I think I've realized why many people believe bikes belong on the sidewalk. It's because pedestrians are actually busy walking in the street. I'm not from MN, and I will freely and gladly admit it. I am from West (by god) Virginia by way of Tennessee. Down south we didn't walk in the roadway no matter what season of the year. My parents and role models taught me it was a pretty stupid thing to do actually.
Now I've made a little study and it certainly seems to be a winter phenomenon up here. We get some snow and all of a sudden people think they need to walk in the street. It is bizarre, twisted and warped. Examine the logic: it's darker, the streets are narrower and any moving vehicle approaching you has potentially limited traction and control to avoid creaming your flabby buttocks into the slush; of any time of year to keep you and yours out of the friggin' street, this is it. As a cyclist it adds to the frustration I feel that the Mpls Park Board only plows one path for peds and cyclists in the winter (the bike path, at that) which forces those of us trying to get somewhere to dodge ignorant, gabbing, cell-phone-dialing, snack-size-dog-on-a-leash-walking throngs of pleasantly well-off urbanites who can't hear bells, shouts or abject verbal threats from a cyclist patiently trying to get them to move to one side. As if that weren't bad enough, I also have to ride around their darkly-clad dumbasses in the middle of the street.
Why? Why do they do it? I am not from here. Frankly, some of your customs scare me. Someone please explain. The sidewalks just aren't that bad. Tonight, for instance, the street the couple was walking down had more ice in it than the perfectly clear sidewalk 15 feet left of them. Here, in the city -- the land of sidewalks EVERYWHERE, a mecca of walking -- folks have to duff their loads in the roads. WHY?
I'm starting to think one of those airhorns, like the Coast Guard requires of small watercraft, would be worth the weight to tote along on my commutes. Maybe I should design a bicycle handlebar mount for one.