You Can’t Do That on Bicycles: Rules of the Road for Cyclists in Michigan
With gas prices skyrocketing, you can expect more people to break out their bikes to get from point "A" to "B" more often now. And while I was looking for good bike trails in the area on reddit, a post from user u/Afraid_Foot on the r/kzoo thread caught my eye.
They said they were riding their bike down Nazareth Rd., when someone in a car passed them and yelled to "get out of the road," and onto the bike lane.
"I'm not saying that is wrong, and you can certainly yell that if a bike lane exists, but the shoulder of a road is not a bike lane." - u/Afraid_Foot
According to Michigan law...
"If riding your bike below the posted speed limit, a cyclist is required to ride as close as practicable to the right hand curb or edge of the road." - Michiganbicyclelaw.com
Most bike lanes are designated with road markings, so motorists should be aware of where those are, and be vigilant about bike riders. But it should be noted, most bike lanes are typically built ON the shoulder of the road in Michigan, which complies with state law.
There are some exceptions, and judging by this reddit users' post, it sounds like they justifiably may have veered into the road a little more than usual.
This got me curious about bicycling laws in Michigan, and with more people pulling out their bikes for the summer (and to save on gas), I thought maybe we should revisit some of these rules of the road for cyclists.
Can you Ride Your Bike on the Sidewalk?
Short answer - yes. But keep in mind, the sidewalks literally have the word "walk" in them. They're built for the walking pedestrian. So cyclists who choose to ride on the sidewalks must give right of way to walkers. You might also keep an eye out for specific postings about bikes on sidewalks, as some neighborhoods, and property owners may restrict bike use to the road, per local ordinance requirements.
How Many People can Ride on Your Bike at Once?
How many seats you got? Because that's the answer. All those times you put your friend up on the handlebars, or had them stand on the back "Pegs" as you rode through town... you were actually breaking the law.
"A bicycle may not be used to carry more people than the bicycle is designed and equipped to carry. In other words, riding 'double' is prohibited."
Brush up on Your Hand Signals
Yeah, I couldn't remember them either, but they were pretty easy to recall once I saw them.
For those who need the refresher:
Other Cyclist Rules of the Road:
- Cyclists must not ride more than two bicycles abreast (wide) while traveling on a road
- Cyclists must use lights on their person, or their bicycles if they are riding an hour and a half before sunrise, or an hour and a half after sunset.
- A bicycle must be equipped with a brake (seems like common sense?)
- A cyclist may NOT carry any packages that prevent them from keeping both hands on the handlebars (but you can take your hand off the handlebars for hand signals?)
- Don't ride your bicycle on limited-access highways (because... duh!)
- There is no law requiring helmets to be worn, or for riders to stay off their cell phones while cyclists are operating their bikes, but it is STRONGLY encouraged (the helmet one), and discouraged (the cell phone one).
- A cyclist may NOT attach himself to his bicycle to a streetcar or vehicle upon a roadway.
Notice on that one, it EXPLICITLY only mentions men... I wonder why.
Stay safe out there cyclists.