Minnesota’s bike lobby is hoping to get state legislators to lower speed limits on city streets around the state, arguing it would make cyclists and pedestrians safer.
A speed limit of 25 mph is being sought by the state’s bike lobby, the Star Tribune reported. The League of American Bicyclists cited the current urban limit of 30 mph as an area needing improvement when Minneapolis recently tried to get its status as a bike-friendly community upgraded from gold to platinum, which is held only by five U.S. cities.
Supporters of the lower speed limit also argue that it would encourage more people to exercise.
The legislative push is being planned by the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota. The four states surrounding Minnesota allow speed limits of 25 mph in urban areas.
“It doesn’t make sense to me that all the states around us have 25 miles per hour and Minnesota doesn’t,” said Dorian Grilley, the organization’s executive director.
Rep. Frank Hornstein, DFL-Minneapolis, supports a lower speed limit, but warns the proposal could languish, with sentiment from legislators outside the Twin Cities having been to push for higher speed limits, especially on farm-to-market roads.
There are exceptions for a 25 mph speed limit despite the current 30 mph urban limit, including on city streets less than a half-mile long. Tests of a 25 mph limit on a Minneapolis bike route near the University of Minnesota in 2012 and 2013 showed negligible changes in traffic speeds, according to city measurements.
“It basically tells me that a sign doesn’t change behavior,” said Jon Wertjes, the city’s director of traffic and parking services.
The League of American Bicyclists said in a feedback report said Minneapolis has a lower share of streets with a 25 mph limit compared with other applicants for the same category of bike-friendly awards. The organization urged the lower speed limit around schools, in residential areas and downtown.