Taking a ride across Michigan

Published 9:23 am Thursday, August 20, 2015

On Aug. 8, 2015, I participated in the One Day Ride Across Michigan as a support driver. Due to an injury, I was not able to actually ride this year. When I met my riders at the first rest stop, they informed me that a cyclist had been struck and killed by a passing motorist. The driver then fled the scene, turning himself in the following Tuesday.

This was a big ride (with almost 3 to 400 riders)with groups of fifty or so riders in some areas. As riders, we are aware of laws concerning riding with vehicles on the roads. As drivers, we need to be aware of these large rides and have some patience and care when passing the cyclists.

This turned out to be a sad situation for the fund-raising event. The following are laws concerning this event. I am not blaming either person involved nor, since I am not involved with the investigation, giving any sentence to the driver of the vehicle. I was asked, since talk and rumors originally listed this as a hit and run crash, what are the penalties.

MVC 257.617, Accident resulting in serious impairment of body function or death; stopping required; reporting to police agency or officer; violation as felony; penalty, states “(1) The driver of a vehicle who knows or who has reason to believe that he or she has been involved in an accident upon public or private property that is open to travel by the public shall immediately stop his or her vehicle at the scene of the accident and shall remain there until the requirements of section 619 are fulfilled or immediately report the accident to the nearest or most convenient police agency or officer to fulfill the requirements of section 619(a) and (b) if there is a reasonable and honest belief that remaining at the scene will result in further harm. The stop shall be made without obstructing traffic more than is necessary.

(2) Except as provided in subsection (3), if the individual violates subsection (1) and the accident results in serious impairment of a body function or death, the individual is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 5 years or by a fine of not more than $5,000.00, or both.

(3) If the individual violates subsection (1) following an accident caused by that individual and the accident results in the death of another individual, the individual is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 15 years or a fine of not more than $10,000.00, or both.”

Concerning the riding of bicycles on the road, MVC 257.660a Operation of bicycle upon highway or street; riding close to right-hand curb or edge of roadway; exceptions, states “A person operating a bicycle upon a highway or street at less than the existing speed of traffic shall ride as close as practiwcable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except as follows:

• (a) When overtaking and passing another bicycle or any other vehicle proceeding in the same direction,

• (b) When preparing to turn left,

• (c) When conditions make the right-hand edge of the roadway unsafe or reasonably unusable by bicycles, including, but not limited to, surface hazards, an uneven roadway surface, drain openings, debris, parked or moving vehicles or bicycles, pedestrians, animals, or other obstacles, or if the lane is too narrow to permit a vehicle to safely overtake and pass a bicycle,

• (d) When operating a bicycle in a lane in which the traffic is turning right but the individual intends to go straight through the intersection,

• (e) When operating a bicycle upon a one-way highway or street that has 2 or more marked traffic lanes, in which case the individual may ride as near the left-hand curb or edge of that roadway as practicable.

MVC 257.660b Operation of bicycle upon highway or street; riding more than 2 Abreast, states “Two or more individuals operating bicycles upon a highway or street shall not ride more than 2 abreast except upon a path or portion of the highway or street set aside for the use of bicycles.”

Bicyclists and vehicle drivers, please be aware of each other. Take the pledge to be a safe driver and rider at http://www.sharemiroads.org/index.php/pledge As of this writing, 1,483 riders and drivers have taken the pledge. Please add to this number.


Rob Herbstreith is a community service trooper with the Michigan State Police. If you any questions or comments please contact me at TrooperRob53@yahoo.com or call 269-683-4411.