July 14, 2019

Sharing the Road with Bicyclists: Michigan Laws You Need to Know

Different states have various laws for helping drivers and bicyclists coexist while navigating the roadways, and if you find yourself involved in an accident a car accident lawyer at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. can help you with your case.

Cyclists’ rules of the road in Michigan

When riding on public roads, a Michigan cyclist must follow certain rules designed to make sure that cyclists use a reasonable amount of caution and practice safe cycling. These laws are important to understand even if you are not a cyclist because they can help you determine if you were at fault.

Bike reasonably close to the right curb

If a cyclist is traveling below the normal speed of traffic, they must ride as closely as possible to the right-hand curb or edge of the road in most circumstances. Exceptions to this include when passing another cyclist or a vehicle moving in the same direction, when preparing to turn left, or when road conditions make the right-hand side of the road unsafe to navigate.

These road conditions can include an uneven roadway surface, debris, drain openings, surface hazards, parked or moving bicycles or vehicles, pedestrians, animals, or other obstacles.

Additionally, this rule can be amended when the bicycle is being ridden in a right-turn-only lane, but the cyclist wants to keep going straight, or if they are on a one-way street or highway with two or more lanes and can therefore also safely use the left-hand curb or road edge as a safe space to ride.

Cyclists’ hand signals

Michigan law requires a cyclist to signal to other cyclists and drivers around them with the following gestures. As a driver, it is important to understand what these signals mean.

A left turn is signaled by an extension of the cyclist’s left hand and arm horizontally. A right turn is signaled by an extension of the right hand an arm upward, or an extension of the right hand and arm outwards to the right.

A decrease in speed or a stop is signaled to people around the cyclist by an extension of the hand and arm downward. This can be performed with either arm.

Riding a bicycle at night

When cyclists ride any later than one half hour after sunset or any earlier than one half hour before sunrise in Michigan, state law requires the use of lights. These light systems must include a white light that is visible from at minimum 500 feet to the front, as well as a rear reflector that must be visible from all distances 100-600 feet when directly in front of headlights. In addition to the red reflector, a lamp that emits a red light visible from 500 feet in the rear may be used.

Final thoughts

If you or a loved one have gotten in a vehicle accident in Michigan that involves a cyclist and you do not believe it was your fault, consider calling the legal experts at Cochran, Kroll & Associates P. C. at 1-866-MICH-LAW (1-866-642-4529) and scheduling a no obligation consultation. Our law firm understands the rights that cyclists have as well as the laws they must follow when sharing the road with pedestrians and drivers and can help you fight for the justice you deserve.

Tim is a writer and editor who earned his Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Maryland and calls Washington, D.C., home after spending most of his adult life in the country’s capital. Although Tim spent most of his post-college years in the restaurant industry, he became interested in writing about legal matters after he recently moved to Colombia. Today, Tim writes professionally about medical malpractice, drug policies, and workplace injuries. Tim is focused on curating his freelancing career and plans to work remotely for as long he can.

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