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Posted on Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Springtime tips for bicycle safety on Washtenaw County's roadways

By Rich Kinsey

In this area they say the true measure of spring is the return of the red-winged black bird. I have not seen or heard one yet, but I have pumped up the tires and lubed the chain on my bicycle, so it must be spring.

Therefore it is time to have that discussion about bicycles and motor vehicles sharing the road. The law says we have to do it, except on the expressway, so why not start out the season with a mutual respect and understanding.


A cyclist commutes by bicycle through downtown Ann Arbor in September.

Ryan J. Stanton | file photo

In the past I have written similar columns because I am a driver and a bicyclist. I love to “saddle up” on the “29’er” my family bought me and ride on secondary roads in western Washtenaw County as many others do. It is fun and gets you fresh air and physical activity with a natural air conditioning — until you stop — which appeals to my rather rotund mature physique.

That being said, I have a very healthy respect for the larger, heavier motorized vehicles that zip by on my left. I always wear a helmet and have found that a rearview mirror mounted on my sunglasses, helmet or handlebars is a really handy piece of safety equipment.

The rearview mirror, I rely on so that I do not have to look over my shoulder for oncoming traffic. Looking over one’s shoulder on a bicycle naturally makes you veer out in front of that which you seek to see and avoid. Moving your eyes up or down to your rearview mirror is thus much safer, faster and promotes a straighter attitude down the far right side of the road.

The far right side of the roadway is where a bicycle should legally and safely be. The exceptions are when passing another bicycle or vehicle, avoiding a road hazard, riding on a one-way street or when attempting the two riskiest bicycle maneuvers — the left turn or riding straight through an intersection where there is a right turn lane.

Left turns in high traffic or highway speed traffic conditions always cause me anxiety. I hate depending on the driver of a car behind me seeing the 1/8th ton orange or traffic green rolling lymon in front of them that constitutes yours truly. If the spectacle of a DayGlo Semper Cop’s large frame is not enough to catch that driver’s attention, I throw on a red LED strobe light if I am in downtown traffic, overcast, dawn, dusk or other low light conditions.

Worse than left turns on my personal pucker factor scale, is driving straight through an intersection where there is a right-turn-only lane. This is fraught with all kinds of dangers and depending on the intersection, I will admit defeat, take an optional bicycle-on-the-sidewalk spin, go up to the light and cross in the crosswalk just like a pedestrian. I will then ride down the walk on the other side, use a driveway and continue back on my merry way down the roadway.

There are certain places that people expect to see bicycles and certain places or lanes where motorists do not. Left turn lanes and the left edge — or right edge of the straight thru lane — of a right-turn-only lane are two places it is just dangerous to be a bicyclist.

The key for bicyclists is to assume you are nearly invisible and watch out for motor vehicles that are much heavier and faster than you. Remember the concept of being “dead right.”

Being “dead right” is being absolutely legally correct in your actions, but being just as dead at the scene, because you failed to heed the more non-discretionary laws of physics and common sense.

Speaking of being dead right, bicyclists please consider riding two abreast down two-lane roads not equipped with a paved shoulder or bike lane. Technically it is legal in Michigan, but please be careful and mindful of the terrain and traffic conditions when doing so.

If you are riding two abreast and you see that traffic is backing up behind you, please be courteous, safety minded and insightful. Fall in single file so traffic can safely pass you. The motorist irritation you prevent at that moment may save another bicyclist, another day, from that road rage vulnerable driver “teaching a lesson” and injuring someone.

In limited sight distance areas, like near sharp curves or hills, I strongly suggest you fall in single file to avoid the tragedy that is the late-for-work and speeding motorist or unsunglassed driver heading east near dawn or west at dusk.

Time of day should enter into a bicyclist’s planning process. The most dangerous times to be pedaling are both rush hours and the end of a school day — in the area of a high school.

In school areas remember youthful drivers are “just learning” and are prone to speeding, inattention and inexperience. Their inexperience can lead to a lack of situational and spatial awareness, which might tempt them to cram a small lane with a bicyclist and mom and dad’s full-size pickup or SUV complete with bicyclist-noggin-cracking side/rearview mirrors.

