Cycling Can Be Dangerous on Michigan’s Local Streets

In late June, three young state residents facing disabilities were recognized by the Michigan Legislature for their efforts to make bicycling safer.

Nineteen-year-old James Kleimola of Ypsilanti, along with Katie Birchmeier and Conor Waterman of Saline, both 10, are involved in the Programs to Educate All Cyclists (PEAC). Last year, their testimony before the Michigan House and Senate Transportation committees as well as the Disability Caucus helped shepherd into law Complete Streets legislation that will ensure future transportation plans across the state take into account the needs of bicycle riders, senior citizens, the disabled, and children.

The young activists were passionate in communicating that for some local citizens, driving is not an option, and allowances should be make for safe alternatives like cycling. While their efforts are a step in right direction, bike safety is still a huge concern in places like Ypsilanti.

Tragic Death Reminder to Motorists, Bicycle Riders

In late June, a founding member of the Ann Arbor Bicycle Touring Society was killed in a bicycle accident . Eugene Howrey was struck by a dump truck when the driver neglected to yield the right of way while making a left-hand turn. Although Howrey had been wearing a helmet, he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Accidents like the one that took Eugene Howrey's life are not uncommon in the Ann Arbor area: in Washtenaw County, nearly a hundred cyclists were involved in crashes last year alone. Statewide in 2008, over 2,000 cyclers were struck by motor vehicles. Most of these collisions resulted in injury, and 25 were fatal.

Unfortunately, many motorists fail to notice the smaller visual profile presented by bicycles and their riders, or do not realize that cyclists have most of the same rights on the road as automobiles; in Michigan, bikers are permitted to occupy traffic lanes, and other drivers should appropriately yield the right of way as they would for any other vehicle.

If You Have Been Hurt

If you or a loved one has been involved in a serious bicycle accident, contact a local attorney today. Your attorney will ensure you receive the compensation you deserve, and can help you keep the streets safer for everyone by holding negligent drivers accountable.