Safety first: Trooper explains rules of the road for bicyclists, motorists

IRON MOUNTAIN – With summer weather finally upon us, more and more residents are choosing bicycles as a mode of transportation.

Since approximately 2,000 bicyclists are injured or killed in automobile-related crashes each year in Michigan, troopers from the Iron Mountain post of the Michigan State Police would like to remind both bicyclists and motorists of relevant laws and safety tips when it comes to sharing the road.

Geno Basanese, community service trooper, said that his office often receives questions about bicycle safety from the public at this time of year.

“Mostly, they want to know who has the right way – the bicycle or the vehicle,” he explained. “The answer is, they both do.”

According to Basanese, Michigan law allows bicyclists and moped riders to travel in traffic lanes, as long as they stay as far to the right as practical.

“Practical does not mean as far to the right as possible, it means safe and reasonable,” he noted. “There may be road obstructions such as potholes or uneven road surfaces that may dictate where in the lane of traffic a bicyclist will travel.”

When passing a bicyclist, motorists should allow at least three feet of clearance.

Motorists should not pass a bicyclist on two-lane roads with no paved shoulder when oncoming traffic is present, on curves or over the crest of a hill, or on the right shoulder of the roadway.

Bicyclists have some responsibilities as well.

Basanese recommends that they wear a properly-fitted bicycle helmet, wear light-colored or reflective clothing at night, use a light on the front of the bicycle and a reflector on the back to aid in nighttime visibility, obey all traffic signals and lights, travel on the right side of the road with the flow of traffic, look both ways and walk the bicycle across busy intersections, and be cautious of any doors on parked cars that could open suddenly.

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