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Fewer bicyclists died in accidents on Minnesota roadways last year than in any year since 2007. The number of bicyclists injured, however, has risen a bit, according to Minnesota Public Radio.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety reported five bicyclists were killed in accidents in 2011 compared to nine in 2010. DPS also noted that 942 bicyclists were injured in accidents last year, up from 882 reported the year before.
Meanwhile, more Minnesotans than ever -- more than half -- are bicycling.
"Bicycling has really been on an uptick in popularity, particularly for commuting to work, so right away maybe motorists weren't sure what to do with these bicyclists on the road," Minnesota Department of Transportation spokesperson Jessica Wiens told MPR. "As motorists are seeing bicyclists and driving near bicyclists, they know how to act, and they know what to do to be safe."
And on a related note, the theft of bikes -- at least Nice Ride bikes available for rent throughout the Twin Cities -- has been nonexistent, surprisingly. In fact, not a single one of the 1,200 Nice Ride bike has gone missing in the two years since the program started, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
For that reason, the initial $250 deposit required of users (reduced to $50 last year) has been eliminated entirely by the program's administrators.
A $1 million expansion of the program into downtown St. Paul will add 130 bikes at 26 new racks this year, according to the newspaper.
Although very few Nice Ride users wear helmets as they commute to their office jobs, not a single Nice Ride biker has been injured, said Bill Dossett, executive director of the Nice Ride program.