Is Bicycle Safety the issue or is it Vehicle Safety?

Before we go into a long diatribe about what ‘bicyclists’ should be doing to ride safely, I want to remind everyone who either drives a car or a bicycle or both, cars weigh a lot more then bicycles, like about 100x more. As a driver you must always be looking around you and aware of your surroundings, that is Driver’s ED 101, and it just doesn’t have to do with bicyclists, it has to do with pedestrians, wild animals and other vehicles.

In the latest incident where a teenage biker was drug 15 feet, there were probably many factors involved, but what concerned me the most about the accident is the age of the driver. First off, I don’t have a problem with elderly drivers, just BAD elderly drivers. I am also NOT saying they are driving badly on purpose, some of them lack the eyesight and hearing to drive safely. I suggested years ago that after an established age, that elderly drivers need to go in yearly to the DMV for AT least an eye and hearing exam, if not a full driving test. And in fairness, I would suggest that the testing be FREE to them for a five year period.

That being said, YES, bicyclists need to ride carefully. Trust me, most of the bicycle accidents I have been in the over 20 years I have rode in this town, have been self-inflicted because I WASN’T driving carefully, or riding on the sidewalk (which is extremely dangerous). Have I been hit by vehicles, yes a couple of times, but due to my very large mouth I was able to alert the driver before the incidents have escalated. I often tell fellow riders you must ride defensively a 100% of the time and should not be afraid to shout to alert drivers.

My advice for riding in Sioux Falls;

-Try to use the bike trail as much as possible for long commutes

-Try not to ride on the sidewalk unless you absolutely have to

-DO NOT ride on the sidewalk Downtown on Phillips Avenue, not only is it against city ordinance, it is extremely dangerous. I have almost been taken out a couple of times by cyclists while waiting on patio tables. The bump outs DT were created for pedestrian traffic, not bikes, skateboards and rollerblades. If you have to use the sidewalk with your bicycle DT, walk it.

-Lastly, try to ride in the road lane as much as possible


#1 Ol'Bubbleguts on 07.25.14 at 1:58 pm

Ahhh say Ahhh say,correct me if I
I am wrong.Those cut outs are required for the ADA.
Blind and handicapped access you see.

Drivers out here don’t look what they are doing no way no how.I almost pushed one clueless seniors car into the
frying pan and drove through their landscaping myself on Cleveland+10th this morning with my pickup.
I had the light on 10th EB making a U-turn to get to 229/Super 8 far right shoulder with not much time to do it in before the speeding WB10th
(50+ mph?really?)terrist’s did the same to me.
Some ensure sipping fool turned a right smack in front me.Would have served him right if I plowed him up
into there.Better outcome for all than a pack
of 15-20 tailgating sprinter cars hitting me at 50mph.
Think they must have looked up at the last moment heard my screeching tires and properly lead-footed it.
Good God!My Depends!

In Art and Labor,..
(funny you mention it a bicyclist scared jeebers out of me with that riding on the sidewalk thing the other day)

#2 Cyclist on 07.25.14 at 4:25 pm

I lived in the Twin Cities for over a decade and commuted to work by bike and rarely ever drove my car.

Sioux Falls seems like it’s not quite big enough for additional freeways yet there seems to be so pressure on streets like 41st and Minnesota where it would be relieved in a larger city. Everyone is in such a big damn hurry!

There are such a wide range of drivers in Sioux Falls from the obnoxious crazy drivers in a hurry and not paying attention to kids and street cruising. It’s somewhat like driving in Blaine Minnesota. Many in the cycling community avoid living in or riding in Blaine for fear of getting hit by a distracted driver or a redneck though they will live in other areas of the metro area.

I’d be uber defensive riding in SF and obviously avoid the busy streets but both riders and drivers are at fault. I hope law enforcement cracks down on speeding in SF. It’s bad when I’ve traveled there.

When I stopped at a local bike shop checking out the local scene they encouraged me to move to SF but where would I go for training rides for racing? Every road I see is heavily traveled and scary.

