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Posted on Tue, Jun 26, 2012 : 9:52 p.m.

Bicyclist killed in crash at Dexter-Pinckney and North Territorial roads

By Cindy Heflin

A 53-year-old Dexter Township woman died Tuesday evening when the bicycle she was riding collided with a vehicle at Dexter-Pinckney and North Territorial roads, north of Dexter.

The woman had been riding her bike south on Dexter-Pinckney Road when she stopped at the intersection with North Territorial to take a break, said Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Derrick Jackson. When she resumed riding, she came up out of a ditch along the roadway and crossed North Territorial Road, riding into the path of the vehicle, which was traveling west on North Territorial, Jackson said.

It was not clear who had the right-of-way, he said. “It looks like it was a very unfortunate accident,” Jackson said. The woman was wearing a helmet and was believed to have been a very experienced bicyclist, he said.

Deputies were still at the scene investigating at 9:30 p.m., he said. The intersection was closed for the investigation after the accident, which occurred shortly after 6 p.m.

View 2012 Washtenaw County Traffic Reports in a larger map



Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 6:12 p.m.

@ Bryan Ellinger: I am also aware of the saying/bumper sticker, "Same Road, Same Rules," a phrase that would get you laughed off the road in most places in the world, and run off and probably killed if you attempted to live by it: The rules of both visibility and physics are vastly different, meaning that the rules of survivability are vastly different. And the rules of possible consequences for any given act are vastly different, meaning that about the worst thing a cyclist could do to your car as his/her dying act is dent the fender. And Outside, above, recounts the very kind of extremely common incident that happens all the time, that reinforces my position: an SUV, whose driver quite possibly didn't even see her, missed her by inches She writes, "If I had swerved the tiniest amount I would have been dead." She received the information about the close call only when the SUV passed her, much too late to have done anything had it been a couple of inches to the right. Me, I'd have seen it coming, and had time to get over, or get off the road.


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 1:45 p.m.

@ Bryan Ellinger, re: "Riding against traffic is irresponsible..." My take is that surviving is the responsible course of action. And that leaving that solely up to the drivers behind me would be crazy. But I don't expect to change either your mind, or the laws. All I know is that I feel very unsafe not knowing what the potential killers racing up on me are doing. As W. Cooper said above (talking to drivers), "You are in a 3000+ pound vehicle and you are coming up BEHIND the cyclist most times so they may not hear you or see you." We all agree that that is a fact. To accept it and yet do nothing about it seems like crazy fatalism to me. I might as well raise my hnds to the heavens and say, "My life is in God's hands!" But that is not the best plan, especially since He/She seems to be gunning for us. Instead, I check for eye contact, vehicle drift, and amazingly, I have the common sense not to drive in front of cars that are going to T-bone me — I either stop, slow down, or ride across behind them. I have had no close calls doing this, nothing even close. The closest call I've ever had was back in the '60s, when I heard a long screech of brakes behind me on Washtenaw. I don't know what actually happened — Duh! I was riding WITH traffic, so of course I was looking the wrong way to see! — but I don't ride on Washtenaw anymore, and I make sure that I am the one in control of my fate out there, instead of leaving whether I survive or not up to a long series of literally hundreds of car drivers per day.


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 12:47 p.m.

It sounds like, from the initial reports coming in, that this is indeed a tragic accident. The other tragedy is that the some people want to immediately attack bicyclists as being in the wrong place. According to the Michigan Transportation code, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as a motor vehicle. Notice that I said both rights and responsibilities. So sharing the road is not an option for either group - it is the law. For those of you who make comments about cyclists being such law breakers, your are also very well aware of all of the motor vehicle violations that occur in this area. By far there are more motor vehicle violations than violations by cyclists. Those cyclist that don't abide by the State of Michigan Vehicle code do indeed give cycling a bad image - but they are by far the minority of riders. I have driven a car and ridden my bike in the Ann Arbor area for over 30 years, and it is clear that there are many more drivers of motor vehicles that violate the law than cyclists. I can't count the number of times I've been harassed by cars while riding my bike- but I have never harassed a motor vehicle! I've never tried to run a car off the road; I've never thrown things at cars as they pass by; I've never yelled obscenities at cars or trucks as they passed close enough to me that I could reach out and touch their vehicle. But you know what? I've never been harassed like that while I'm driving my car. So the time for a change is at hand. It is time for all users of the road to share the road. It is the law, not an option. And it is time to include bicycle use and safety in driver's education courses. The reality is that more and more people are using alternative transportation - bicycles, mopeds, electric cars, etc - to get to where they want to go. Most bicyclists are also owners of cars. Drivers of motor vehicles, by law, are required to give the same right of ways that they do for motor vehicles; and visa versa.


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 12:34 p.m.

I used to make a loop near Chelsea using two dirt roads Fletcher, Trinkle, and Freer posted at 25mph. I wore a helmet. I had to ride Dexter Chelsea Rd. to complete the loop. I stayed as far on the right as I possibly could, one day a big white SUV went by going at least 55mph without moving over at all, the side view mirror missed me by inches. If I had swerved the tiniest amount I would have been dead and for however self centered and uncaring that person was I am sure that killing a young mother would have been pretty inconvenient. There are people riding that road in from Ann Arbor and Dexter on a regular basis, lets build some sort of bike paths. I called around to see about a bike path and was told a path would have to be 8 feet wide and cost I forget what ridiculous sum of money. Give me a break! Lets put 3 foot wide paths save some lives and get some exercise. It would be so lovely to have paths on the scenic routes between towns.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 10:58 p.m.

