It finally feels like summer in Michigan! And here at Michigan Bicycle Law that means it’s time to get out on our bikes and enjoy the nice weather, fresh air, and beautiful Michigan landscape. It also means it’s a good time for us to provide a few bike-friendly reminders for other cyclists and motorists alike.
Bryan Waldman recently appeared on WLNS 6 “Legal Edge” to share some of these bike-friendly reminders for cyclists and drivers. Read his bike-friendly reminders and check out his segment below.
Rules of the Road for Cyclists in Michigan
Michigan bicyclists are required to ride reasonably close to the right edge of the road, which means they are permitted to move to the left if there are potholes or other obstructions in the road. They are also able to stay away from the curb if the lane is too narrow to accommodate a bicycle and an automobile.
Cyclists can ride no more than two abreast, must use hand signals, outfit their bike with lights when riding at in the dark, and follow the rules that apply to motorists.
Most importantly, bicyclists should ride in a manner that makes their actions predictable for motorists.
Even though not required by law, it is recommended that cyclists wear a properly fitted helmet. Likewise, biking while under the influence of alcohol over the age of 21 is not illegal but should be avoided for safety reasons. Texting while biking is not explicitly prohibited but holding an object that prevents both hands from being on the handlebars is prohibited.
For more bike-friendly reminders for cyclists, be sure to read all of the rules of the road here.
Bike-Friendly Reminders for Motorists
Drivers are required to give at least 3 feet between their vehicle and a cyclist when passing. Some cities have laws that require at least 5 feet between the vehicle and bicycle. Drivers can cross the center line of the road to get around a cyclist, even in a no-pass zone, as long as they ensure safe passing for them, the cyclist, and any other vehicles that may be approaching. If visibility is obstructed, it’s best to just wait to pass.
Motorists should understand that they often won’t see road hazards that may be an issue for cyclists (ie debris and pavement cracks). For this reason, drivers should be prepared for cyclists to swerve to avoid road hazards.
Finally, drive at a reasonable speed. This may mean slowing down below the speed limit when near or passing a cyclist or while waiting for a safe time to pass a bicycle.
Distracted Driving Laws
Michigan’s Distracted Driving laws are unfortunately, weak and difficult to enforce. With the popularity of cell phones and other handheld devices behind the wheel, the problem has only gotten worse. Drivers need to pay attention to driving and driving only. If not, they may injure or kill themselves or another person who may be walking, biking, riding a motorcycle, or driving another car. Reading a text or looking at a Facebook post can wait until after the driving is over!
There are many other laws regarding biking in Michigan at night, on sidewalks, parking, and more. For a complete review of bike laws and further details read “A Legal Handbook for Michigan Cyclists.”