Coalition seeks additional safety measures for Minneapolis Greenway bikers

Molotov cocktail
Drew Ditlefsen said he was nearly hit with a homemade explosive on the Midtown Greenway Wednesday, April 3, 2013.
Photo courtesy Drew Ditlefsen

The Midtown Greenway Coalition is planning to meet with Minneapolis city officials next week to ask for safety improvements on the Greenway. Among the requests are the installation of fences on bridges over the Greenway, more lights on stairs and ramps, better-positioned Minneapolis Police Department surveillance cameras and larger street signs so people can more easily report the locations of incidents.

A bicyclist narrowly avoided being hit by a Molotov cocktail on the Greenway this week.

The Midtown Greenway Coalition also said that in addition to their Trail Watch safety patrol, it is considering hiring private security to patrol the route. Leaders stress that the Greenway is safe, despite some problems.

Other recent incidents listed on the Midway Greenway Coalition's website:

• Feb. 6, 2013: "Around 8:30 pm a male cyclist was attacked and robbed under the Chicago Ave bridge by four male suspects."

• Oct. 27, 2012: "At 12:30 a.m. a cyclist approached three men standing idle under the West Lake Street bridge on the far west side of the Greenway near the Chain of Lakes. When the cyclist got closer to the three men, one of them charged at her, hitting her in the head causing her to fall off her bike. The cyclist was knocked out and eventually got help from a passerby. She was not robbed and did not incur any major injury."

• June 25, 2012: "Reports that two groups of juveniles, one group of females and one group of males, were throwing rocks at bicyclists. One 17 year old male bicyclist stopped and was surrounded by a group of youth, then assaulted and robbed of an ipod."

• June 24, 2012: "A lone bicyclist was assaulted and robbed by at least two perpetrators. No further description. Victim refused medical treatment."

The latest incident on the Greenway came just a few days after Elyse Stern was struck by a car and killed on Lake Street in Minneapolis while riding her bike around 2 a.m. According to the criminal complaint, the driver appeared intoxicated. Police also said that Stern was not wearing a helmet and her bike did not have lights.

The most recent Minnesota Department of Public Safety statistics show that five bicyclists were killed in 2011, the lowest number since 2007. The number of bicyclists injured in accidents in 2011 increased slightly.

Steve Clark, Walking and Bicycling Program Manager for the nonprofit Transit for Livable Communities, joins The Daily Circuit to talk about bike safety and the unique hazards of urban biking.

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