As summer time slowly creeps up, it's time for cyclists to return to the road! Knowing bicycle safety laws is not only important for riders, but drivers as well. The League of Michigan Bicyclists have compiled a page of common questions on laws pertaining to cyclists. In this article, we cover and discuss some of the key points. These laws can change overtime, so keeping yourself informed and up to date is important. Share this blog with family and loved ones to ensure they are always safe when on the road!
Bikes are made to ride the road!
A common misconception is that bicycles are not meant to be ridden on the road. A bicyclist has the right to ride on the road, as well as on the sidewalks. When on the road, a cyclist must follow the laws of the road. THIS INCLUDES STOP SIGNS!!! Following all laws correctly makes you more predictable to driver's, helping prevent accidents.
Ride with traffic, never against!
You may hear some people say, "I would never ride on the right side of the road, it's stupid to ride with your back to traffic!" Not only is this incorrect, it is a very dangerous sentiment to spread. When riding in the road, always stay as close to the right side edge as practically possible. There are just a few exceptions to this rule:
Sidewalks are not encouraged!
Although cyclists are permitted to ride on sidewalks, it is not recommended. Safety hazards for cyclists and pedestrians are greater on sidewalks than in roadways. If you don't believe me, here is a Cornell study on sidewalk cyclists. If you are cycling on the sidewalks, there are rules to follow:
Use hand signals when turning!
Using hand signals alerts everyone of what you are doing. Being predictable is the number one way to assure your own safety when riding your bicycle.
Having lights is the law!
According to Michigan state law, cyclists must have a front light, as well as a strong rear reflector. We strongly recommend a rear light with as well.
Helmets save lives!
If you don't wear a helmet when on a bicycle, you're wrong. Although Michigan law does not require wearing a helmet while riding a bike, we STRONGLY suggest ALWAYS wearing your helmet. Over 70 percent of fatal bike crashes involve the head, while just 18 percent of cyclists wear helmets. Whether you decide to wear a helmet or not, please encourage all youth to do the correct thing, wear a helmet.
Always use common sense!
It is extremely important for all drivers and cyclists to know the rules of the road. Using common sense while riding your bike will go a long way towards keeping you safe. We encourage you to share these tips with friends, family, and any youth in your life. Wearing a helmet, stopping at stop signs, riding with traffic, etc. are all very simple ways to ensure you or your favorite rider stay safe, while enjoying the sport that we all love!