see things that are right, but rather those that are Important (a.k.a. as wrong).
Readers don't notice words that are spelled or punctuated correctly.
And road users don't notice people on bikes who DO follow traffic laws, because there's so much other important information to process. On my bike commute, I don't notice every car that gives me the right of way when it's mine, or passes at a safe distance. Sure there are drivers who run stop signs and and cyclists who run red lights -- but I think there's a 5% jerk rule. 5% of road users -- whether people riding bikes or drivers, act like jerks.
I'm seeing more bike vs. bike issues on the bike paths, esp. the Greenway--I think that people should be able to bike side-by-side if they don't hog the whole bike lane and allow for passing (moving over when someone wants to pass), but the serious cyclists are really speeding, sometimes in packs (also sometimes side-by-side), and make it dangerous for slower bikers to enjoy the bike paths.
To pass, they sometimes also yell in a very unpleasant way that sounds like, "I'm faster than you, so I'm more important on the bike path!" Also, in Mpls, the rule for riding on sidewalks is if the block is more than 50% residential, you can bike on the sidewalk--it's pretty hard to get around Uptown safely while riding in the street. Makes it hard to shop in Uptown via bike.
Motorists break the 3 ft law all the time but are sensitive only to violations that irk them, like bikers running stop signs. Minneapolis has too many stop signs: we need the Idaho roll, where it is legal for bikers to use Stop signs as a Yield sign--stop if there is traffic
Fargo ND also needs to realize that the bike routes they have set up are inherently dangerous since the allow parking on the same side of the road as the bike route.
I'm a recreational runner and sometimes bicyclist and do a lot of my running on the Gateway Trail which runs east from St. Paul to Pine Point.
I stay as far as I can over on the edge of the trail when I run and thanks to the cyclists who will say "on your left" or "passing" when they come up behind me. I always acknowledge them, but maybe one of of ten actually do that; the rest ride up behind me and then pass with about six inches to space to spare as if I'm taking up their space.
Why? All bikers seem to do it, regardless of their apparent level of involvement in the sport. Also, why do so many of the cyclists coming towards me behave as though the entire path belongs to them?
@Jason and conigs: it is legal to ride on sidewalks in Minneapolis EXCEPT in business districts.
The definition of business districts is unclear, except for downtown and a couple of other marked areas (like Dinkytown and Uptown). However, citations have been issued where it's less clear, like along Lake Street.
Are there any statistics (for MSP or other cities) that assess the volume of accidents involving a bicycle that occur during v. outside of "rush hour"?
I live and ride in rural Minnesota.
Sometimes (rural) roads are in poor condition, machinery, road debris, etc. that make it impossible to bike to the far right. These conditions are not apparent to most motorists. Their sometimes aggressive reaction (both physical and verbal) has really limited much of my outdoor riding to an indoor trainer even in great weather. I often don't feel safe, particularly since I am usually alone (and female). I can't be too defensive and I still get harassed. Eye contact seems to be a challenge to young men to yell obscenities and "beat me" to or through an area with their car/truck. :-(
@Janne Ambiguity is a big problem. If something is an exception, it should be clearly marked (e.g. Uptown).
Both cyclists and motorists contribute to crashes. Be aware-- worst month is July!
"Failure to yield the right of way was cited most often for both the bicyclists and other motor vehicle drivers. Failure to yield right of way was attributed to one out of three (30.1%) bicyclists and two out of five (41.2%) other drivers. For bicyclists, non-motorist error (a violation committed by the bicyclist separate from those listed), and disregard for traffic control device and were cited the next most often. Driver inattention or distraction was the second contributing factor cited most often for other drivers."
Another issue is cyclists who ride in the road with headphones on. You won't hear other cars well, and you won't hear me announce "on your left" as I pass you.
Not quite sure where this fits in the conversation, but as a daily commuter, I have given up on most of the "proper" directional signals and now use hand signals which give drivers a better idea of what I intend to do. Instead of an upwardly bent arm for a right turn, I just point in the right direction. In my experience, very few drivers know the proper signals and I would rather not risk getting hit by someone for doing the proper, though thoroughly baffling hand signal.
Sorry, updated 2011 data : AUgust had most number of crashes, 3-5 pm is most frequent time, and both cyclists and motorists contribute to crashes.
