Thursday, September 27, 2018

Give 'em three feet – new Michigan law goes into effect to protect cyclists from vehicles

Posted By on Thu, Sep 27, 2018 at 3:32 PM

click to enlarge CONNEL / SHUTTERSTOCK
  • Connel / Shutterstock
Michigan cyclists will be able to breathe a sigh of relief knowing that they're protected from motorists by a new law that goes into effect today.

The new law will require motorists overtaking cyclists to give three feet of distance. The law is in response to an alarming 133 percent increase in cyclist fatalities since 2007. According to the Office of Highway Safety and Planning, there were 1,988 cyclists involved in accidents with motorists in 2016, 42 which resulted in fatalities. Before 2018, Michigan was one of 11 states in the country that did not have a law protecting cyclists from passing vehicles.

What does this mean for drivers? Well, improperly passing a cyclist could affect your driving record. According to OHSP's communications strategist Kari Arend, "violators will be assessed 3 points on their driver’s license for improper passing," she says, "In regards to fines, that will differ from county to county in Michigan." How strictly the new law is enforced will be at the discretion of local police officers.

Despite being the Motor City, Detroit cracked's Top 50 most bike-friendly cities in 2016. In recent years, Detroit has laid down more than 200 miles worth of bike lanes throughout the city, including protected bike lanes along Cass Avenue. In 2017, Detroit also introduced the MoGo bike share program, giving residents and visitors an alternative to their daily commute.

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