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Sharing the Road – What Motorists Can Learn from the Kalamazoo Bicycling Tragedy

The topic of bicycling safety is once again making rounds in recent Michigan news. Instances like the Kalamazoo bicycling tragedy make motorists more biking-on-roadaware of the importance of sharing the road and considerate of bicyclists.

If you drive around bicyclists, here are some things you can do to help keep everyone safe.

If you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident, our bike law team is here to help!
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Tips for Motorists to Safely Share the Road with Bicycles

Pay attention. Bicycle fatalities increased from a rate of 18.7 in 2005 to 24.6 in 2010 due to distracted driving. Even something as quick as glancing at an incoming call can result in a blow to a cyclist from a side mirror. The best thing motorists can do is put their phone away, and keep their eyes and mind on the road.

Give bicyclists space. The Michigan House recently approved the state’s first “safe passing” bill that will require drivers to give bicyclists a 3-foot distance when passing. Now it’s on to the Senate and will (hopefully) be enacted mid-year of 2019. More on this to come, for now, check out MDOT’s Safe Passing video.

Learn bike signals. Understanding the signals bicyclists use will help you anticipate their next move. In Michigan, bicyclists are required to signal:

  1. A left turn by extending his/her left arm horizontally
  2. A right turn by extending his/her left arm upward or by extending his/her right arm horizontally
  3. An upcoming stop or slow-down by extending the arm downward

Use your turn signals. Just as you should pay attention to a bicyclist’s signals, they need to see yours to anticipate your next action as well. By notifying cyclists of turns, they can slow down or come to a stop. A lot of accidents are the result of automobiles turning without signaling the bicyclist.

Respect traffic signals and signs. Many car-bike accidents happen at intersections. Make sure you obey stop lights and traffic signs because they govern both automobiles and bicycles and always double check crosswalks.

Be considerate. In order to share the road successfully, both drivers and bicyclists need to respect one another. As a motorist, this might mean slowing down or driving behind a bicyclist until you can pass at a safe distance. It could mean getting into the lane over when overtaking a bike.

Lay off the horn. Even though slowing behind a bicyclist until you can safely pass might frustrate you, honking is the last thing you should do. A glaring horn is startling and a startled bicyclist is less steady on their bike, which can lead to falls and collisions.

With a little education, we hope instances like the Kalamazoo bicycling tragedy never happen again. There’s room for us all, so let’s share the road respectfully! Stay tuned for upcoming tips for bicyclists.


If you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident, Bryan Waldman and other members of the bicycle law group can help you get the justice you deserve. Call us today for a free consultation at 866-758-0031.




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