@ Bryan Ellinger: Re: "1. Cars... aren't expecting traffic to be coming at them from the wrong way... they'll plow right into you." As I said, "I assume they are all out to kill me, so I ride accordingly." Problem #1 solved. "2. How the heck are you going to make a right turn?" Well, first you cross the street... Problem #2 solved. "3. Cars will approach you at a much higher relative speed." Right. I can do the math: 50 mph - 10 mph = 40 mph, and 50 mph + 10 mph = 60 mph. Either way I'm dead. Granted, I leave behind a prettier corpse doing it your way. But doing it my way, I have the option of seeing it coming, and getting out of the way. Problem #3 solved. "4. Head on confrontations with cyclists." Encountering someone who happens to be heading in the other direction? Problem #4 solved millions of times daily by cyclists world-wide! ******** The idea of putting my chances of survival almost 100% in the hands of a stranger who may well be drunk is unthinkable. Those teensy rear-view mirrors just don't cut it when you are making eye contact, and trying to assess a driver. And if you don't make eye contact, be ready to hit the ditch if you have to! I will gladly pay any tickets that I, or any of my loved ones, might receive. The option of riding with my back to the traffic is just too dangerous, as we were all taught back in the '50s.


Fri, Jun 29, 2012 : 3:34 a.m.

Well thank you for putting other people at risk because you don't want to follow the law or common sense. You might feel safer, but in reality bicyclists riding against traffic are 3 times more likely to be involved in a collision.

Bryan Ellinger

Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 3:18 a.m.

Your "solutions" are bogus and overconfident. Riding against traffic is irresponsible and rude. Perhaps you feel you are superior to the majority of cyclists in, say, Fort Collins where 99 of 112 broadside accidents between motorists and cyclists (2007-2009) involved cyclists riding against traffic ( Teaching children to ride this way is shameful. Let's hope that riders adhering to this flawed idea survive to reevaluate and adopt a safer approach.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 5:02 p.m.

First thing go out to family for your loss, and to the driver who must feel terrible. Bikers! If you want to share a 2 lane, heavy traffic road you should help! Cars pay a gas tax, and licence plate tax, and may dollars of sales tax. The State should make the bike purchase a licence plate, like boats, snowmobiles to pay for a paved shoulder. You get what you pay for.... and bikes pay for almost nothing. Come on bikers, we have snow 3 months a year and you want bike paths for free. We can share the road, but let share the cost. Michigan has the worst roads around, but have a $1,000,000 bridge at US-23 and Geddes paid for by cars!


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 12:38 p.m.

Cars pollute the air and we all pay for that, time to look at the real cost of things, Landshaper.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 9:47 p.m.

FWIW, I don't ride a bicycle but would love to have my tax dollars pay for a bike lane. Why? Because I would feel really crappy if I ran over someone on a bike.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 8:06 p.m.

Right Diogenes. I drive and I bike often and I pay and I want what I pay to go to bike lanes and facilities because I have to ride with drivers and drive with bikes.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 5:33 p.m.

I'd venture a guess that over 90% of bike riders over the age of 21 also drive a car, and thus pay taxes. Of the ones who don't, most will drive before long. It's simply an error to suggest that bicyclists don't share the cost of roads.

Frank Lee

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 4:34 p.m.

My condolences to this women's family. The party at fault or if this was a genuine accident is not my concern. The fact that a car and bicycle came together is. With distracted/impaired driving being the number one concern on our roadways, I will never understand why people encourage or choose to combine bicycle and foot traffic with them. It's completely counterintuitive. You are rolling the dice each time you choose to and fighting a losing battle. The technology and ability is already available to disable electronic devices in moving vehicles, install BPT's as standard equipment, Install bumper/blind spot sensors as standard equipment, implement improved/annual drivers training, etc. As logical as it seems to implement these things, the lobbyists for corporate America speak louder than us and have more influence. You cannot change the fact that the almighty dollar is of greater concern than our safety. Our roadways were designed to move motorized vehicle traffic. The fact that people have to actually operate the vehicle they're "driving" is a nuisance to most in this age of instant gratification/automation. Drivers will do most anything to pass this time of inconvenience (enter endless list here). Looking out for anything other than 4 or greater wheeled vehicles who share the road, doesn't even enter their equation. Signaling for a turn or lane change and facilitating traffic flow are already things of the past. The number of bicycle, motorcycle, and pedestrian fatalities will only grow and become more common if we continue to share the roadway . Please do your best to not become a statistic.

W. Cooper

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 4:28 p.m.

