Ask the Chief
This is the season for children to be out and about having fun in the sun. Some will walk and some will ride their bikes. What you may not be aware of is the danger that young people face while riding their bike and the liability you take on when you let your child ride their bike in the street.
Minnesota State Statute 169.222 describes in detail how bikes are to be ridden on the roadway. Here are a few points from the statute:
• “Every person operating a bicycle shall have all of the rights and duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle."
•"Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway."
•"Persons riding bicycles upon a roadway or shoulder shall not ride more than two abreast and shall not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic and, on a laned roadway, shall ride within a single lane."
•"No person shall operate a bicycle unless it is equipped with a rear brake or front and rear brakes which will enable the operator to make a braked wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement."
What I want you to take away from this letter is that you need to make sure your child is old enough and mature enough to understand the rules of the road and how to operate a bike safely. Because if they don't and they get hurt or contribute in any way to a collision you may be held responsible for the actions of your child.
This could include financial and criminal liability. Every day I talk to children about their safety.
I see a lot of close calls where kids have been on the wrong side of the road, failed to yield the right of way, darted out in traffic and riding bikes without brakes. Yes, this is Minneota and we are a small family town but we have over 8,000 vehicles pass through Minneota daily.
We also have many events and activities that increase residential traffic.
If you have a child riding a bike, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure they are doing it properly. Too many parents simply let their kids ride around town without any supervision and this will eventually lead to someone getting killed.