Ann Arbor: Bike-Friendly City with Room for Improvement

Though Ann Arbor is regularly ranked as one of the top biking-friendly cities, bicyclists here understand that the reputation sometimes exceeds the reality.

Early in 2010, the Ann Arbor City Council eliminated some outdated bicycle ordinances and added some new, appropriate regulations. The city is also adding more than 10 miles of on-street bike lanes in 2010, raising the total to nearly 60 miles.

The problem for the change in bike ordinances is that few bicyclists or motorists appear to be aware of the modifications to city law. Some of the changes include the following:

  • The elimination of the "mandatory side path" ordinance. The law essentially stated that the City Council could deem any sidewalk in the city to be a bike path, making it illegal for bicyclists to pedal on the street. Interestingly, the law was never used, though "sidewalk bike route" signs littered the sides of streets, creating the misconception among motorists that on-road bicycling was prohibited there.
  • The law that allowed drivers to force bicyclists legally riding two abreast to form a single lane - simply by blowing their car's horn - was eliminated as well.
  • The city added an ordinance prohibiting motorists from driving or parking their vehicles in bike lanes (with some common-sense exceptions for turns, driveways, etc.).

Though these changes will take some time for drivers and bicyclists alike to fully adopt, city planners hope the modifications will diminish problems law-abiding bicyclists have with particular drivers; Aggressive drivers, motorists who drive too close to bicycles and drivers who don't pay attention to traffic conditions are people who often pose danger to cyclists.

Too often, aggressive or distracted drivers collide with bicyclists, causing serious injuries and even fatalities. In these cases, victims are urged to contact an experienced Michigan personal injury attorney who knows Ann Arbor bicycling laws. A personal injury lawyer assesses the facts of the case, helps determine who is liable for medical costs and other damages, and makes it possible for injury victims to receive full and fair compensation.

A bicyclist that is injured by a car or other motor vehicle is also entitled to full no-fault benefits, including payment of medical expenses and lost wages. This is true even if the injured bicyclist does not own a car or have a personal policy of no-fault insurance.