Last year, there were 965 motor vehicle accidents involving a total of 1,260 bicyclists. In these crashes, 29 bicyclists died and another 971 were injured, according to the latest statistics on Michigan bicycle accidents.
Like motorcycles, bicycles offer minimal protection from the impact of a crash, especially when hit by a car or truck. While wearing a bike helmet offers some protection, a cyclist is far more likely to be killed or suffer serious injuries in a collision with a motor vehicle or stationary object such as a tree. Michigan bicycle accidents happen for a variety of reasons, but many can be prevented by following certain safety protocols. Here is a guide to the most common causes of bicycle accidents, along with some safety recommendations for drivers and cyclists.
Recommended reading: 10 Michigan Cycling Laws You Need To Know
DO BICYCLISTS HAVE TO OBEY MICHIGAN TRAFFIC LAWS?
Generally, yes. According to the Michigan Vehicle Code, bicyclists must follow the same basic traffic laws as motorists.
This means bicyclists must obey all traffic lights, stop signs and other posted directives. They are required to travel on the right half of the road, following the flow of traffic, and may not ride more than two abreast. It is also illegal to ride a bicycle on a freeway or expressway. Additionally, bicyclists are subject to specific regulations regarding hand signals, lights and other safety-related issues. Cyclists who violate these statutes can be ticketed just like automobile drivers.
Detailed information on Michigan bicycle laws is available on the League of Michigan Bicyclists website.
Recommended reading: New Michigan Passing Laws Make Roads Safer for Bicyclists
WHAT ARE THE MOST FREQUENT CAUSES OF MICHIGAN BICYCLE ACCIDENTS?
There are two main types of bicycle accidents:
These accidents occur when a cyclist loses control and falls due to hazardous weather, icy roads or unexpected obstacles
- Accidents involving a motor vehicle, either directly or indirectly
These crashes typically result in more serious injuries, especially when a bicyclist is struck by a moving vehicle
Following is a list of the most common causes of Michigan bicycle accidents:
- Motorists failing to yield the right of way to cyclists
- Excessive speeding
- driving (or cycling) under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Distracted driving or bicycling, such as texting or using a hand-held cell phone
- Changing lanes suddenly or without signaling
- Failing to allow three feet of clearance, or five feet in certain municipalities, when passing bicyclists
- Backing out of driveways or parking spaces without looking
- Disobeying traffic signals, stop signs and other rules of the road
- Bicyclists chased or attacked by a dog while riding
- Weaving in and out of lanes or other unpredictable behavior
- Bicycling after dark without required lighting equipment and other visibility aids such as reflective clothing or accessories
- Disobeying Michigan’s three-foot passing law and forcing a cyclist to swerve out of the way
Recommended reading: Michigan E-bike laws
WHEN DO MOST MICHIGAN BICYCLE ACCIDENTS OCCUR?
Last year, 210 crashes involving bicycles occurred in September, more than in any other month. Surprisingly, the highest number of bicycle-related accidents were on Tuesdays rather than during the weekend. And, the majority of Michigan bicycle accidents (372) happened between 3 p.m. and 5:59 p.m., with the next highest number (269) occurring between noon and 2:59 p.m.
WHICH MICHIGAN COUNTY HAD THE MOST BICYCLE ACCIDENTS?
Wayne County had 281 bicycle accidents, significantly more than Macomb (141), Oakland (136) and Kent (114) Counties. With the exception of Washtenaw County, which had 62 bicycle crashes, the other Michigan counties had fewer than 50 bike accidents, including many with 10 or less.
Of the 29 cyclists killed in accidents last year, 26 were male while three were female. The highest number of deaths (eight) occurred among males in the 55-64 age group.
Recommended reading: 2021 Michigan Car Accident Deaths Hit Record High
ARE MICHIGAN BICYCLISTS REQUIRED TO WEAR HELMETS?
While Michigan does not have a statewide helmet law for bicyclists, some municipalities have enacted their own ordinances. For example, the City of Farmington Hills, Michigan, requires anyone under the age of 16 to wear a helmet when rollerblading or riding a bicycle or skateboard, and helmets are mandatory for cyclists under 18 in East Grand Rapids. Although adults are not legally required to wear helmets, numerous studies show that a properly fitted bike helmet reduces the potential for serious head injuries in the event of a Michigan bicycle accident.
OUR EXPERIENCED MICHIGAN BICYCLE ACCIDENT LAWYERS FIGHT FOR THE COMPENSATION YOU DESERVE
If you or a loved one is injured in a bicycle accident, we can help. Our skilled legal team knows what it takes to win your case, and we have the expertise and resources to make sure you receive all the benefits you and your family are entitled to.
Bicycle accident law is complicated, but finding the right Michigan bicycle accident lawyer is simple.
Don’t let the legal clock run out. To get your case started, fill out the brief form below or call 1-800-CALL-SAM for a free, no-obligation consultation.