Jun 11, 2024 - Transit

On this day in 1899: Bike speed limits in St. Paul

A kid holding a bicycle, next to another kid and a mail carrier

A photo of a kid with a bicycle somewhere in Minnesota, dated 1890. Photo: Minnesota Historical Society/Corbis via Getty Images

One hundred and 25 years ago today, the St. Paul Police Department, fed up with all the recklessness, slapped new speed limits on ... bicycles.

Flashback: Bicycles were the primary mode of transportation in the late 1800s.

By the numbers: The SPPD set the new speed limits at 6 mph on sidewalks and 8 mph on streets, which is about the pace of a brisk jog or run.

  • The department also created a 12-officer bike patrol to catch the speed demons, per the MHS.

Why it matters: History is repeating itself as the rise in heavier and faster e-bikes has reignited the debate about how fast is too fast on park trails.

State of play: St. Paul's trails now have no speed limit, while Minneapolis' trails have a 10 mph cap, although that limit is not enforced and seldom obeyed.

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