Everytime there is an accident involving a person on a bike it never fails that people start blaming people riding bikes on the road. They shouldn't do this, they don't follow rules, blah, blah, blah. The truth is that you, in your car, have the most control. You are in a 3000+ pound vehicle and you are coming up BEHIND the cyclist most times so they may not hear you or see you. The cyclist has little protection other than their helmet. I wish people would just stop it! We are all human beings, period. We should watch out for each other, period. There shouldn't be blame, excuses, some biker did this, or should haves. Very few of us follow all of the laws all of the time. Always drive the speed limit? Wear your seat belt? Never pass on the right? Always stop for pedestrians? Ever have a cracked windshield? Ever drive with a light out? Smile, slow down, and enjoy your day, and remember we are all in this together.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 5:55 p.m.

Yes cyclists have no protection which means they must follow the same laws on the roads that cars do. Im not saying this happened here. But far to often I see bicyclists cut through traffic, fail to stop at intersections and stop signs. To say that cars have the most control is ludicrous. If they dont hear or see you, maybe they should pull out the ear plugs and be aware of what is around them. This accident looks like it was unavoidable and my heart goes out to both parties involved. But your response is very one sided. The rules apply to everyone on the road with a motor or without one. The laws currently almost always blame the person in the car as opposed to the student on state street that jumps out in front of traffic to run across the street or the bicyclist that races to beat a car and goes through a stop sign. I think in tragedies like this everyone should be accountable.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 4:12 p.m.

What a terrible tragedy! I don't know if this specific accident could have been avoided but I do know that the way both of those roads are designed makes them dangerous for bicyclists. A bike lane would be ideal but even paved shoulders would be a huge improvement. It might cost us a little more in taxes but could save us in lives lost.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 2:29 p.m.

As a couple of people have noted, there are rights and laws, and then there is common sense. Last summer, my son announced his intention to ride his bike the fifteen miles or so from our campsite at Pictured Rocks to Grand Marais, by way of the newly-widened (unfortunately!) H-13. I told him to H*** with the law, ride facing the traffic on that windy road, just as we were taught to do when we were kids! I told him that I would happily pay any ticket he got rather than think of cars that he could not monitor visually coming up behind him blind. It is just common sense, but people who are incredulous when they see pedestrians walking with their backs to the traffic will honk at a cyclist riding the safe way. That's one of my takes on common sense v the law. Another is, sure, it's legal to ride your recumbent out Washtenaw at rush hour, but you have to be nuts to do so. I don't ride on streets like that, and I cannot see the appeal of riding on roads like Dex/Pink — I myself would not find it at all fun, since no way am I going to ride with my back to the drivers most likely to kill me! And I would get honked at constantly, or even ticketed, if I chose the safer option of riding on the left. I stick to smaller roads, dirt roads, sidewalks (not downtown, of course) and trails. And I assume they are all out to kill me, so I ride accordingly. It makes for a much more peaceful ride.

Bryan Ellinger

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 6:26 p.m.

Riding against traffic may seem like a good idea because you can see the cars that are passing you, but it's not. Here's why: 1. Cars which pull out of driveways, parking lots, and cross streets (ahead of you and to the left), which are making a right onto your street, aren't expecting traffic to be coming at them from the wrong way. They won't see you, and they'll plow right into you. 2. How the heck are you going to make a right turn? 3. Cars will approach you at a much higher relative speed. If you're going 15mph, then a car passing you from behind doing 35 approaches you at a speed of only 20 (35-15). But if you're on the wrong side of the road, then the car approaches you at 50 (35+15), which is more than twice as fast! Since they're approaching you faster, both you and the driver have lots less time to react. And if a collision does occur, it's going to be at a faster relative speed. 4. Head on confrontations with cyclists who know 1 - 3.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 2:24 p.m.

I don't know what the specifics of this accident were and these comments are not directed at the victims (the person killed, her family, or the driver of the car), but this should not have happened. I have seen too many bicyclists that think they own the roads recently. Yesterday, while in Ann Arbor I witnessed this wonderful piece of bicycle riding. Individual is riding, without a helmet, down a major road that has a bike lane. I passed the biker but had to stop for a red light. The bike, in the bike lane blows by me and then blows through the red light. Eventually I get a green light and pass him back. I come up to another red light. Bike goes blowing by me and the through the red light. This happened 4 times. On the forth time the guy turned and almost got clobbered by a car going through the light on a green light. Every driver needs to be aware of the bicycles around them, but at the same time, bicyclists need to understand they have to follow the same traffic laws that cars do while on the road. They also have the additional responsibility of being as close to the right side of the road as safely possibly while riding. This means don't ride side by side and don't ride on the middle of the road on a smooth road. Some roads in this area are in terrible shape and as such riders can't safely ride near the right side, and have to ride near the middle of the lane because it is the only safe section of the lane. Automobile riders need to be aware of this fact as well. To everyone, please lets just share the road. There is enough space for both bikes and cars even on the busiest roads is we all just pay attention and follow the traffic laws. Bicyclists. Please remember that when riding you ride with the flow of traffic, not against. I've seen too many bikes recentsly (usually kids, but also adults), riding against the flow of traffic. That is unsafe and needs to stop, please.

Bryan Ellinger

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 4:21 p.m.

