What is a protected bike lane?
A protected bike lane is a general term for bicycle lane that is separated from motor vehicle traffic. Some are protected by plastic posts, other by curbs — and in the case of 66th Street, both a green space and a curb separate the bike lane from other traffic.
The specific term for 66th’s type of bike lane is a cycle track; however, we will be using the term protected bike lane or PBL in this FAQ.
Is this the same as a mixed-use path, like the one on Portland Avenue or 76th Street?
No. A mixed-use path (also called an off-street trail) is completely shared between people walking and biking, and people biking must always yield to people walking. A protected bike lane is intended specifically for people biking.
On 66th Street, the protected bike lanes are also one-way, meaning that bicyclists must ride with traffic.
What a “crossbike”?
This is a crosswalk specifically intended for people riding bikes. Minnesota law does not distinguish these from other crosswalks. On 66th, these are denoted with chevrons (at minor intersections) and green blocks at major intersections.
How far does the 66th Street protected bike lane go?
The protected bike lane goes from Oliver Avenue S to 16th Avenue S, three miles in the heart of Richfield. For the last block on either end, there are short connections — on the west, two mixed-use paths bring you to Penn Avenue. On the east, two on-street bike lanes connect you to the Nokomis-Minnesota River Regional Trail. West of Penn Avenue, the north side has a mixed-use path that bicyclists may also use.
Unfortunately, there is a gap in the bike lane in the vicinity of Portland Avenue. See the Portland Avenue FAQ item below.
For people riding bikes
Where can I ride?
Where both a protected bike lane and sidewalk exist, you should ride on the protected bike lane, which is the dark-tinted concrete closest to the street. In most locations, you will see a bicycle symbol on it. You should ride in the same direction as traffic on the street.
You may also ride in the street if you prefer.
Am I required to use the protected bike lane if I prefer to ride in the street?
No. There is no requirement for bicyclists to use a trail, bike lane, or other separated facility. You may ride in the street if you prefer. However, we believe the 66th Street protected bike lane is a safer and more pleasant experience for most riders.
What riding rules apply?
All normal riding rules apply. For additional details, see ____
Is it OK to use an e-scooter or e-bike?
Yes. E-scooters and e-bikes, as allowed by Minnesota law, are permitted in bike lanes.
How should I turn left?
This can be one of the harder things to get used to. You should generally turn left like a person walking would, using what’s called a “box turn”. That is, go straight first, then cross perpendicularly.
Can I ride on the sidewalk?
Richfield city code allows bicyclists on sidewalks — so yes, but we encourage you to stick to the bike lane whenever possible. If you are on the sidewalk, you must yield to pedestrians using it.
How do I cross at a traffic light?
Cross with vehicular traffic, obeying the red/yellow/green lights. Note that the lights are not programmed to detect bicyclists. When riding along 66th, this should not pose a problem, since the lights are programmed to give 66th a green most of the time. If you need to, you may use the pedestrian push-button next to the sidewalk in order to activate the light.
How do I cross at a roundabout?
Crossing using the crosswalks or crossbikes (green portion of crosswalk). People walking and biking in crosswalks have right-of-way over vehicles entering and exiting the roundabout. However, go an appropriate speed and make sure those vehicles are prepared to stop.
Optionally, a person biking may choose to temporarily pull onto the sidewalk to activate the pedestrian flashers.
What if I need to pass another person on a bike?
The safest location to pass would be when you and the other person are both stopped or slowed, such as when waiting for a light. However, you may need to use the sidewalk at other times. You must yield to people walking on the sidewalk and ensure this is safe to do so.
What should I do around Portland Avenue?
Unfortunately, between 5th Ave S and Columbus Ave (eastbound), and Park Avenue and 5th Ave S (westbound), the cycletrack is missing. We recommend you use the sidewalk in this location, yielding to pedestrians. You may choose to ride in the street if you prefer. If you do so, pay particular attention to not allowing in-lane passing in the roundabout.
Hennepin County excluded this portion of 66th Street from reconstruction. Although modest improvements are planned for 2020, there is not currently a funded plan to complete the bike lane in this area.
For people walking
Can I walk on the protected bike lane?
In most cases, no. If a sidewalk is provided and “accessible”, people walking must use it. If the sidewalk is not accessible — for example, if covered in ice, if a portion is under construction, etc — you may use the bike lane.
Can I walk my dog on 66th?
Of course. But please also be mindful of dogs on long leashes. This can pose a hazard for you, the person bicycling, and the dog if crossing the bike lane. Keep your dog away from the bike lane.
Where do I have right-of-way crossing the bike lane or street?
Per Minnesota state law, pedestrians have right-of-way at all locations with marked crosswalks and all intersections with no marked crosswalks. In addition to intersections, you will note other locations along 66th where a permanent crosswalk is marked across the 66th bike lane — typically at bus stops. People walking have right-of-way here. As with crossing the street, be clear in your intent but ensure it’s safe to cross.
For people driving cars
Where should I wait when turning onto 66th?
At a stop-controlled intersection (such as a minor street meeting 66th), you should stop completely behind the crosswalk and crossbike. If you must creep forward to see better, make sure the way is clear in both directions.
How can I safely turn right off of 66th?
Make sure that you are not cutting off a cyclist proceeding straight. If turning right, pay attention to bicyclists on the block before your turn — have you just passed one? If so, ensure that you won’t cut them off by turning.
Although bicyclists are required to ride with traffic, bear in mind that some may be going the opposite direction. Ensure both directions are clear before turning.
Do bicyclists have right-of-way in crosswalks and crossbikes?
Yes. Bicyclists operating in a crosswalk/crossbike have the same right-of-way as pedestrians. You must yield to them.
The protected bike lane is right there, but I encountered someone riding in the street. Why are they doing this?
Although the vast majority of people riding bikes on 66th are utilizing the protected bike lanes, you will occasionally see people bicycling in the street. This is legal in Minnesota, as bicyclists are not required to use bike lanes.
The reasons vary — but often, people who ride at a faster speed feel safer riding in the same travel lanes with cars, versus being very close to slower-moving pedestrians. Some may also prefer to turn left in the same way a car does in the street.
Particularly west of Oliver Avenue, bear in mind that there is no separated bicycle facility. Although either east- or westbound bikes may legally use the north-side mixed-use path or the south side sidewalk, they are narrow facilities that are shared with pedestrians.
To pass a bicyclist on 66th Street, you must pass with at least 3′ of clearance. We recommend you make a full lane change to pass, as you would with a slow-moving car.