#3 rufusx on 07.25.14 at 9:32 pm

Driving a 10 ton delivery truck South from Eastside Menards. I’m in the left-turn lane approaching East Arrowhead. Soccer mom in a sedan comes barreling right AT ME – head-on – wrong side of the DOUBLE YELLOW LINE, looking to turn into Dunn Brothers coffee place. Stares at me like I’m somehow in the wrong – throwing up both hands (off the wheel mind you) in an exasperated expression. I point to the double yellow line and then eyes. Good thing I’m a professional driver and saw her coming so stopped before she could kill herself. LA driving is so much safer to dealing with all these small-town transplants.

#4 Cyclist on 07.26.14 at 6:30 am


Exactly! I really hope local law enforcement in Sioux Falls starts cracking down on drivers there. Small town transplants weaving thru traffic while speeding with not much of a margin for error like it was a video game on their way to work and some looked like young professionals to tailgating. It’s bad and it’s no wonder some of these cyclists or pedestrians are getting hit.

While riding my bike I try to make eye contact with drivers around me always trying to be aware and obey traffic laws such as stopping at stop signs. Cyclists please always wear helmets and wear them properly so they are snug and won’t shift if you go down. Some riders wear helmets so they rest on their heads like a hat which won’t do anything for protection. I’ve seen too many bad things happen.

#5 OldSlewFoot on 07.26.14 at 9:12 am

rufusx – The wrong side of the double yellow is so common in SF that many must think it is their right. East side 26th st McDonalds same thing by almost every westbound driver. A policeman could write 50 tickets there at lunch hour.

Outlaw hand held cell phone use in the city would be a good start for a safer city for bike riders and motorcyclists. Big fines would also help.

13 states have hand held bans state wide already.

#6 hornguy on 07.27.14 at 1:23 am

I’m on the other side of this from Cyclist – I live in St. Paul now. And I will say that for a vastly larger city, the manners and regard that drivers show for cyclists around here is worlds better than anything I ever experienced in Sioux Falls. I feel safer riding around here than I ever did in Sioux Falls. Just today I was out on a ride on the Gateway trail from St. Paul to Stillwater. Old railbed, lots of four-way blind crossings of residential streets where the views are obscured by trees in all directions. As I approached one from about 100 yards away I heard a car horn beep twice. No reason other than to make sure the cyclists knew he was approaching.

The only time anyone honked for me in Sioux Falls was to try bullying me over onto the curb. Cyclist and Rufus are dead on characterizing Sioux Falls drivers as small town transplants who have no idea what to do in traffic. When I saw the reports on these two accidents, my first thought was “man, I’d *never* ride on the sidewalk in Sioux Falls. Everyone there thinks the pedestrians are supposed to yield to the cars.”

It’s not just polite ignorance. There are a lot of drivers in Sioux Falls who are straight-up overtly hostile to cyclists on the road. They honk, they tailgate, they pass super close, they yell at you out the window.

And OldSlewFoot, it’s really not about banning a specific behavior. The things Sioux Falls drivers lack are situational intelligence and sound judgment. You can’t legislate stupid out of existence.

#7 Cyclist on 07.27.14 at 6:18 pm

hornguy I agree with what you wrote. I lived in Minneapolis but commuted by bike over to St. Paul but outside of work and rode all over the metro and when I drive my car to Sioux Falls for an errand I’m shocked at how bad the drivers are. It almost gives me an excuse just to go to the Twin Cities and skip Sioux Falls for shopping, pursuing interests or medical appointments and while I’m there see old friends. I feel safer driving there.

I hope the city government and law enforcement will help educated these drivers by various means if need be.

#8 LJL on 07.27.14 at 7:38 pm

I have a new little biker in my home. First them we talked about is “cars weight a 1000X more than you. Don’t trust any of them. Nver be in too big of a hurry you can’t stop for a car. You’re on an bike and you don’t have a right to the road”.

Around here cycling is a hobby, no matter what you or bike shorts LAzy Lalley prints. If you think your going to convert a couple 100 thousand drivers in this part of the world to start believing that you deserve a chunk of roadway, you might as well schedule your bike crash… Thats sounds harsh but I attempt to live closer to reality than the make believe utopia others have invented.

I stopped motorcycling years ago because I seen drivers were becoming less and less aware of their surrounding and care little for others well being. And you think you will be safe on a 40lb 20mph hunk of aluminum tubing. HA

Stay alive. Bicycle on side streets or bike paths and yield to all intersecting vehicles. Otherwise you’ll be really late for work when you’re wedged under a texting teenagers Taurus.