Michigan Bicycle Versus Vehicle Accidents

April 14, 2016 |
Michigan Bicycle Versus Vehicle Accidents
Cyclist lying on the road after an accident on a sunny day

Michigan Bicycle Laws

There are many different Michigan laws that are applicable to bicycles and bicyclists including:

Section 257.4[1] of the statute defines "bicycle" as:

"...a device propelled by human power upon which a person may ride, having either 2 or 3 wheels in a tandem or tricycle arrangement, all of which are over 14 inches in diameter."

Section 257.657 of the MVC states:

"Each person riding a bicycle...upon a roadway has all of the rights and is subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this chapter, except as to special regulations in this article and except as to the provisions of this chapter which by their nature do not have application."

This includes speed limits, stop signs and stop lights.

Michigan Bicyclists Use of the Road

A Michigan bicyclist is permitted to ride on a highway or street as long as they ride as close to the right-hand curb or edge[2] of the roadway except as follows:

(a) When overtaking and passing another bicycle or any other vehicle proceeding in the same direction.

(b) When preparing to turn left.

(c) When conditions make the right-hand edge of the roadway unsafe or reasonably unusable by bicycles, including, but not limited to, surface hazards, an uneven roadway surface, drain openings, debris, parked or moving vehicles or bicycles, pedestrians, animals, or other obstacles, or if the lane is too narrow to permit a vehicle to safely overtake and pass a bicycle.

(d) When operating a bicycle in a lane in which the traffic is turning right but the individual intends to go straight through the intersection.

(e) When operating a bicycle upon a 1-way highway or street that has 2 or more marked traffic lanes, in which case the individual may ride as near the left-hand curb or edge of that roadway as practicable.

Space Given by Michigan Passing Motor Vehicles

Because a bicyclist has as much right to the road as does a motorist, a motor vehicle coming up behind a cyclist has a responsibility not to pass unless and until it is safe to do so. The motorist may need to slow down and wait until there is enough space, or change lanes. Except for moving to the far right of the lane, it is not the cyclist’s duty to stop or otherwise get out of the motorist’s way.

Liability in Michigan Bicycle Versus Vehicle Collisions

When a collision occurs between a bicycle and a vehicle, a determination of who is liable is usually case specific.  In many cases, liability is based upon whoever had the right-of-way at the time of the accident.  One example is a right turn right-of-way in Michigan bicycle accidents.

Right Turn Right-of-Way in Michigan Bicycle Accidents

One of the most common causes of bicycle accidents is a collision with a car turning right. While making a right turn, a car passes through the path of a cyclist, whether the cyclist is traveling in a traffic lane or in a bike lane. Some of these accidents happen when a car passes a cyclist, then slows down while turning right, moving directly into the path of a bicyclist who has nowhere to turn. Or a motorist simply turns right directly into a cyclist without seeing, and often without looking for, the bike.  In either of these situations, the motorist is liable for the accident. One of the basic rules of the road is that a vehicle may not make a turn unless it is safe to do so. Because a cyclist has as much right to the road as a motor vehicle, and because side-of-the-road laws force cyclists to the right, a cyclist is entitled to continue straight through an intersection without yielding to a motorist turning right.

Contact a Michigan Bicycle Attorney

Representing bicycle accident victims requires a team of aggressive investigators and lawyers all devoting their maximum effort to their clients.  If you have been involved in a bicycle/vehicle collision, it is important to speak to an experienced Michigan bicycle attorney as soon as possible. Please do not hesitate to call Michigan Injury Lawyers at 313-GET-HELP for a free consultation today.