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MDOT and Michigan Fitness Foundation remind us to be alert and be safe as clocks "fall back" on Sunday

LANSING, Mich. - As the clocks "fall back" to standard time on Sunday, Nov. 5, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and the Michigan Fitness Foundation reminds motorists to watch out for people traveling on foot or rolling, like on a bicycle, wheelchair, skateboard, or other personal device, each evening on the drive home. Motorists also should allow a minimum 3-foot distance when passing a bicyclist, according to state law.


"As reminder, Michigan's new distracted driving law took effect last June, making it illegal to manually use a cell phone or other mobile electronic device while operating a vehicle on Michigan roads. Under the law, a driver cannot hold or support a phone or other device with any part of their hands, arms, or shoulders," said State Transportation Director Bradley C. Wieferich. "Road users need to be alert and eliminate distractions, slow down, and fully focus on getting to the destination safely. People travelling on foot or rolling are encouraged to wear brighter colored clothing with reflective material to enhance visibility."


Research from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute confirms that pedestrians are more at risk of serious injury from a motor vehicle crash in the weeks following a return to standard time. The most dangerous time is the first hour of darkness.


Working with schools and communities across the state, the Michigan Fitness Foundation's Safe Routes to School program staff provide best practices that help communities identify and overcome safety barriers that make it safe for children to walk and bike to school.


"Through our Safe Routes to School partnership with MDOT, we are pleased to help communities create safe environments for children walking and biking to school," said Michigan Fitness Foundation President and CEO Amy Ghannam. "When we set our clocks back each fall, it also is important to remind ourselves that it will now be darker earlier, creating less visibility. We can all play a role by being more alert and keeping our kids and communities safe.”


According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 7,388 pedestrians and 966 pedalcyclists (bicyclists and riders of two-wheel, nonmotorized vehicles, tricycles, and unicycles powered solely by pedals) died in traffic crashes in 2021. In Michigan, 2,026 pedestrians were involved in crashes, resulting in 173 killed and 1,566 injured according to the Michigan Traffic Crash Facts (MTCF) for 2022. Bicycle crashes accounted for 36 killed and 1,030 injured in the same MTCF 2022 report. Most pedestrian fatalities (76 percent) and pedalcyclist fatalities (50 percent) occur during dark conditions between 5 and 9 p.m.


MDOT continues to work with partners statewide on the Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) safety campaign based on the National Strategy on Highway Safety, which is intended to influence driver behavior and improve safety. For more information on the TZD campaign, visit


MDOT and the League of Michigan Bicyclists have more information available online about pedestrian and bicycle safety.   

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