BAC 5E’s Discuss Bicycle Law Enforcement Issues

At 4pm on Thursday January 8, the Minneapolis Bicycle Advisory Committee's (BAC) Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, Equity, & Evaluation (5E's) Subcommittee held it's monthly meeting.

Bicycle Crash Analysis, Ginny Herman

Local bicycle advocate, Ginny Herman enlisted 5E’s advice and support to help improve the police response to road accidents and other incidents reported by bicyclists. She has been collecting statements and data from local bicyclists regarding this issue for over a year. She calls this The Bike Impact Statement Project.

Issues highlighted included:

  • Some local police remain unaware of bicyclists’ rights. Ginny reported that as recently as yesterday (Wednesday January 7th), bicyclists were still reporting being pulled over for riding in the street.

  • Cars are increasingly being used to intimidate and sometimes harm bicyclists. For example, in the past week a committee member (who was not present at the meeting) was intentionally hit by a car and suffered broken ribs and other injuries as a result.

  • Bicyclists are reluctant to report incidents with motorists to the police as they have found that after calling 911, if the police show up (which they frequently do not), they either say there is nothing they can do, or the bicyclist is found to be at fault.

5E’s agreed with Ginny that it would be nice to have a dialog with the police about these issues, and that it was necessary to build a repository of complaints to have some data to support their position.

5E’s suggested:

  • Bicyclists who have a complaint or want to report an accident should always contact 311. It was noted that 311 has a very high follow-up rate, and also keeps a record of all incidents reported to them — although calls have to fall into a particular "category" to be treated and catalogued the same way.

  • 5E’s would follow up with the Minneapolis Police Department as it was important to push from within the system to find out what can be done to change the culture of lack of understanding of each other, and lack of rules on both sides. As first step, they might ask the police’s 5E’s representative (who did not attend this month’s meeting) if he could help arrange a meeting to find out what happens with investigations into police complaints from bicyclists.

  • 5E’s could invite someone from 311 to a future meeting to find out and discuss how the data they collect is used.

  • BAC outreach might be able to include asking people to comment on bike experiences - both good and bad — in order to collect statements

All agreed that bicyclists need to work together to drive and support this change.

If would like to add your statement to the Bike Impact Statement Project, send it to Ginny at:


Introduction to Winter Maintenance - Priority Corridor Network Planning, Simon Blenski, Bicycle Planner, Minneapolis Public Works

As an unofficial, side project Simon Blenksi hopes to use any spare time he has over the next two months to pull together criteria for defining and prioritizing snow maintenance for on and off-street bikeways. 

Current snow maintenance procedures are defined in the City of Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s Bikeways Project Final Report which was last updated in October 2000.

Simon asked other 5E’s about the criteria they would like to see in a [snow maintenance prioritization] network.

5E’s suggested that network criteria should include: 

  • Consistency — connected routes should be maintained in a consistent manner. For example, the [Midtown] Greenway is clear, but on-off ramps, and connecting bike trails typically do not receive the same level of maintenance.

  • Connectivity — provide commuters with a route from point A to point B that makes sense. 

  • Consideration for situations (like downtown) where the bike lanes disappear during winter as snow is piled up near sidewalks, and cars park in bike lanes.

  • Accommodation for most bikes — not just Fat bikes or studded tires — without leaning towards the other extreme of road bikes unsuitable for winter riding.

It was also suggested that possible sources of information might be other bicycle cities with snowy winters. Closer to home, the UofM also has standards for snow clearance of bicycle routes.

As his research progresses, one of the ways Simon may collect data is to solicit feedback from the bicycle community via the City bicycle email subscriber list. You can sign up for this list at


Bicycle Friendly Community Application Strategy

Next, 5E’s discussed plans to resubmit the City of Minneapolis' application to the American League of Bicyclists ( so it can continue to be listed as a Bicycle Friendly Community℠. Minneapolis is currently ranked as a Gold Level Bicycle Friendly Community (Source:

The last application was submitted in 2010. Applications must be resubmitted every 4-5 years. The deadline for resubmission for Minneapolis is July 2015.

5E’s brainstormed ways to get an early start on fulfilling the requirements listed in the application, and identified [bicycle] law enforcement as probable "low hanging fruit".

Additionally, it was agreed that it would be a good idea to locate the 2010 application, and use that as a starting point.

There was some question around whether it was a good idea to start the resubmission process before having a Bike Coordinator in place (unresolved).

In the end, the discussion was tabled with Nick Mason (from volunteering to set up a meeting with Simon Blenski and the League of American Bicyclists to find out how to move forward. 



  • A new Zap map is currently in the works. Advertising opportunities are available. Contact John Barobs ( or Bill Andre ( for more details.

  • Shawn Carriere, the TMO representative to the BAC, announced that she recently opened a discussion with Ethan Fawley about the possibility of starting work on an Open Streets in downtown.


Other Business

Nick Mason ( raised a motion to support the City of Minneapolis' bid to host the Winter Cycling Congress in 2016. The motion passed unanimously.

  • The Winter Cycling Congress began last year -- the first one was held in Winnepeg, Canada. This year the Congress will be held in the Netherlands.

  • The deadline for applications to host next year’s Congress is Spring 2015. will be submitting the City’s application.

  • You can find more information about the 2015 Winter Cycling Congress at For more general information, go to the Winter Cycling Federation’s website at  


Future BAE 5E's Subcommittee Meetings

The BAC 5E's Subcommittee meets on the second Thursday of the month in the US Bank Plaza Building Commuter Connection Office 220 6th St S, Suite 230 - Skyway level. Meetings start at 4pm.

The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, February 12. All members of the community are invited to attend.

For more information about the 5E’s Subcommittee, visit their website at or contact the subcommittee secretary Simon Blenski at or 612-616-7345. 

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