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This new guide instructs MN cyclists how to bike properly, safely on state roads

The guide covers biking etiquette, laws and tips for a safer ride.
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Car drivers anger bikers, bikers anger car drivers, it's the circle of life – but a new guide is out that will help cyclists at least keep road rage to a minimum.

It's the work of Bike MN, the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota, who this week released the Minnesota Bicycling Handbook, providing a mixture of general and Minnesota-specific tips so that bikers can enjoy the state's roads and trails safely.

Among the topics covered is the ideal road positioning for cyclists on state roads and streets, where to position yourself when turning at intersections, what to do in the event of a crash, and how to ride near large, commercial vehicles.

It also covers Minnesota laws relating to bikers, such as which equipment is needed for night riding, and also includes a reminder that it's legal to ride two abreast on Minnesota roads but any more than that is not and could lead to a citation.

And for those planning on heading to a state park now that the weather has warmed up, there are etiquette guidelines for how to act when using the bike trails.

According to the Pioneer Press, the Bicycle Alliance has printed 20,000 copies of the handbook that will be distributed around the state, with Bike MN director Dorian Grilley saying the past year has shown that both motorists and bicyclists need more education about how to share roads and trails safely.

"2016 was a challenging year for motor vehicle and bicycle crashes, and that really pushed us make this new resource available for free to all Minnesotans,” Grilley said.

You can download a free copy of the handbook by clicking here – and here's a flavor of some of the content.

Bike crash statistics in MN

According to the latest MnDOT figures, which are for 2015, there were 898 bicyclist crashes on state roads, a 16 percent rise over the year before.

Fatalities also doubled to 10 from 5, with all ten biker deaths occurring during the six-month warm weather period between April and October.

The main cause of the crashes was a failure to yield the right of way, which caused 364 crashes in 2015 – of which 241 were the fault of the motorist, and 123 the fault of the biker.

Failing to stop for a traffic device – such as a red light – caused 97 crashes, of which 73 were the fault of the biker.

And driver/rider inattention was another big contributor to injuries, though this was mainly caused by drivers distracted at the wheel.

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