Good comments, chapmaja. There are plenty of people in general who think they "own the road". The "individual" running lights has no sense of preservation. It is baffling why someone would operate any vehicle like that. It also leads to some awkward moments when motorists so accustomed to upredictable cyclists will encourage me with a wave to steal the right of way at intersections etc.. Other valid reasons for a cyclist to take the lane: when the road is too narrow for cars to safely pass (such as on portions of Eisenhower), and when riding past parked cars as not to get "doored" (YMCA is a big one). The implication that cars (drivers) follow the rules is funny, though. Every day countless motorists can be seen speeding, running stop signs, blocking the box, blocking crosswalks, failing to yield, failing to signal, changing lanes illegally, turning on reds illegally etc.. Some of these examples are genrally accepted practice. So, while many of you in the above category will curse me when you see me run an all-way stop sign at a deserted intersection, or pull up to the front of a line of cars at a light, or take the lane on Eisenhower, remember the old addage about glass houses. Echoing chpmaja's sentiment, let's all try to get where we're going without killing each other.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 2:10 p.m.

There are a lot of thoughtful comments here, but many, if not most, are in violation of's unworkable guidelines. They seem to be holding off, at least for now, which is good, although they have deleted at least five comments. Maybe, if is bothered by the thoughtful conversation, they could transfer these comments to a brand new thread. A couple of days ago, a few of us posted some common-sense helmet-law comments in a thread about a motorcycle fatality, which deleted in a heartbeat. I hope that can get its act together about its guidelines, and prvide a venue for thoughtful conversation.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 2 p.m.

ez12c....There is a traffic light there. If you are travelling that road and get the green light, you might be moving fairly fast. If the light was red, they (probably) stopped, then proceeded after it changed. This is the problem with light or red? It's pretty much a wide open rural road, so pretty dangerous for bikes. This is near Hudson Mills Metropolitan Park, so she may have been riding there, which is pretty safe. Such a sad event for all concerned, including the driver of the other vehicle and his/her family.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 1:31 p.m.

The Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office is investigating a crash that occurred at approximately 1804 hrs on 6/26/12. A 2002 Mercury Sable driven by a male Chelsea resident was west bound on N Territorial Road at Dexter Pinckney Road. The bicyclist, a 54 year old female Dexter Township resident who had stopped to rest in the ditch on the north west corner of the intersection, re-entered the roadway on N Territorial against traffic and was struck by the Sable. Dexter Fire assisted and Huron Valley Ambulance personnel pronounced the bicyclist dead at the scene. Alcohol and speed do not appear to be a factor. The bicyclist was wearing a helmet.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 2:07 p.m.

flyonthewall, also that Alcohol nor Speed appear to be a factor. Which means it was truly an accident! Imagine that!


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 1:50 p.m.

Okay, so she wasn't riding with the flow of traffic. She was off the road and came back on opposite the flow of the cars.

Laura Jones

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 1:29 p.m.

I figured this topic would generate a lot of comments both ways, given the number of cyclists out here and the huge increase in population and traffic here in Dexter Township. I think it's worth noting that the intersection of North T and D-P is a wide open one with a traffic light and little to no obstruction at the intersection, so most of the points here are totally irrelevant to this accident. It appears it was a tragic accident. As to the issues of bikes and cars in other circumstances; if you are in such a hurry to get somewhere, either leave earlier or move. This is reality now in Dexter Township; we have a lot of bikes and a lot of cars. With cars being the heavier, drivers have an obligation to be more careful. Cyclists have the obligation to be polite and more visible (yes, I am talking to you Mr. slick shades who insists on wearing those black outfits while biking - you know who you are). I am aware of several people who live here who rely on bikes 100% for transportation as well - we have all seen them biking through winter. They have a right to use the road for biking - its not going away. We have an obligation to respect those rights, all of us. We all have to be more careful and cautious.

Kevin McNulty

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 6:17 p.m.

Good post Laura, I agree with you. You are correct about the intersection, it is open and traffic is clear in all directions.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 1:13 p.m.

A cyclist is killed by a motorist and a large majority of the posters think new laws are needed? How are laws, new or old, especially on country roads, going to top accidents/crashes that happen every day in every city in every state in america? This is a terrible story, but one that we will continue to read because, good or bad, these things happen. Pass all the laws you want and we will still have these incidents! I understand people want to make things safer, but some things will never be safe enough to limit incidents like these folks ... it's a part of life!

Woman in Ypsilanti

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 3:53 p.m.

One law I think would help would be one that requires roads to have paved shoulders. Even a foot or two of paved shoulder could make a big difference.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 2:16 p.m.

Lumberg48108 - Go back and re-read my post. I asked for a review of laws, and changes it needed. Education for everyone on what the laws are. Too few people in the state (both drivers and bicycle riders) know the laws. With the advent of electric bicycles and electric scooters - more "bicycle-like" vehicles with younger riders will be on the rural roads. Time to stop, review, fix if needed, and educate.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 1:06 p.m.

It is always a tragedy when someone dies accidentally; so I am in no way interested in blaming this particular bicyclist. However, for the 17 years I have lived a mile off a Dexter-Chelsea Road, bicyclists have been an increasingly bold and disrespectful to the cars and drivers - riding in packs 3 to 5 riders wide, NEVER on white line (the shoulder is non-existent), and seemingly unaware that in the shady curves on a sunny day they are virtually invisible! When my son was a new driver, we didn't allow him to drive on that road on Saturday mornings as we felt he didn't have the experience to know how to cross the center line to safely pass the hordes of bicyclists going from the Dexter coffee shop to a Chelsea coffee shop! Bicyclists need to follow the rules of the road AND choose more appropriate routes so that these tragedies do not continue.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 8:37 p.m.

