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2024 State Legislative Recap

Thanks to the efforts of our lobbyists, advocacy committee, staff, members, and community who met with legislators at our local Summit in February, BikeMN has several wins to celebrate from this year’s legislative session.

Our advocacy committee met weekly in the months prior to our summit to prep, plan, and collaborate on some of  the language included in HF5247. The omnibus bill includes a number of changes and addendums affecting how we bike, walk, and roll in Minnesota. A few of the key points that we especially want to highlight include:

Updating the Ebike classification system:

The ebike classification system will continue to include classes 1 (up to 20 mph pedal assist with no throttle), 2 (up to 20 mph pedal assist with a throttle), and 3 (up to 28 mph pedal assist with no throttle) but now includes the addition of “Multiple mode” assisted ebikes. This means that a bike with switchable or programmable modes that can move between classes is still considered an electric bike by law.

The bill language also includes clarification on what is NOT or no longer considered an ebike:

“A vehicle is not an electric-assisted bicycle if it is designed, manufactured, or intended by the manufacturer or seller to be configured or modified to not meet the requirements for an electric-assisted bicycle or operate within the requirements for an electric-assisted bicycle class.”

If, for example, the speed governor on an ebike has been cut, modified, or tampered with, that vehicle is no longer considered a bicycle. A modified ebike would not be allowed on the Greenway or sidewalk, and would not be considered a bicycle in the event of a crash.

Updated Driver’s Education 

Currently, the MN Driver’s Manual does include information about the rights of bicycles on the road, but up until now there have been no details on how to deliver the information. The changes outlined in the bill now mean that MN Driver’s Education must include information on:

  1. The rights and responsibilities of vulnerable road users
  2. The specific duties of a (motor vehicle) driver when encountering a bike, other non motorized vehicle, or pedestrian
  3. The safety risks for vulnerable road users 
  4. Best practices to minimize dangers and avoid collisions with vulnerable road users

BikeMN’s People Friendly Driver webpage is a great place to learn more about sharing the road with people who bike, walk, and roll!

Complete Streets

The state defines Complete Streets:

“‘Complete streets’ is the planning, scoping, design, implementation, operation, and maintenance of roads in order to reasonably address the safety and accessibility needs of users of all ages and abilities. Complete streets considers the needs of motorists, pedestrians, transit users and vehicles, bicyclists, and commercial and emergency vehicles moving along and across roads, intersections, and crossings in a manner that is sensitive to the local context and recognizes that the needs vary in urban, suburban, and rural settings.”

BikeMN advocated for Complete Streets to be considered in infrastructure and designs, especially those that are frequently used by people who bike, walk, roll, and take transit. The additional language in this year’s amendment means that the complete streets policy must be considered from the design through implementation of infrastructure plans. Throughout the process, a complete streets plan for proposed infrastructure must be integrated in the plan, and must be used to evaluate the inclusion of active transportation facilities in a project.

BikeMN is excited about the policy changes as a result of this year’s legislative session. As a statewide leader in bicycle and pedestrian safety and education, we will continue to develop and facilitate programs to educate our communities so that everyone can bike, walk, and roll easily and safely.

We couldn’t do this work without you! As a 501(c)(3) we rely on support from our members across Minnesota. Fine ways to support our work here.