On the secondary roads I travel, I live in fear of those wide vehicles and their extended mirrors. Bicycle helmets might save your head from a skull fracture, but if those mirrors hit a bicyclist, it tumbles bicycle and rider into the ditch or a road sign with tragic frequency. If you drive a large vehicle, please move over for a bicyclist or wait to pass until there is an opening to avoid such tragedies.

Bicyclists, please remember when on the road you must obey the traffic laws applicable to motorists.

Weekend peddlers do not forget your manners — share a wave with your fellow bicyclists. I have found that the chance for a wave, nod, smile or acknowledgement of humanity from oncoming bicyclist is inversely proportional to the amount of Spandex a rider wears — or — directly proportional to the weight of the bicycle and width of the tires. So loosen up your spandex, bikers. Unless you are in a race, all bicyclists are on the road for the same reasons—it will not kill your wind resistance or practice time to nod at the huffing puffing DayGlo orange or lymon rolling down the other side of the road.

Lock it up, don’t leave it unattended, be aware and watch out for your neighbors.

Rich Kinsey is a retired Ann Arbor police detective sergeant who now blogs about crime and safety for



Fri, May 17, 2013 : 2:12 a.m.

Could SOMEONE please tell these divine bike riders to get and USE A BELL to warn pedestrians of their approach as they blast by at 30 mph?! Talk about safety.......geeezh.

Angela Todd

Mon, Apr 8, 2013 : 8:32 p.m.

I have found that, no matter what the laws say, everytime I ride my bike, I take my life into my hands. It does not matter if I am crossing a driveway, riding in the street, at an intersection, turning left, turning right, in a crosswalk, with the green light, my life is always at risk. People do not respect my courtesy toward everyone. It does not matter whether I keep the law by having a headlight, etc. I am never safe. And all I hear is complaints from enraged motorists who believe that they own everywhere. Angela Todd, Ann Arbor resident.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 12:12 a.m.

I would think a cyclist would want to be as conspicuous as possible. But going by the dark clothing they wear, it's more important to be fashionable than staying alive. Yellow, orange, bright green is way more visible at dusk or in shadows.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 7:35 p.m.

Rich, another great column! while we're on the subject..... 2 summers ago, while waiting for the light to change on Liberty/Fifth, I saw a young man riding his bike, through the aforementioned intersection, one hand on the handlebar, the other holding a plate of food. I kid you not. guess he wanted his order To Go.....;)


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 3:33 p.m.

Great column as usual. Great constructive comments too. Another issue for everyone is remove your earbuds when driving or biking. Remove your earbuds and stop texting when walking. I wonder what that means.....oh I know, pay attention to what you are doing. If your are moving, you need to pay attention. I remember an article where a bicyclist got a ticket for going thru a red light. The uproar was "how dare a bicyclist be ticketed". Jaywalkers, auto drivers, moped drivers, bicyclists.....WOW what a stream of income that could create.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 6:23 p.m.

Yikes. Sorry, make that no disincentive for irresponsible behavior.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 4:11 p.m.

I agree. And I wonder if the enforcement position could basically fund itself through ticket revenues. It will take a deep change such as this to affect a cultural change overall. Right now, there is no disincentive for responsible behavior.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 3:28 p.m.

For every bicyclist that runs a stop sign/light there are probably a thousand gas powered vehicles that do the same. The police really need to start ticketing cars that break the law. I've had a number of near death incidents involving bad drivers but none with a bike rider.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 3:13 p.m.

Good picture of a bicyclist NOT wearing a helmet. Really enforces this opinion.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 3:03 p.m.

I just sent an e-mail to Lansing telling them to put something in the Pure Michigan Newletters about cyclist rules for Michigan roads. I feel a lot of the problems is to many cyclist just do not know the laws, that is what they need to be tested and bikes need licence.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 2:16 p.m.

ok here is mine. drive your bike like a car. stop in line do not cut to the front of the light. stay in the lines on streets. if you go outside you are messing with cars. just use common sense. enjoy you bike ride but bikes on streets are not as strong as cars.

Jaime Magiera

Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 2:09 p.m.

P.S. Thanks Mr. Kinsey. Thoughtful and well-written column.

Jaime Magiera

Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 2:07 p.m.

"Bicyclists, please remember when on the road you must obey the traffic laws applicable to motorists." - This is the biggest problem we have in downtown. Every day I see bicyclists fly past the (red) light at State and North University, as if somehow the traffic laws don't apply to them. I would be more than happy if the AAPD started ticketing bicyclists for this. I agree with the other commenters on bike licensing. (I'm a bicyclist)

Bob Krzewinski

Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 1:54 p.m.

