New Roadway Safety Law Goes Into Effect Today-
Michigan Motorists Must Pass Bicyclists With at Least 3 Feet of Space
PA 280 of 2018 requires a motorist attempting to overtake a bicyclist traveling in the same direction to give at least three feet to the left of the bicyclist as they pass until they have safely passed the bicyclist. The motorist may drive to the left of the center of the highway to pass a bicyclist if it is safe to do so, regardless of if the vehicle is in a no-passing zone.
PA 279 of 2018 requires a motorist attempting to overtake a bicyclist traveling in the same direction to the left of the vehicle give at least three feet of distance to the right of the bicyclist until they have safely cleared the bicyclist.
Working with our membership and organizational partners, the League of Michigan Bicyclists (LMB) led the charge to enact this common-sense safety measure. "This is a major first step to educate the public and improve bicycle safety in Michigan. We are encouraged to see the overwhelming support from lawmakers, law enforcement, and the general public for this new law," said John Lindenmayer, LMB Executive Director. "Bicyclists on the roads are not just bicyclists, they are moms and dads, brothers and sisters, best friends, neighbors, and co-workers – they are people in our communities trying to safely navigate our streets. They also are vulnerable roadway users. These new laws recognize this and help to create a safer environment for all roadway users in Michigan."
Violations of PA 279 and 280 of 2018 are civil infractions resulting in a fine and three points on the motorist's record.
Until today, Michigan was one of only 11 states without a safe passing law. "We were really lagging behind other states on this issue," said Lindenmayer. Michigan saw a significant spike in bicycle fatalities in 2016, with 38 cyclists killed on Michigan roads. This was nearly double over the previous year. According to the Office of Safety Planning, 21 bicyclists were killed in crashes on Michigan roadways in 2017 and another 1,356 were injured. "We are encouraged that bicycle fatalities are down and optimistic that this new safe passing will help continue that trend since a significant portion of crashes and fatalities involve a motorist striking a cyclist from behind."
Also part of this bicycle safety package, PA 277 of 2018, will require Michigan's drivers education curriculum to include no less than one hour of classroom time devoted to laws pertaining to bicyclists, motorcyclists, and other vulnerable roadway users, including pedestrians. The laws of this state pertaining to bicyclists, motorcyclists, and other vulnerable roadway users shall also be incorporated to other parts of the drivers education curriculum where appropriate. This law will go into effect in Spring 2019.
In signing the legislation Governor Snyder noted, "Many Michiganders enjoy activities like bicycling, but these activities can leave them vulnerable to vehicles sharing the road. Drivers must exercise caution and maintain awareness around vulnerable roadway users."
LMB would like to thank all bicyclists and bicycling friends who supported the legislation. A special thank you to bill sponsors Representatives Hughes, Alexander, and Bizon, as well as Senators O'Brien and Knezek for their leadership and support of this legislation.
The League of Michigan Bicyclists is a statewide membership-based education and advocacy organization with a mission of promoting bicycling and the safety of bicyclists on Michigan roadways.
A FAQ about the new safe passing law can be found here (http://www.lmb.org/
Information about how the statewide 3-Foot Law interact with local 5-Foot ordinances enacted in various Michigan communities can be found here (http://www.lmb.org/
Safe passing yard signs and promotional materials can be found here (https://lmb.z2systems.com/
A detailed list of Michigan laws related to bicycling can be found here (http://www.lmb.org/
League of Michigan Bicyclists - John Lindenmayer