Michigan Law For Cyclists on the Road
The state's motor vehicle code details specifics on requirements for those opting to travel by bike.
"Each person riding a bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, or moped or operating a low-speed vehicle upon a roadway has all of the rights and is subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle," according to an excerpt from Section 257.657 of the Michigan Vehicle Code.
Laws regarding bicycles on public roads are specifically outlined in the Michigan Motor Vehicle Code, which indicates some specific rules for cyclists. Bicyclists must use a series of hand signals – which drivers must understand – that alert others on the road of their movements.
If a bicyclist intends on making a left turn, he or she must extend their arm horizontally. For right hand turns, cyclists must extend their arm at the elbow upward, and if they are stopping or slowing down, he or she should extend their arm downward at the elbow.
Additionally, cyclists must have their bikes equipped with a lamp on the front which shall emit a white light, and be visible from a distance of 500 feet, as well as a red reflector on the rear the bike. The lamp rule comes into play if a cyclist is operating the bike between one-half hour of sunset and a half-hour before sunrise.
State law does not require cyclists to wear a helmet, though experts recommend this every cyclist do so.
Northville Township police have also shared tips for safe bicycling.
Though cycling accidents are relatively uncommon, accidents that cause serious injuries are on the rise, according to a report commissioned the Governor's Traffic Safety Advisory Commission (GTSAC).
In 2008, the last year data was collected, 25 bicyclists were killed in crashes in Michigan, up from 18 in the previous year. Another 1,633 cyclists were injured in collisions in 2008, somewhat less than the 1,745 that were injured in 2007.
Lindenmayer said he believes there needs to be further education for both cyclists and drivers so more preventable accidents don’t occur. Currently, there is a “Complete Streets” program being discussed in Lansing that would re-conceive road construction as not just a pathway for automobiles, for which both Duffield and Lindenmayer support.
But in the meantime, Lindenmayer said everyone using Northville Township’s roads need to watch what’s happening around them.
“We need to find a way to co-exist on the road,” he said. “It goes both ways.”