Every organized bicycle organization or club I know of, from the League of American Bicyclists to the Michigan League of Bicyclists to the Ann Arbor Bicycle Touring club preach over and over to cyclists - obey all traffic laws and signals/stop signs, as is the law. As an active cyclist (who does stop at stop signs and lights), for the life of me I don't know why so many people routinely run red lights and stop signs. Some of them probably just are not aware of the laws requiring cyclists to obey traffic laws. But the ones that gall me the most are the people who consider themselves "elite" cyclists and break traffic laws. They give all cyclists a bad name. Whats the solution? Perhaps teaching your children from a very early age that in a bike or in a car, traffic rules are meant to be followed. Like when you are driving, setting the example to kids by never speeding, talking on a cell-phone (distracted driving) or tailgating.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 1:27 p.m.

As a former biker and motorcyclist I found the endeavors simply too dangerous to continue doing them. The motorcycles are long gone , now I will ride my mountain bike on lonely dirt roads every now and then, always peeling off the road when I hear a car coming. Too many close calls , I want to die old. Good Day

Nicholas Urfe

Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 1:15 p.m.

If only we could get more car drivers to obey the laws while operating their heavy machinery. Complete stops at stop signs and intersections. Stopping before crosswalks. Using mirrors and turn signals. Being oblivious to crosswalks and pedestrians. Not deciding at the last minute to turn, from two lanes over, because they cannot possibly be bothered to circle around the block, or make a safe and legal U-turn. Not eating, talking on a phone, reading, reading texts, fiddling with the radio, lighting a smoke, gesturing wildly to the passenger (or person on the phone!) in animated conversation.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 2:13 p.m.

If you have the time, chase 'em down and discuss the situation with them. You will find them indignant.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 1:10 p.m.

The biggest problem is there are two sets of rules. One for motor vehicles and one for pedestrians. Why are bicyclists allowed to vacillate between the two sets of rules as they pedal down the road?


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 2:05 p.m.

I suspect because there are no rules to prohibit it. And if there are, there seems to be insufficient law enforcement of those rules. Currently, it is legal in most situations to ride a bike on the sidewalk whereas you can't drive a car on the sidewalk or walk in the middle of traffic. But I suspect you are talking about the people who ride their bikes recklessly -- jumping back and forth between sidewalk and road unpredictably. This cycling behavior is part of the cyclist/motorist problem. Would love to hear the police department's take on this. Personally, I support walking your bike on downtown sidewalks and walking your bike when using any pedestrian crossings. I'm ambivalent about having to walk your bike on sidewalks in areas other than downtown.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 12:55 p.m.

Mr. Kinsey, I appreciate you mentioning the time of day some choose to pedal down the road. I find it less than thoughtful when I see a bicyclist riding down a narrow, winding road during peak traffic hours, especially when it's for pleasure.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 12:53 p.m.

I can never relax while walking on sidewalks in Ann Arbor (neighborhoods or downtown) since I never know when a bike will speed up behind me which always happens. No one uses bells or voice to alert a walker, and I've been startled by bikes on every walk I take. Downtown, bikes speed down sidewalks weaving in and out between walkers and when you open a store to come out, you'd better watch out for bikes going by. You have to hold your child by the hand all the time. On State Street last summer, a bicyclist doing a wheelie down the sidewalk full of walkers shouted at me to get out of his way! Bikes on Ann Arbor sidewalks ruins my whole walking experience especially in summer.

Richard Carter

Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 8:10 p.m.

I gotta agree with the "no alert" thing ... I ALWAYS give an "on your left," or "two bikes coming up on ya." It REALLY annoys me when I've almost been hit while walking because I dared stop and go to the left side of the sidewalk to look at something only to find a bicyclist was silently trying to pass me. That's precisely WHY sidewalks are so dangerous for bicycling -- there aren't the hard/fast rules-of-the-road on a sidewalk.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 2:10 p.m.

Consider occasionally extending your arms wide occasionally. The offending clotheslined cyclist will be more careful in the future.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 12:14 p.m.

