Legislation passed a law in 2018 that requires Michigan motorists to give cyclists three feet of space when passing them on the roadways. As of October 1, 2019, some communities in Michigan are required to give an additional 3 feet of space, totaling 5 feet when passing. A few of those areas include Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, and Muskegon. In addition, to motorists giving bicyclist plenty of room on the road, there are other safety measures motorists and cyclists can take to stay safe when sharing the roads.
Here are a few reminders to help you and your loved ones safely enjoy the summer on our Michigan roads.
- Give bicyclists a safe amount of space when passing them on the road. Be patient and wait for a safe opportunity to pass cyclists.
- Minimize your phone usage while driving.
- Be extra cautious and alert in areas where you know there might be children, pedestrians, and cyclists about.
- Be aware that Michigan law permits two bicycle riders to ride adjacent to each other and that even when a sidewalk is available generally, bicyclists are permitted to use the road and/or the sidewalk.
- While Michigan law does not require helmet use, everyone—children and adults—should wear a properly fitting helmet when riding a bike. They reduce the risk of head and brain injuries in the event of a collision.
- Wear reflective and/or fluorescent gear and clothing. These items can help make you visible from further away and more visible at night.
- Use proper lighting (white lights, rear red lights, etc.) on your bike when riding one-half hour before sunrise or one-half hour after sunset to improve your visibility to others and comply with Michigan Law.
- Bicyclists riding a bike on a roadway in Michigan have all the rights and are subject to all the duties applicable to motorists. This means that bicyclists must follow traffic laws, including stopping at stop signs and complying with traffic light signals, and riding with, not against traffic.
- Ride to the right. Michigan law requires bicyclists on roadways to ride as close as possible to the right-hand curb or edge of the road if they are riding below the posted speed limit.
- Use hand signals, as required by Michigan law, to notify other where you are going:
- Right turn- left hand and arm upward or extending the right hand and arm horizontally
- Left turn- left and arm horizontally
- Stop or decreasing speed- extending hand and arm downward
Some more things to consider as a cyclist, try to seek out roads with bicycle lanes and paths and avoid busy roads at peak traffic times, such as early morning and late afternoon. Also avoid riding when visibility is not the best, such as on east-west roads when the sun is rising or setting, as it can obstruct vision for bicyclists and motorists alike.