Reporter's Notebook: Gene Oberpriller extended interview
Known as the Godfather of the Minneapolis bike scene, Gene Oberpriller, co-owner of One on One bike shop, shares his thoughts with CP.
-West 15 and Hennepin. That one that pops into my head. But every intersection is dangerous. The Hennepin bike lane is especially bad. Cars are constantly making left turns in front of you. And especially the one at the bottom Hennepin by the library. I’ve had at least a dozen near death experiences at that one.
-I think a lot of it is education. On both ends, cars and bikes. You tend to get two parties against each other. And there is practically no enforcement on either end.
-I like going down Park and Portland, it’s great. But I think, rationally, the City should put everything on the right, as we’re a slower moving traffic. But the city has it backwards. There is an issue there. Where was the thinking on putting lanes on the left or down the middle of the street between the buses and the cars? We’re the most susceptible vehicle getting sandwiched by the two.
-I feel like bicycling is coming full circle. To what is used to be 100 years ago. The roads were really originally built for us first. It has to come back to that.
-Picking one intersection is tough. Technically, they are all dangerous.
-All these cyclists are reckless... That's a bunch of bullshit. Who in their right mind is going to blow an intersection? I don’t think they realize the scope of what it is like when somebody turns in front of them. It’s completely unacceptable.
-Bike on bike collisions are happening. So many people are doing it, but they need to get smart about riding pretty quick. For us as a retailer we always tell people who ride at night to have a headlight.
-Update the DVM manual. I did an interview in 1995 with Oberstar about it and saw very few changes. And another thing is cyclists don’t need licenses and registration. We’re pretty much free to do what we want. And still treated as third class citizens.
-I’d revamp the whole issue with bicycles on the streets. It’s got to change. And give Nicollet back to bikes.
-Hennepin? It’s like back in the day the City said here is a band-aid for a cut. Now, it’s turning into a gaping wound.