@Hans.....which appears to be to much to ask and lives are being lost....So however insanely difficult WIDEN the road and put in bike lanes or we going to keep reading about this year after year.

Hans Masing

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 4:43 p.m.

A2Tom - The roads ARE designed to handle bikes and cars. You just have to drive your car in a manner that shows that you are aware that there is mixed-usage going on. Likewise, the cyclists need to ensure that they are riding in accordance to the laws.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 4:19 p.m.

Queenies right, I've lived by and driven out this way for 30 years and the bicyclists Have gotten Much bolder over the last 20. Until these roads are designed to handle bicycles and car traffic this will continue to happen. We live 50 yards from Huron River drive and we rarely use it...between the texting speeding drivers, obstinate bicyclists and the college kids playing "fast and furious" on their crotch rockets it's hardly worth it.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 1:17 p.m.

Why is it that when a tragedy like this happens people are so eager to blame either inconsiderate bikers or motorists?


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 1:02 p.m.

I'm very sad for the woman and also for the driver who hit her as I'm sure he or she feels horrible about it. I'm a new bicyclist and I wouldn't dream of taking advantage of my rights to share the lane with cars on some of these rural roads. There are no usable shoulders. It's hilly and curvy and heavily traveled. I wouldn't feel safe as a rider. And as a driver, I hate seeing bikes ahead of me on these roads because as traffic lines up behind them, tempers flare, and drivers get desperate to get around the bikes ... often making dangerous passes or clipping close to the riders. I try to give bikes as much room as possible and respect their rights. I see many bikes who don't follow the traffic laws we all share ... adopting the rules they want to and ignoring those they don't. Bottom line is, no car is going to drive 15 mph all the way from Ann Arbor or Pinckney to Dexter behind a bike. Law or no law. Right or no right. Cyclists have to be extremely vigilant.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 2:12 p.m.

Good post!

Unusual Suspect

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 11:36 a.m.

Growing up, I used to ride the roads west of Ann Arbor every day. Scio Church, Dexter-Ann Arbor, Dexter-Pinckney, out to Dexter, Manchester, and beyond. Not any more, though. The drivers that use these roads these days are maniacs. It's just not worth the risk.

Kevin McNulty

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 6:13 p.m.

I say the opposite Cinco. I live in Dexter Township and ride frequently and in my opinion the vast majority of drivers are bike friendly. I think it is because there are so many cyclists in these areas.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 1:04 p.m.

I LOVED riding my bike out on those roads. It was still scary sometimes, but there was less traffic. I also rode out Pontiac Trail and Joy Rd. a lot. (But, never on Huron River Drive because of the blind curves.) I have good memories of riding out there. It's really too bad that traffic is so heavy these days that it has become so dangerous. Bike paths, although requiring maintenance, would be great to have. I once almost killed my whole family taking them down Platt Rd. Now there is a great, well-used bike path. I get scared FOR these bicyclists. I passed one this morning heading into town on Washtenaw Ave at about Hill St. at 8:20AM. Two full lanes rushing into work, trying to jump out of his way suddenly....All I could think about is how much guts bicycling in THAT would take...

Susan Clearwater

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 11:14 a.m.

I saw this accident after it happened, and all I can say is my heart goes out to both the family of the bicyclist as well as the driver of the car. I hate seeing bicyclist out on these heavily driven roads becasue you know something like this is going to happen - that is why people should utilize Hudson Mills bike paths - they are safe. Or other bike paths - the roads in the country are not wide enough and I live out there - I will not ride my bike on the busy roads, I stay off the main ones - and I have never had any close encounters. Maybe it is time to put bike paths in due to all the people that do ride bikes out in the country.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 7:56 p.m.

Unfortunately, the statement that bike paths 'are safe' isn't quite true. How are bicyclists going 15-30 mph when the path also has people with strollers, dogs, toddlers, running with their ipods in so they can't hear anyone 'safe' for anyone involved? Sidewalks and bike paths that are constantly crossing driveways and roads also create problems, as cars aren't looking for things that fast, and it's impractical to have to stop at every crossing. When you are in the road there is at least a chance that someone will see you. It appears that this cyclist had some error in judgement; perhaps she thought she could get out of the ditch faster, with a tragic result. I feel sorry for the driver as well. This is a very emotional issue for a lot of people on each side of the bicycles in the road debate, and actions are taken by both cyclists and drivers that are not safe. Cyclists need to obey the rules of the road better, like stopping at red lights, and cars need to give cyclists space; a lot of them do, but others like to do a 'brushby' when there's no reason for it. Cyclists as a population have about the same amount of 'bad drivers' as those in cars, and bad drivers of either type create problems for the whole.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 12:55 p.m.

Just an FYI, there is a speed limit on the Hudson Mills paths for cyclists- 10mph (some places it's 8mph). Most cyclists using country roads travel anywhere from 10mph to almost 30mph. Additionally, recreational cyclists often ride 20-100 miles in one ride. Just please- share the road, drive safe, be aware. Cyclists are moms, daughters, sons, dads, friends and neighbors.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 10:55 a.m.

