Remember bicycle safety as you hit the road this spring

Possibly, spring has arrived, which means the bicycles and motorcycles will be dusted off and out on the roads. I would like to use this week’s article to remind all riders and drivers of a few laws and of course, safety.

First, for bicyclists, 257.660a Operation of bicycle upon highway or street; riding close to right-hand curb or edge of roadway states, “A person operating a bicycle upon a highway or street at less than the existing speed of traffic shall ride as close as practicable 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 1-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.”

I have received numerous calls at dispatch from vehicle drivers asking about bicyclists “taking up the whole road.”

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 are allowed to ride on the sidewalk, however, there are responsibilities to the pedestrians.

MVC 257.660c, Operation of bicycle upon sidewalk or pedestrian crosswalk, states “(1) An individual operating a bicycle upon a sidewalk or a pedestrian crosswalk shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing a pedestrian.(2) An individual shall not operate a bicycle upon a sidewalk or a pedestrian crosswalk if that operation is prohibited by an official traffic control device.(3) An individual lawfully operating a bicycle upon a sidewalk or a pedestrian crosswalk has all of the rights and responsibilities applicable to a pedestrian using that sidewalk or crosswalk.

Finally, concerning bicyclists, texting is not allowed.

MVC 257.661, Carrying package, bundle, or article on bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, moped, or motorcycle, states, “A person operating a bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, moped, or motorcycle shall not carry any package, bundle, or article that prevents the driver from keeping both hands upon the handlebars of the vehicle.”

Niles residents, there are free registration forms to have all bicycles registered with the police department. This is an excellent crime prevention tool in the event your bicycle is lost or stolen. Dowagiac, Edwardsburg and Cassopolis readers, please check with the local police department to verify there is a program in place for this in your local community.

Next week, I will continue with more bicycle laws and safety rules and some motorcycle laws.

 

Rob Herbstreith is a community service trooper with the Michigan State Police Niles post. Questions or comments can be emailed to TrooperRob53@yahoo.com

 

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