Freeways are for motor vehicles, not for bicyclists, yet on consecutive mornings this week the State Patrol had to shoo person-powered two-wheelers off the mainline.
On Monday, a 14-year-old girl was riding in rush hour traffic on the shoulder of eastbound I-94 in the area of Hwy. 280. She told the trooper who caught up to her just after 8 a.m. that she was following the route that Google Maps told her to take to get home. The trooper escorted her off the freeway and she used city streets to complete her trip, said Lt. Tiffani Neilson of the State Patrol.
On Tuesday, a man was spotted riding on the freeway at the I-694/494/94 interchange in the east metro around 5:35 a.m. The bicyclist took the ramp from 694 to eastbound 94 and rode into Woodbury before a trooper caught up to him. The man, believed to be between 20 and 30, hopped the freeway fence and rode off.
It's against the law to use pedal power on the freeway, and it's atypical, Nielson said. But it does happen when bicyclists get lost or confused or there is a misunderstanding, she said.
"We do have bicyclists take shortcuts or inadvertently get lost," she said. "We don't deal with this in inclement weather."
Freeways are not designed for bicycles, what with vehicles whizzing by at 60 miles per hour, or faster. There also are few places to safely cross the road.
In most cases, law-breaking cyclists are given a stern warning to stay off the freeway. But the patrol can issue a ticket to the offender for failing to obey regulatory signs. The fine can run from $125 to $145, depending on the county.