Attorney Bryan Waldman recently sat down with FOX 47’s “Morning Blend” program to talk about Michigan bicycle safety and the growing number of bicycle accidents in Michigan.
Bryan, a competitive cyclist himself, is considered a leading authority on Michigan bike laws. He is a League of Michigan Bicyclists board member, a member of the national Bike Law network of attorneys and has written a legal handbook for Michigan bicyclists.
During his discussion of Michigan bicycle safety, Bryan emphasized the following:
- The Michigan Vehicle Code says that bicyclists have an absolute right to be on the roads.
- Michigan bicyclist deaths increased 15% last year and Michigan is ranked 11th in the nation for bicyclist deaths – one of the few northern states near the top of the list.
- In recent years, it has become much more dangerous to be on the roads, whether on a bicycle or in a motor vehicle. The number of Michigan traffic fatalities increased 14% from 2015-2016, most likely due to distracted driving, particularly cell phone use while driving. (Note: the growing number of traffic accidents is one reason why tougher distracted driving laws have been proposed in Michigan.)
Bryan emphasized that a statewide safe passing law will help make the roads safer Michigan bicyclists. Currently, Michigan is one of only six states without a safe passing law – that is, a law telling motorists what is expected of them when they pass a bicycle. A safe passing measure was recently introduced in the Michigan Legislature, and Bryan said he is hopeful that it will pass. In the meantime, some local municipalities, like Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo, have adopted their own safe passing ordinances.
Until a safe passing law is enacted in Michigan, motorists are encouraged to do the following when they see a bicyclist:
- Pass the bicyclist at a safe distance — What seems safe in a car might be scary for the person on the bike. And also remember the bicyclist may need to move to avoid road hazards.
- Slow down — A delay of just seconds isn’t worth risking an bicyclist’s injury or death.
- Do not honk — Honking could frighten the rider, causing him or her to crash or veer into your vehicle.
In the end, motorists need to remember one thing when sharing the roads with bicycles: it’s not just a bike — it’s a person. “It’s the same as if someone was walking on the road, driving a car or operating a motorcycle,” Bryan said. “When you drive, you are responsible for the safety of ALL people on the road.”
Here is Bryan’s entire FOX 47 Morning Blend interview about Michigan bicycle safety.
If you’ve been injured in a Michigan bicycle accident, Bryan and the other members of the Sinas Dramis Bicycle Law Group can help you get the justice you deserve. Contact our Lansing personal injury lawyers or Grand Rapids personal injury attorneys today for a free consultation. Or call 1-866-758-0031.