I have an unbroken record of riding in every month sine Feb 2001. I ride in rural Minnesota. Many of our roads have no pavement without the white line. The drivers that frighten me most are young men in pickups. The young man who told me that I wasn't allowed on a county road was in a car. I appreciated the comments on the problem of riders going the wrong way in traffic
Are cyclists and drivers doing a good sharing the road in MN?
When I was a kid in the 80's I thought wearing headphones while biking (like driving) was illegal. Is this accurate?
(Steve Harris says he thinks it is, indeed, illegal.)
I totally agree with abandoning the old hand signals and simply pointing instead in the direction you intend to turn. Removes confusion for everyone.
Maybe more frequent time as a topic on all media would make the concerns for all users of the road and paths more aware.
It's hard to navigate path/street choices when the trails are so heavily used by novice riders or tourists.
The Stone Arch Bridge and Greenway are great examples -- when they are full of people who aren't aware of the rules (they feel rule-free because they are car-free), they block lanes unthinkingly, walk in bike lanes, and make it hard to use for people who are going somewhere. What is the best way to ensure it's comfortable for newbie riders/users AND those who use it for transportation every day?
Please note, cyclists may not ride on a sidewalk in a business district or where posted. While a business district is precisely defined in state law , the layman’s definition is a city block which has more than half of its buildings occupied by businesses. View a map of the City’s commercially zoned districts (pdf) to see where businesses are located. In these areas, the lawful cyclist will walk his or her bike, or ride on the street. When riding on sidewalks, cyclists must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians. When necessary, cyclists should announce their presence to pedestrians on sidewalks, before passing. www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us
We should be using the german model of bike lanes located next to pedestrian lanes on widened sidewalks. no bikes in roads with cars. this system works so smoothly and safely in other countries.
This was a GREAT discussion.
Steve Clark was very clear in his answers and also very non-confrontational. Love to hear these kinds of discussions happen. I talk to my car-driving friends all the time about what my rights and responsibilities are as a cyclist and what theirs are as motorists. It doesn't have to be confrontational. We all need to keep talking.
Thanks for the discussion
I agree about Stone Arch--better markings are needed because pedestrians do not seem to realize that the middle of the bridge is for bikers (even when they are walking over the bike lane sign!)
@ck except that the people who park in these situations (like on 1st ave downtown) don't know how or where to park. You end up with cars parked in both the bike lane AND in metered spots, effectively making the bike lane totally unusable. It happens every hour of every day on 1st ave.
As a lifetime cyclist, i think there needs to be a distinction made between the "with vs against" traffic rule on the highway versus in the city.
I can't tell you how many times i've looked in my mirror on the highway and discovered a truck bearing down on me (sometimes a car/suv) being followed closely by a another car with it's right fender way over the right hand white line. A driver cannot see a cyclist under those conditions. highway riders would be infinitely safer facing highway traffic.
On approaching an intersection with left turn sensors; it's a common missconseption that the weight of the vehicle trips the sensor. The sensors sense the metal inductively. I ride or stop directly over the lines used during installation, as they are readially visible, stop at that point, and the light will change.
I waited for a biker before I pulled into a parking spot, only to have him race down the sidewalk at me and attempt to scare me and threaten to key my car. I told him that I saw him, I stopped and waited for him to see me. The reality was he was in lala land with his ipod - I waited for him to see me and to be sure it was safe for me to cross the bike lane to park on 9th ST. Stupid people that were in cars, also own bikes.
I bike daily and I work as a driver. I encounter bikers weaving in traffic, going where there are not supposed to be (or expected to be) - it's scary driving downtown because for number of biker's that do not follow rules of the road.
A huge way that sharing the road could be improved in MN is to institute a three feet passing law. It happens to me all the time that cars will pass me with virtually no warning and then they will leave less than even a 1 foot passing gap. Also more bike lanes are needed in residential neighborhoods because of the parked cars and they fact that many intersections are 4 way stops and if cyclists can only ride out in the middle of the road (usually due to parked cars) then all the car traffic behind the cyclist gets slowed down. Finally a major way that sharing the road could be improved is for us cyclists to work harder at following traffic laws and for motorists to better understand the rules of sharing the road. For example, most cyclists don't come to a complete stop at a stop sign because it takes alot of time and effort to get going again and that confuses motorists but that is what works for cyclists. Motorists and cyclists need to treat 4 way stops, well as 4 way stops. All too often I'll come to a 4 way stop and wait for a motorist who has the obvious right of way and the motorist will sit there and wait for me to go. In any case cyclists need to be allowed to treat stop signs more like yield signs.