Almost at this exact same spot, last August coming home from the Dream Cruise another bicyclist had been hit, rolled off the hood/windshield of the car! I feel TERRIBLE for this lady! At that same time, we can enact all the laws, rules and enforcement we can muster, it still will not change the topography of the land/roads. Many areas you come around a curve at 50mph and there will be a bicyclists in the lane, and if you have oncoming traffic you don't get many choices. Everyone has the right to have safe use of the roads, however I just don't know how you regulate some of the inherent issues to keep everyone safe. I can see how this could happen and it be NO ONES fault, a true accident.

Kevin McNulty

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 6:09 p.m.

I live in the area RuralMom and I have bicycled these streets hundreds of times. Actually I have always felt quite safe. I stay as far to the right as I can and in my opinion the vast majority of drivers are so used to the heavy bike traffic that most are very considerate of bicyclists, most giving me ample room when they pass. Very few pass too closely. By the way, I always obey all traffic control devices and cyclists who do not tick me off. The shoulder areas in most areas are wide enough for me to ride easily on the side of the road. I do think the speed limit 50 is too high, especially with the trees and brush so close to the road.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 6:06 p.m.

I cannot continue to debate this subject when there are too many playing armchair quarter back that don't utilize this road on a daily basis, don't know the topography of the road, and really don't comprehend the entire scope of it. Do I personally make this road 50mph? NOPE! I am the one ROAD RAGING passing in no passing zones. NOPE! Most assuredly I am one who would opt for the ditch or tree, verses a pedestrian or bicyclist. I see it every day on this stretch of road, then there are those who just point and place blame! Sadly this is also an associate of my Neighbor who lost her life. I have way more important things to do on this subject, then to argue with people who haven't a clue, but want to protest they do!


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 3:55 p.m.

"and if you have oncoming traffic you don't get many choices." Really? I can think of at least one "choice" . Hit the brake! How many times, I've lost count, when I've encountered the same situation, the numbskull in the "oncoming traffic" crosses the double yellow line and comes at ME head-on, rather than slowing down behind the cyclists and waiting for an opportunity to pass them SAFELY.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 3:37 p.m.

@RuralMom: Why are you coming around curves at 50 mph if you can't see? Forget about bikes. What if there is a car accident ahead? Are you just going to plow into them? You won't get a ticket if you slow down on a blind curve to make sure you can stop in time. Anyone who honks at you for that is an idiot.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 3:06 p.m.

RuralMom, impeding traffic is not slowing down in a blind curve. It's going 5mph in a 50 for no reason. 50mph hour is the max speed, not the minimum. If you cant control your vehicle at 50, you need to go slower. Ever if other people get mad and shake their fists.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 2:52 p.m.

257.676b Interference with normal flow of vehicular or pedestrian traffic prohibited; exception; violation as civil infraction. Sec. 676b. (1) A person, without authority, shall not block, obstruct, impede, or otherwise interfere with the normal flow of vehicular or pedestrian traffic upon a public street or highway in this state, by means of a barricade, object, or device, or with his or her person. This section shall not apply to persons maintaining, rearranging, or constructing public utility facilities in or adjacent to a street or highway. (2) A person who violates this section is responsible for a civil infraction. History: Add. 1968, Act 151, Eff. Nov. 15, 1968 ;-- Am. 1978, Act 510, Eff. Aug. 1, 1979


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 2:51 p.m.

AAISAPLUS, really not a myth, I happen to know that its been used, on a family member, for going too slow and impeding the flow of traffic. Not just that my family is in law enforcement but my kid got a ticket for it! Its not an urban myth, its the real deal. So that you have a reference instead of your inaccurate imagination: You all just don't get it, the speed limit is 50mph, there are curves, blind spots, if you don't do the speed limit, then you have raging lunatics blowing their horns and passing, not always in legal spots to do so. If you think speed is an issue with sharing the road then take it up with the road commission! It a topography and courtesy issue, that is for both DRIVERS and RIDERS to be aware of!


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 2:35 p.m.

@RuralMom: the impeding traffic ticket is an urban myth used to scare others to drive faster than then they feel is safe. It was invented by those "angry drivers" were all supposed be afraid of. I've tried, but you will not find an instance of someone getting a ticket for going 40 in a 50 around a bend. Truly impeding traffic would require much more than that. On the other hand, if you cannot reasonably stop your vehicle when a bicyclist, stopped vehicle, tractor, or other obstacle awaits around a bend, then you do not have full control of your vehicle and its possible to be charged with reckless driving or involuntary manslaughter.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 2:09 p.m.

RuralMom, a speed limit is just that...a speed LIMIT. You do not have to drive that speed if conditions make it unsafe. You would not get a ticket for driving under the speed limit unless you were creeping. Also, the topography of that intersection is flat and the two roads are straight. I agree with another poster that said it is not wise to mix your bicycle up with afterwork rush hour traffic. I even avoid that in my car out here. Too many people rushing home when they should have found a home closer to their work in the first place.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 12:54 p.m.

