According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more bicycles on the road means less bicyclist fatalities. As more people become interested in bicycling as an alternative to using automobiles for transit, many states like Michigan have introduced measures to ensure bicyclists have equal, safe access to the road.
Michigan’s statewide bicycle safety measures
Michigan has an online GIS map of public bike trails available for use. These provide bicyclists with a dedicated alternative to bicycle lanes and road shoulders.
Michigan state law provides legal protections and rights to bicyclists. Bicycles are legally considered “traffic” and therefore, in most cases, may be operated on public highways that aren’t controlled access.
MCL 257.636 provides that drivers statewide must allow bicyclists at least three feet of space where it’s feasible. If not, drivers are required to provide as much distance as practical and slow down to a prudent speed before passing a bicyclist.
What happens if a driver injures a bicyclist in Michigan?
Unfortunately, bicyclists on public roads are inherently more at risk of personal injury than those in passenger vehicles. If two bicycles collide, generally insurance benefits do not apply.
On the other hand, if an automobile makes physical contact with a bicycle, the motorist’s insurance benefits may apply. This is because there can be significant health complications, such as traumatic brain injuries, associated with this form of accident.
If eligible, a bicyclist injured in an accident with an automobile is entitled to “allowable expenses.” These generally include wage loss benefits, replacement services, and, if applicable, survivor’s benefits are supplied.
If you’ve been involved in a bicycle collision with an automobile, retaining a qualified attorney may help ensure that you receive all the benefits to which you’re entitled.