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Bicyclist Safety

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration encourages all road users, including motorists and bicyclists, to respect each other and foster a safer transportation environment. Bicycles on the roadway have the same rights, and responsibilities as motorized vehicles.
Michigan law requires motorists to give bicyclists at least 3 feet of space when passing. Some Michigan municipalities have enacted ordinances requiring motorists to give bicyclists 5 feet of space when passing. As of October 1, 2019 these communities include: Ann Arbor, Dearborn,  Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo Township, Muskegon, Norton Shores, Oshtemo Township, and Portage.
Bicyclists should:
  • Ride with traffic and follow the rules of the road.
  • Use hand signals when turning or stopping.
  • Obey traffic signals, signs, and markings.
  • When dark, a white light on the front and rear red reflector are required.
  • Be visible: wear appropriate high visibility safety gear, including a helmet.
  • Watch for debris that might make you fall or swerve.
  • Watch for turning traffic.
  • Ride no more than two abreast.

Drivers should:

  • Give at least 3-feet when passing bicyclists. (See above for stricter local ordinances)
  • Obey traffic signals, signs and markings.
  • Yield to bicyclists as you would motorists and do not underestimate their speed. This will help avoid turning in front of a bicyclist traveling on the road or sidewalk, often at an intersection or driveway.
  • Avoid distractions.
  • Obey the posted speed limit.
  • Stay alert and take extra caution at intersections, especially when making turns.
  • In parking lots, at stop signs, when backing up, or when parking, search your surroundings for other vehicles, including bicyclists.
  • To avoid "dooring" a bicyclist, never open a car door without first checking for passing traffic. One example of checking for traffic is the "Dutch Reach." This method involves the driver of a vehicle using their right hand to open their door, not their left hand. This naturally puts the driver in position to check both in front and behind for approaching traffic.


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