Drive slower than 50 MPH on N. Territorial and the agitated driver PASSING you will hit the unseen victim, and then you will hit them both.... With some of those curves on N. Territorial I am shocked at the high speed that is posted.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 12:45 p.m.

foobar417 you don't get it, there are numerous curves with a speed limit of 50mph. I can't teach you how to drive or avoid accidents. I can tell you since I have never had a ticket or an accident myself, that you do not impede the flow of traffic, that causes far more danger to EVERYONE. Good luck to you!


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 12:43 p.m.

Also the Sheriff's Dept just sent out another advisory (request for witnesses) on this accident, SPEED & ALCOHOL were NOT contributing factors. So what is left other than the topography of the land? A True Accident! Please note I am not against bicyclist, my Husband and I ride a Harley, we go out ASSUMING a risk. Knowing the risk we are taking, using all available safety equipment (this lady had on her riding helmet too), however sometimes thru no ones fault, catastrophic events happen.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 12:42 p.m.

@RuralMom: Yes, I have driven through that intersection many, many times. "Now you don't do LESS then the speed limit when you have no reason to! " "Oh and since you don't seem to know, when you go LESS than the speed limit for NO apparent reason, you can get a ticket for IMPEDING the flow of traffic! " A blind curve where you can't see a potential slower-moving road user *is* a reason to go slower and no you won't get a ticket for that.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 12:36 p.m.

Thank you RuralMom. Just b/c it's legal to drink 30 shots of vodka in 15 min doesn't mean it's a good idea. I am so sorry this woman lost her life but driving a bicycle on North Territorial Rd during rush hour is not the safest decision. There are plenty of other safer routes.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 11:33 a.m.

foobar417 do live in the area? Because I do! Now you don't do LESS then the speed limit when you have no reason to! Then you create angry people passing you causing a much bigger issue for everyone. Oh and since you don't seem to know, when you go LESS than the speed limit for NO apparent reason, you can get a ticket for IMPEDING the flow of traffic! Like I said the topography out there makes it hard to regulate. Then their are those who think we should drive around waiting for disaster to occur adding to the problem!


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 11:09 a.m.

If you are coming up to a curve where you wouldn't be able to see a cyclist if they were there, then you are driving too fast. You don't have to go the speed limit. Driving defensively includes driving less than the speed limit when you wouldn't be able to react to a potential situation.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 10:37 a.m.

I am sorry anyone got killed. If bicycles are going to be a greater share of transportation in the area, then it may be time to review the state laws. Maybe we need to look at them and see if they are written in the right way to support both bicycles and cars. With the potential for more scooters on the roads, and more electric bicycles in the near future, taking the time to look at what the right laws are might be a good thing. Maybe we have it right, maybe we don't. Looking can't hurt. Then, when we know what the right laws are, getting the word out to everyone would be good.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 6:37 p.m.

I am very familiar with state law, driving and bicycling. There is hardly anything further than can be done. The issue is getting people to follow the laws on the books. Some years back an old State Trooper told me that there is no such thing as a "traffic accident." Nothing accidental about it. In fact he told me the MSP calls them collisions, not accidents. The collision occurs when someone makes a mistake, violates a traffic law. With this case, I fear from the information released that someone ran a red light.

Karen St John

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 4:34 p.m.

All vehicles need to be safely driven or ridden, with no expectation of extralegal privilege. I see motorcycles ride between cars. Very unsafe! Some drivers pay more attention to their phone conversations than the road. Very dangerous! I've seen pedestrians texting while jaywalking, not even checking for cars. Very stupid! Bicyclists often don't have lights or reflectors...very foolish! A simple fact of life is that NO one can expect to blithely go onto the road and not be aware of the rest of traffic. It's rude at best, and deadly at worst. I'm so sorry this woman lost her life. It's a sad reminder that life is fragile, an should be guarded as precious. My sympathies go out to her family. I also feel bad for the vehicle driver, who will carry awful feelings for life.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 11:44 a.m.

Look more closely at state law would be great. I also think that if you want to bike you should be required to take a class on rules of the road as well and have the approved card on hand to verify you have passed the class. If people driving cars are required to do this, so should bikers.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 11:06 a.m.

footbar 417 TOO few cyclist drive defensively! Cyclist need to "drop the assumption" that they are bullet proof!


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 10:46 a.m.

I think the issue more attitude than laws. The current law essentially says cyclists and pedestrians can also use the roads. The rest is a bunch of details about how to share them in a practical way. Sure they could be tweaked, but that's tweaking the margins. Unless you want to challenge the basic concept that one aspect of freedom is freedom to move yourself from one place to another via your own choice of transportation, you're going to have multiple modes of travel along our common roadways. Drivers of cars (and I am also part of that group) need to drop the assumption that roads are for cars and recognize that there could be a pedestrian or cyclist on any part of the road at any given time (with the exception of interstate highways). Drive defensively like they teach in school. Slow down. Give yourself extra time. Don't break the law, but assume other people might. (That in no way excuses anyone else, including cyclists or pedestrians from breaking the law, but "driving defensively" means assuming everyone--driver, cyclists, or pedestrian-- might break the law.)

Adam Hieber

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 3:38 a.m.

I think this is terribly unfortunate for this woman and her family. I'd like to see better options for the riders. I drive this stretch daily to and from work and it's dangerous for bikers. With that being said, I also think the bikers should take more care to stay single file, especially on Huron River drive. It's irritating when they go 4 wide on the road and expect cars to pile up behind them. Either share the roads, or get off them, I know they can hear vehicles behind them when riding. Prayers out to the family for their loss tonight.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 1:03 p.m.

