If it felt like Minneapolis streets and bike paths were more crowded with bicycles last year, your hunch was correct. Today the city released a report showing that between 2010-2011 the number of bicyclists increased 25 percent, and from 2007-2011 the number of bicyclists grew by 47 percent.
The city’s new bike and pedestrian coordinator, Shaun Murphy, presented the report’s findings to members of the Transportation and Public Works committee. He says the growth in bike traffic has also increased safety. The report shows that the number of bicycle/motor vehicle collisions has steadily declined as the number of riders has gone up.
Some say the increased popularity of bicycling is having a financial impact. Council member Sandy Colvin Roy says she’s hearing that the burgeoning bike community is building a bike-oriented economy, “The biking community in purchases and repair and uses of biking and production of biking parts is now a multimillion dollar business in our metro region.”
Colvin Roy added that Minneapolis Convention Center officials say the green, Nice Ride bikes have become very popular with out of town visitors. The bike sharing program added 500 more bikes and extended their network to include St. Paul.
The most interesting part of the report, for me at least, was that the new bike infrastructure now includes several public air pumps. I didn’t see one last year, but I hope they add more of them – along the Midtown Greenway would be great. Most gas stations charge 50 to 75 cents for air. And that’s a drag because bike tires are just not large enough to get your money’s worth of air.