Minneapolis resident complains new bike lane causes confusion, leads to crashes

Randy Ottoson has lived near the corner of 53rd and Lyndale avenues north for 40 years. But lately, he says the sound of honking car horns has become all too familiar after Minneapolis installed a new bike lane through the intersection.

"I'm frustrated. This bike lane has just become an unbelievable problem," said Ottoson.

Ottoson says since the two-way bike lane along 53rd Avenue in Minneapolis was put in last summer, he's counted 19 crashes at the corner, including one Thursday morning, where a pick-up truck was flipped on its side.

He says the bike lane creates confusion for drivers and squeezes vehicle traffic to one lane in each direction for something he says few bicyclists actually use.

"Contributes to confusion. There are no police. People are ripping down 53rd Avenue anyway," said Ottoson.

While a FOX 9 was at the intersection, we saw several near misses, mostly from drivers coming off Interstate 94, thinking cross traffic along 53rd Avenue would stop.

We also saw two cars drive on the bike lane, thinking it was a lane of traffic before the drivers quickly realized their mistake.

A city spokesperson says from 2013 to 2021, there were three crashes a year in the area. Since the bike lane was installed, the spokesperson says there have been four. None were related to the bike lane, although the city admits some crashes go unreported.

The spokesperson says the city is aware of residents' concerns and has already added more lane markers to clarify how vehicles and bikes should navigate the new street configuration.

Ottoson recently lost his granddaughter Trinity to gun violence, and he doesn't want anyone else to experience the pain of losing a loved one in an accident he believes could be prevented.

"It's not needed. It's not wanted, and it's become dangerous, and it needs to go away," said Ottoson.