Cycling advocates stand along bike lane at intersection of deadly crash, call for safety improvements

Advocates lined up along the bike lane near the intersection of 12th and Linden in Minneapolis, where a cyclist recently died in a crash with a truck. (FOX 9)

Advocates took a stand following a recent cycling death in Minneapolis to remind drivers to share the road and watch for bicycles.

“I’m year-round, it’s how I get to work and there is more and more of us,” said cyclist Robert Berglund.

On the commute home Friday night near North 12th Street and Linden Avenue, cyclists had some extra protection. Dozens of people stood shoulder to shoulder along the bike lane.

“We just want to draw attention to the fact that cyclists are getting killed in this town, and that has to stop; we need to do something different,” said Berglund.

A cyclist was killed at the intersection on Wednesday around 4 p.m. Minneapolis police say a truck was trying to make a right turn from 12th Street onto Linden Avenue, when the driver hit a cyclist traveling in the same direction. The cyclist died at the scene and has not been identified yet. 

“Sad, just straight-up sad,” said cyclist Luke Vansanten.

The truck driver is cooperating with police. Alcohol and drugs are not considered to be factors in the incident.

Those who participated in the human-protected bike lane chain didn’t necessarily know the victim, but say these deaths impact them all and they want to see change.

“Very specifically, we want our infrastructure to be safe,” said Risa Hustad, the event organizer. “We don’t want to have to make the choice between, ‘Do I want to ride my bike today or is that too risky?’”

They’re looking for specific infrastructure changes, like physical barriers between cars and bikes. 

“We don’t always want to be bumping elbows with motor vehicles especially in these high-traffic intersections,” said Hustad.

The cyclists say they are looking for the roads to be a place where all are comfortable and safe.

“Today we’re saying the streets are for everyone there for us and it’s time our street design reflects that,” said Emily Wade of Minneapolis.

Thursday, the City of Minneapolis responded to the death, promising to make the road safer with its Minneapolis Vision Zero Action Plan. In a statement, Minneapolis Public Works Director Robin Hutcheson wrote: “I am deeply saddened to learn that another person has lost their life in a crash in our city. Everyone should be able to travel safely. We are working on finalizing the Minneapolis Vision Zero Action Plan, which provides an aggressive three year set of actions for achieving our vision of zero deaths. We are also actively constructing protected bikeway infrastructure. Several projects are underway in downtown Minneapolis and throughout the city to make travel safer for everyone. We all feel the trauma when a fellow bicyclist and Minneapolitan loses their life, and we are dedicated to achieving our goal.”