Motorists and bicyclists are often reminded to share the road, but one guy took that to an extreme during Wednesday’s morning rush hour.
Just after 6 a.m. Minnesota Department of Transportation traffic cameras captured video of a bicyclist riding along at a leisurely pace in the right and center lanes of westbound Interstate 694, while motorists braked and swerved around him. At one point, the man was nearly struck by a tanker truck.
A state trooper caught up to him in the vicinity of 5th Avenue and Long Lake Road in New Brighton.
Bicyclists and nonmotorized vehicles are prohibited from traveling on freeways, and cases of bicyclists using freeways are rare. Nevertheless, the State Patrol had to shoo two cyclists off metro freeways on consecutive mornings in June.
Sometimes people do it because they don’t have a driver’s license because of a DWI or they are drunk at the time, said Lt. Tiffani Nielson of the State Patrol. Sometimes, they see it as the fastest way to get to work, she said.
In this case, “he was just a nice guy out riding his bike,” Nielson said. “He just didn’t know, but he should not have been there.”
The State Patrol did not identify the man, but said he was in his late 50s and from Minneapolis.
Nielson said the bicyclist told the trooper that he was in the traffic lanes because the shoulder was too narrow to ride on.
In most cases, lawbreaking cyclists are given a warning, but the patrol can issue a ticket. The fine can run from $125 to $145, depending on the county. “Just the risk. At freeway speeds that would lead to fatal injuries if struck,” she said.
The officer did not cite the cyclist, but sternly cited the law and ordered him to finish his trip to Minneapolis on city streets.
Cases of bicyclists using freeways are rare, but back in June on consecutive mornings the State Patrol had to shoo person-powered two-wheelers off the mainline in the metro area.