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Michigan Bicycle Laws in 2021

When the weather warms up, you may want to get out there and enjoy a leisurely bike ride, or perhaps you cycle for exercise. Before you go, take some time to brush up on Michigan bicycling laws. Bicyclists are expected to obey the same traffic laws as cars, trucks, and motorcycles. Likewise, if you break a traffic law while bicycling, you’ll be subject to tickets and fines. You need to know the rules to enjoy riding throughout the cycling season both safely and legally.

Rules of the Road

Michigan Bicycle Laws 2021
Image via Flickr by rykerstribe | Licensed by CC BY 2.0

When biking, It’s important to know and understand the rules of the road. You need to ride in the same direction as traffic, not in the opposite direction. You must ride on the right side of the roadway. If there’s a bike lane, make sure you’re riding in it and not crowding the flow of vehicle traffic. You’ll also have a higher degree of safety in a bike lane, where available, so definitely make use of it. If you’re riding on a one-way street, you are permitted to cycle in the far left lane, as long as you’re still following the flow of traffic.

If you’re biking with companions, you’re not permitted to ride with more than one other cyclist next to you. The only exception to this rule is if you’re biking with others on a pathway or a portion of the road designated solely for bicyclists. However, safety experts recommend riding single-file over riding side by side. The only time this rule may be relaxed is if you’re riding entirely off-road, in a park, or on a biking trail where you’re not sharing any space with motor vehicles.

Here are some other bicycling rules to keep in mind and help avoid bicycle accidents:

  • Cycling is prohibited on expressways.
  • You’re not permitted to carry more people than your bike is equipped to handle, namely, usually not more than one passenger, unless you’re riding a two-seater bike.
  • Never attach your bike to a moving vehicle or grab onto a vehicle while riding.
  • Don’t ride without both hands on the handlebars or carry any items that could prevent you from doing so.
  • If you’re riding a half-hour after sunset or a half-hour before sunrise, you’re required to have a white headlight on the front of your bike and a red reflector on the back of the bicycle. For added visibility and safety, reflectors on your wheels and pedals are optional but recommended.

Using Cyclist Navigation Signals

Before stopping or turning, check traffic conditions and then signal clearly. Allow ample time to alert motorists to your intended direction, using the following hand signals:

  • To signal that you’re going to make a right turn, extend your right arm or upturn your left arm.
  • To signal that you’re turning left, extend your left arm.
  • If you need to slow down or stop, extend your left arm facing straight down, with your palm facing the rear.

If a motorist passes you on the left, they must allow a 3-foot distance between their vehicle and a bicyclist. Drivers aren’t permitted to use the shoulder to pass a bicyclist on the right. Some municipalities have 5-foot passing ordinances, so drivers should check local laws.

What Should You Do if You’re in a Bicycle Accident?

In the unfortunate event that you’re involved in a biking accident with a motorist, it’s necessary to take steps to protect yourself and possibly also protect others. Take the following steps immediately following an accident:

  • Call the police right away, and they’ll come to the scene and write up a traffic crash report.
  • If you’re not too injured, get all the motorist information that you can. If you’re incapacitated, the police will gather it for you. Information will include the motorist’s name, address, driver’s license number, and insurance information; the vehicle’s license plate number; and the vehicle owner’s details if the driver is not the owner.
  • Record the make, model, and color of the vehicle.
  • If there were any witnesses to the accident, get their names, addresses, and telephone contact information.

Get Prompt Medical Attention

Get medical attention even if you feel fine. Don’t refuse to be taken to the emergency room by an ambulance, police officers, or a family member or friend who comes to the scene to help. It’s difficult to know if you’ve sustained injuries immediately, as some may be internal. You may also be in shock and thus unaware of any injuries. You may be running on adrenaline or nerves or have an injury that makes you unaware of your condition.

Get checked out by a doctor at the ER. It’s better to get evaluated and find out you’re OK than to end up making a possible injury worse by continuing with normal activities immediately following an accident.

Do I Need to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney?

If you’re in Michigan in any of the areas we serve, don’t hesitate to seek legal advice and counsel from the experienced attorneys at Goodman Acker P.C., Personal Injury Attorneys. We have decades of experience representing personal injury clients. During your initial contact, we’ll advise you on some of your fundamental legal rights and issues you need to be aware of, especially if the motorist’s insurance company contacts you.

In the case of an accident, it’s important to keep this advice in mind:

  • In most cases, it’s essential to make sure any evidence is preserved and that you have an expert begin work on your case before any evidence starts to disappear.
  • Contacting an attorney as soon as possible after a crash is one of the most important actions you can take.
  • Don’t give a statement to the motorist or car owner’s insurance company. You’re under no legal obligation to do so. You need to be aware that an adjuster or investigator from an insurance company will often present themselves as wanting to help you when they’re trying to avoid having to make a payout to you if the motorist has injured you in the accident. Your answers may be turned around and used against you later, so it’s best not to engage in any conversation with them.

Being involved in an accident while biking is unfortunate, but with the proper legal representation, you can recover and be compensated for any injuries you may have sustained. Please don’t hesitate to give Goodman Acker a call or contact us online. Phone and video consultations are available 24/7, with no obligation. This initial consultation is free to you, and you don’t have to worry about paying out-of-pocket legal fees unless you win.

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