A bill in the Minnesota Legislature would regulate bike lanes in cities like Minneapolis, St. Paul and Rochester – and cyclists are not happy about it.
Rep. Duane Quam, a Republican from Byron, is the lone author of HF 499, which was introduced Thursday. The bill would require that anyone who uses urban bike lanes have a permit. (Quam's home city is just outside of Rochester, and has a population of about 5,000.)
To get the required permit, you'd have to:
- Be 15 years old. (MPR News' Bob Collins points out that it's not clear where kids who are under 15 will ride their bikes when they're going to school.)
- Complete a bicycle safety education program and pass the exam.
- Register your bike with the commissioner of public safety. (The City of Minneapolis already offers this to help recover stolen bikes.)
- And pay a $5 fee.
In a statement on Facebook, the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota (BikeMN) said it's "shocked" by the bill and "absolutely rejects the discriminatory concepts of lane use permits, age requirements, mandatory examination, and fees."
"Biking and walking are basic rights that all Minnesotans share," BikeMN said, noting it plans to meet with Quam and the chair of the Transportation and Regional Governance Policy, where the bill was referred to.
The bill doesn't seem to have a ton of support, BikeMN and the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition said in their statements. It only has one author and there is no companion bill in the Senate.
"Yes, this is a royally stupid idea," the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition said of the bill on Facebook, adding: "This dumb bill is VERY unlikely to go anywhere ... We'll keep you posted if this actually is something to worry about in the future."
Instead, if you want to make an impact on bicycling in your community, the coalition suggests reaching out to your local city council member about proposed bike lanes in your area, some of which have gotten pushback.
More reaction to the bill
Many people took to Twitter and Facebook to show their opposition to the bill, arguing it would make traffic worse if people stopped using the bike lanes and rode in regular traffic lanes instead, give police another reason to pull people over, and penalize low-income communities.
Here's a sampling: