Cyclists Push for Bicycle Lane Barriers in Mpls.

Updated: 04/06/2013 5:22 PM By: Katherine Johnson

"I want to be able to ride safely on this road and I don't feel safe on it," said cyclist, Jill Chamberlain. "A bike lane is good. I like bike lanes but if it's not protected it's not like the paint is a magic force field."

That's why a new push for more protection from traffic is gaining speed in Minneapolis.

Cyclists are open to options from something like installing removable posts along bike lanes to separating bike lanes from traffic using parking lanes.

"I'm going to feel the impact more than that car is going to feel the impact," said Chamberlain, referring to the risk of an accident.

Saturday, Elyse Stern was riding her bike in Minneapolis when she was hit and killed by a drunk driver. It's a tragedy resonating throughout the cycling community.

"Falling in the street and having a car skid two feet from your head is terrifying," said partial owner of The Hub Bicycle Co-Op, Chris Huff.  "You want to make sure you're not going to be skidding into something."

He hears horror stories and sees damaged bikes come into the shop on a regular basis.

"If you're riding and you slip, who knows where you're going to end up," said Huff.  "You need to feel safe in those places. That's what they're designed for."

Drivers don't think adding a barrier to bike lanes is a bad idea, either.

"some of them just ride right down the middle of the road and you can't really get around them," said one driver we spoke with. "What happens if they slip and fall?"

Cyclists hope to get their wheels spinning fast enough to make sure posts or some other solution is included in construction projects on both Washington and on Minnehaha.  Both projects are slated to start next summer.

 "If you're going to do a project, do it right," said Chamberlain.

Barriers are already being used both in Chicago and Washington D.C.