Can You Legally Ride Your Bike Through Stop Signs and Red Lights in Minnesota?
Bicycling on the sidewalks in downtown Rochester may be illegal, but can bike riders really ride through red lights and stop signs in Minnesota?
Now that it's summer and the kids are out of school, you might head out on the bike sometime soon. And while riding your bike on the sidewalk in downtown Rochester has always been against city statutes, last year the city launched a new campaign to make sure cyclists are aware they belong on the road. (Which is a good thing -- I know I've almost been hit by several bicycles while walking downtown recently.)
But what about red lights and stop signs outside of downtown? Can bicycles just blow through those like you see them do so often? (And I include myself in this category -- I routinely ride my bike and will often just slow down without coming to a full stop at stop signs near our house where traffic is pretty light. My bad, I know.)
Well, as it turns out, at a stop sign, the answer is no. According to this KARE-11 story, "Bikers ARE legally obligated to stop at stop signs in Minnesota," the story said.
But what about at those pesky traffic lights that are triggered by sensors in the road -- those lights that never seem to change to green (because the cycle isn't heavy enough to trip the sensor)?
That's where it gets a little sticky. The story says Minnesota law allows motorcycles and bicycles to proceed through a red light -- after first coming to a stop -- when "waiting at the light for a reasonable amount of time and the light does not cycle from red to green."
So, no, bicycles here in Minnesota can't just blow through a stop sign or red light without stopping. At least, not legally, anyway...