It is horrible to lose a life and I am sorry for everyone involved. I do have a question: Does a cyclist have the right of way at all times? Though the article doesn't specify a lot of detail, it sounds like the west bound vehicle stooped at the intersection and proceeded through just as the cyclist came out of a ditch and proceeded through southbound; directly into the car's path. We see many car crashes where one thinks it's their turn and so does another, resulting in a collision. But if a cyclist ALWAYS has the right of way and is not considered another vehicle, there's your answer. from the posts here it is clear that they can ride two abreast at whatever speed they want and not be impeding traffic. IDK.

Unusual Suspect

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 11:33 a.m.

There is the law, and then there is using common sense. I always tell my kids it's not possible to proclaim, "But I had the right of way!" while lying in your coffin.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 11:02 a.m.

Hans Get and distribute ALL the fact before spouting off!


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 10:39 a.m.

257.660b Operation of bicycle upon highway or street; riding more than 2 abreast. Sec. 660b. Two or more individuals operating bicycles upon a highway or street shall not ride more than 2 abreast except upon a path or portion of the highway or street set aside for the use of bicycles. You can ride 2 abreast, but not 3 abreast.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 6:32 a.m.

There are rights and there is common sense. You undisputably have a legal right to the road, but you need to know that the drivers on the road are not all be good, alert, or slow. When a cyclist is hit by a 3000 lb car--even a slowly moving one , the unprotected cyclist will suffer serious or fatal injury. After he's hit, the cyclist's estate can argue all the legalisms. Too bad he won't be there to hear them. Ask yourself if you would walk, as a pedestrian, in the middle of a winding country road where cars have a 45-50 mph speed limit if you were given the legal right to do so? Would you rely on Tommy or Tina Teenager to be sufficiently alert, conscientious and skilled to keep from killing you? All in all, I'm surprised at how few of these types of tragedies we do have. I think the large majority of drivers and cyclists try to accommodate each other. But, the cyclist lives on a razor's edge on these rural roads with narrow or no shoulders. A small misstep by either and he and his family pay a very dear price.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 4:37 a.m.

Section b of the above cited statute is the section which allows 2 abreast.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 4:11 a.m.

belboz...didn't mean to piggy back.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 4:04 a.m.

Hans, I will plead ignorance because I don't know but you sound like you do. When, in a car, I am stopped at a red light is it legal for a bicyclist to squeeze between my car and the curb to pass me? Does he then have right to the full lane when the light turns green? State law gives a motorcycle the right to a full lane. I cannot find anything that gives a bicycle right to a full lane. All I can find is: 257.660a Operation of bicycle upon highway or street; riding close to right-hand curb or edge of roadway; exceptions. A person operating a bicycle upon a highway or street at less than the existing speed of traffic shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway....


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 3:57 a.m.

Not quite. They must move over when unable to keep up. No two abreast when they ride less than speed of traffic. Act 300 of 1949 257.660a Operation of bicycle upon highway or street; riding close to right-hand curb or edge of roadway; exceptions. A person operating a bicycle upon a highway or street at less than the existing speed of traffic shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge 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.

Hans Masing

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 3:44 a.m.

State law gives them the right to the lane. They have as much right as you do to ride. It's courtesy to allow motorized vehicles to pass when it's safe. You have it backwards. It's dangerous for bikers because of the attitude that bikers don't belong on the roads from too many drivers. At the same time, bikers need to **follow the laws and ruies of the road**, which means stopping at stop signs, signaling turns and lane changes, and being courteous to other drivers.

Katie Anne

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 3:20 a.m.

I would just love to see bike paths put on these country roads. I love dexter.. But I feel unsafe riding my bike on Joy, Mast, north territorial and other roads around here. Many prayers going out to this ladies ' family. How very sad :(


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 1:19 p.m.

When I think of ways to spend scarce taxpayer dollars, carving bike lanes out of outlying roads comes up closer to the bottom of the list than the top.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 11:17 a.m.

Get yourself a bike that can handle dirt roads, and you have a lot of really nice options for getting around in that area. The scenery is great and there's very little traffic.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 5:05 a.m.

I assume they haven't put much effort into bike paths because there are many beautiful bike trails available for bicyclists to use for recreation. Not many people in the area bike for transportation along the roads since everything is so far from each other.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 4:09 a.m.

Bike paths would be great. We didn't have them when I grew up in Detroit. We stayed as close to the curb as possible and because we knew in a conflict with a car, we were the losers. However, now that I live in Ann Arbor my property taxes actually go towards building bike lanes. Are your property taxes contributing towards bike lanes in your neighborhood? My sympathy to the families.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 3:07 a.m.

Riding a bike on unlit 2-lane roads at night is dangerous, even in the best of circumstances. Regardless of who was at fault, this is a tragic accident.


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 10:42 a.m.

they could have had lights on their bike?? If they didn't then they were being unsafe but if they were then the driver should have paid more attention.

Katie Anne

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 3:17 a.m.

JRW.. Excellent point.. Except that this accident happened well before dark . 6pm . So sad :(