Minneapolis has a well-designed plan to improve bicycle safety. Its bicycle crash statistics and infrastructure have earned the city a Gold Award for bike-friendliness from the League of American Bicyclists.
But bicycle accidents in Minneapolis still happen. While Minneapolis works on implementing its ambitious plan to make cycling safer, nearly 100 bicyclists get injured and killed in accidents every year.
Minneapolis Bicycle Crash Stats
Minneapolis had 119 bicycle crashes in 2022, according to a query on the MN Crash Statistics website. However, the City of Minneapolis is primarily urban and does not include many of the suburbs around the larger metropolitan area. Looking at all of Hennepin County provides a more complete picture of bicycle safety in Minneapolis.
Hennepin County had 199 bicycle crashes in 2022. Unlike car accidents, which generally happen on weekends, bike collisions are most likely during the work week. Nearly 67% of bike crashes happen on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday.
The most dangerous time to ride a bicycle in the Minneapolis metro area is during the afternoon commute. Bike crashes peak between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. and remain at a fairly high level until about 7 p.m. According to the MN Crash Statistics page, about 25% of the area’s bicycle crashes happen during just two hours: from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Bicycle accident frequency varies during the year due to the harsh winter weather in Minneapolis. Most bicycle accidents happen during the summer and early fall, with nearly 69% of crashes occurring in June, July, August, and September.
Bicyclist Injuries and Fatalities in Minneapolis, MN
- 35 serious injuries requiring an ambulance
- 92 minor injuries that were visible but did not require an ambulance
- 56 possible injuries that caused pain or symptoms but without any visible injury
In a collision with a car, a bicycle provides no protection for its rider. According to the numbers reported on MN Crash Statistics, bicycle accidents in 2022 in the Minneapolis metro area had an 88% injury rate. This means that if you had a bike accident in Minneapolis that year, you had an 88% chance of suffering an injury.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents in Minneapolis, MN
Bicycles require balance and skill to ride safely. In a collision with a car, a cyclist can easily lose control of their bike and crash. Even a minor bump can have catastrophic results if the bicyclist swerves into oncoming traffic or gets pushed off the road.
Some common causes of bicycle accidents include the following:
Failure To Yield the Right of Way
- Not seeing the bicycle
- Trying to beat the slower-moving cyclist
- Refusing to yield to a non-motorized vehicle
When a vehicle proceeds before the bicyclist clears an intersection, its driver can injure or kill the cyclist.
Unsafe Lane Change
Drivers in Minneapolis can lose bicycles in their blind spots. If a driver loses track of their surroundings or fails to check their blind spot before changing lanes, they can hit a cyclist before even realizing they were next to one.
When two cars sideswipe each other, they may damage each other but will probably only cause minor injuries. When a car sideswipes a bicycle, the cyclist can tip over or run off the road. They could suffer serious head, arm, or leg injuries when they hit the ground.
Speeding drivers have less time to react to cyclists. Speeding also increases the crash energy when the car collides with a bike. As a result, speeding increases the risk of a collision as well as the severity of the resulting bicycle injuries.
Bicycle Infrastructure in Minneapolis, MN
- Hennepin Avenue
- Portland Avenue
- Park Avenue
- 3rd Street
- 4th Street
These bikeways will improve access to Downtown Minneapolis from the surrounding suburbs.
- Trails for pedestrians and bicycles that prohibit motorized traffic
- Protected bikeways that use barriers to separate cars from bicycles
- Greenways that limit or remove vehicle traffic from residential streets
Light rail and Northstar trains also allow bicycles. Light rail trains have vertical bike racks to hold up to two bikes per train car. Northstar trains have straps to hold your bicycle on the lower level of the train car. If a train car does not have space for your bike, you must pick another train car or wait for the next train.
The Future of Bicycle Safety in Minneapolis, MN
If Minneapolis implements its bike master plan, many of the city’s most-used roads will have bicycle facilities. This will improve bike safety and provide commuters with safe bicycle routes to work or school. This, in turn, could encourage more riders to switch from cars to bikes.
When cyclists shift their mode of transportation, they need to prepare. When you plan a ride, choose a route that runs primarily or exclusively along bikeways. And always wear a helmet when riding. With just a bit of preparation, you can ride your bicycle safely in Minneapolis.