Tracy Eberly and his chihuahua chorus seem to think the death of a Minneapolis cycle commuter named Dennis Dumm should serve as a warning to clueless cyclists that what we are doing is dangerous and that we deserve what happens to us if we should be so stupid as to ride to work in a designated bike lane.
Believe me, we know there are people like that (Tracy) out there.
Tracy is being extremely stupid and insensitive, but I don't think he deserves to die for it.
Here's my story.
I was cycling into downtown Minneapolis on Glenwood Avenue one morning where the street passes over I-394 before it heads under the municipal parking ramps near Target Center. Glenwood is not a heavily traveled street in that area and is divided into separate one-way, two-lane overpasses heading east and west. Each intersection in that area is controlled by stop lights.
I was in a marked bike lane on the left side of the road when a semi passed me and started to drift quickly into my lane. On my left was a higher-than-normal curb. On my right were the semi-trailer's wheels closing fast. I was clipped into my pedals and had no quick bail-out to the left or right.
For a moment, I couldn't believe he was pulling into my lane. He could not turn left at the approaching intersection. Fortunately, I didn't think too long about how he was in the wrong and was able to stop just before his rear axle crushed me.
The driver was not being aggressive. He probably had no sense as he passed me how fast I was going. Maybe I was invisible to him. But he was the one operating unsafely and inattentively according to Minnesota law.
(3) the operator of a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle or individual proceeding in the same direction on the roadway shall leave a safe distance, but in no case less than three feet clearance, when passing the bicycle or individual and shall maintain clearance until safely past the overtaken bicycle or individual.
(d) Whenever a bicycle lane has been established on a roadway, any person operating a motor vehicle on such roadway shall not drive in the bicycle lane except to park where parking is permitted, to enter or leave the highway, or to prepare for a turn as provided in section 169.19, subdivision 1.
If I hadn't been more aware, I'd have been crushed and the subject of Tracy Eberly's derision.
I feel for the driver whose truck crushed the cyclist today, but based on my interpretation, it is his case that should serve as an example.
Subdivision 1. Turning at intersection. The driver of a vehicle intending to turn at an intersection shall do so as follows:
(g) Whenever it is necessary for the driver of a motor vehicle to cross a bicycle lane adjacent to the driver's lane of travel to make a turn, the driver shall drive the motor vehicle into the bicycle lane prior to making the turn, and shall make the turn, yielding the right-of-way to any vehicles approaching so close thereto as to constitute an immediate hazard.
If he'd followed the law, the cyclist would not be dead.
I invite Tracy to meet me personally and explain to me why I deserved to die.
Today was also the Ride of Silence around the country. Minneapolis organizers modified the route to pass by the location of the accident.