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Letter: Thanks for new bicycle laws

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Bicycle riders owe thanks to Minnesota Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Joe Gimse, R-Willmar, for supporting the following laws that became effective Aug. 1.

n Authorization and funding to complete the Mississippi River Trail as our first state bikeway.

n Allowing use of studded tires and a flashing white headlight on a bicycle.

n Allowing low-speed, electric-assisted bicycles on trails and streets without meeting most motorcycle requirements.

n Reauthorization of Minnesota's Statewide Health Improvement Program, which includes projects to increase physical activity and decrease health care costs, including funds to promote and facilitate bicycling for both children and adults.

As a cyclist, I urge the committee to work for the following additional improvements to bicycling in Minnesota.

A state "Safe Routes to School" program, was created in 2012 but not funded, to increase physical activity among school children and decrease transportation costs.

In each funding cycle MnDOT has received millions more dollars in grant requests than it can fund -- five to 10 times the funding available. BikeMN, American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society and other groups support this funding for school districts and local governments.

A Vulnerable User Law was drafted but never introduced in 2012, increasing penalties for careless driving fatalities and bridging the wide gap between misdemeanor careless driving and the criminal vehicular homicide felony. It would have helped protect bicyclists, pedestrians, those using personal mobility devices, highway workers, people riding animals, motorcyclists and others not protected by the physical confines of a motor vehicle.

Steve Marquardt

Lake Lillian

Bicycle riders owe thanks to Minnesota Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Joe Gimse, R-Willmar, for supporting the following laws that became effective Aug. 1.

- Authorization and funding to complete the Mississippi River Trail as our first state bikeway.

- Allowing use of studded tires and a flashing white headlight on a bicycle.

- Allowing low-speed, electric-assisted bicycles on trails and streets without meeting most motorcycle requirements.

- Reauthorization of Minnesota's Statewide Health Improvement Program, which includes projects to increase physical activity and decrease health care costs, including funds to promote and facilitate bicycling for both children and adults.

As a cyclist, I urge the committee to work for the following additional improvements to bicycling in Minnesota.

A state "Safe Routes to School" program, was created in 2012 but not funded, to increase physical activity among school children and decrease transportation costs.

In each funding cycle MnDOT has received millions more dollars in grant requests than it can fund -- five to 10 times the funding available. BikeMN, American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society and other groups support this funding for school districts and local governments.

A Vulnerable User Law was drafted but never introduced in 2012, increasing penalties for careless driving fatalities and bridging the wide gap between misdemeanor careless driving and the criminal vehicular homicide felony. It would have helped protect bicyclists, pedestrians, those using personal mobility devices, highway workers, people riding animals, motorcyclists and others not protected by the physical confines of a motor vehicle.

Steve Marquardt

Lake Lillian

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