Here is a thought. Teach biking 101 to all incoming Freshmen. They have NO clue what some of the roadway signs mean. As an avid cyclist downtown, State AND Main are meant to be SHARED roads, yet few people give us any room. They crowd the roadway which forces us to either stop or jump up on the sidewalk. SHARED means SHARED. Open you eyes, pay attention, and put the cell phone away! Very simple. The best idea in a perfect world would be to have A2's finest ticket these people to the tune of 250 everytime they see a violation where the car driver did NOT give the biker enough room. Very simply, where the car did NOT share the roadway. It is ironic to me that A2 is known around the country as a bike friendly city, YET the students who come here have NO clue how to react when sharing a road.

Michelle Stephens

Mon, Apr 15, 2013 : 9:34 p.m.

@GoNavy: Your definition of "enough room" is good, with a minor modification: if an obstacle were to appear suddenly (I'm thinking a car door opening or some college kid who walks into the street from between parked cars while texting - State St prime example), does the bicycle have enough room to swerve to avoid it? Here, just a safe following distance is necessary. Also, I do stop in place for lines of cars at a light, and at stop signs, I signal every lane change, and in high traffic volumes I either yield to let a line of cars pass or I find a less congested route. And I know many cyclists who do the same. Unfortunately, as a driver, I do see far more cyclists who just don't follow the rules and endanger themselves and others. But then again, the other day I was driving down Platt Rd in the far right lane and was confronted by a car driving straight at me. And don't get me started on how many people I've seen blatantly running red lights or cutting me off at a 4-way stop. There are plenty of idiot drivers, too, but there always seems to be much more indignation when the perpetrator is on a bike. Perhaps we should all just try to ensure that we personally are following road rules and being considerate, and remember that driving/cycling defensively is the best policy when dealing with idiots.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 2:59 p.m.

Maybe cyclists should be required to take biking 101 also. Most cyclists don't seem to understand that traffic rules apply to them also.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 2:06 p.m.

@ JBK: What sort of "room" do you feel you should be given? Motor vehicles are instructed to stay to the right when being passed - as should cyclists. When you come up on a line of stopped cars, do you stop in place or do you make your way to the front of the line along the right? If so, what makes you think that you can do such a thing? Cars are not allowed to use the parking lane to move up to the front. I'm not even going to ask if you wait for the light - there are simply too many cyclists who abuse lights to give any credit to one cyclist to claims to be the one who "follows the rules." There is a simple measurement we can all use in terms of giving bicyclists "enough room": That is, if you weren't hit, and you didn't have to swerve into an obstacle, you had enough room. This is a lesson best learned by motorists when driving in congested cities such as New York or Chicago.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 12:07 p.m.

Thank you for this wonderful column. I have never been hit by a car while walking in AA, but have been hit several times by bikers who don't feel the need to obey the same traffic laws that cars must follow. The gentle reminder is appreciated.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : noon

Better yet, get out and enjoy the amazing mountain bike trail system that we have in A2! The "Local Loop!" It is a shame that 99% of the time when a rider is hit by a car it is the rider's fault, but when a ped is hit by a car it is 99% of the time the driver's fault...


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 5:39 p.m.

The MMBA already does far more trail work and maint. than any other user group on single track trail in MI.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 5:38 p.m.

Im not talking about the poto, im talking about the 15+ miles of singletrack we have right here in A2. Bluffs, K-L, sunset-books, Leslie, Blackpond, Olson, etc. Poto is not a hidden trail, it is most likely one of the most ridden trails in SE MI. And yes, I remember the issues at poto. We're actually working with the DNR now to open a connector from Poto to Waterloo, can you say 50 mile poto-loo :D


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 4:15 p.m.

Sssssh, do you really want the masses bringing their bikes to the Poto? I mean, any more than there are already? I guess you aren't old enough to remember the mt biker vs runner vs hiker wars out there.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 12:59 p.m.

I doubt most people can ride the POTO.

Hugh Giariola

Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 11:45 a.m.

It's ridiculous that cyclists can ride on the sidewalks in MI.

Richard Carter

Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 8:07 p.m.

That's one where people seem to need a lot more education. A LOT of people think that bicyclists should never ride in the street! I remember the day I got yelled at for riding in the street, and later for riding on the sidewalk (on a very bumpy torn-up block of street where I did go up on the sidewalk to get past the mess for a block).

Hugh Giariola

Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 7:17 p.m.

@MDavid, it's called a sideWALK for a reason. And yes, the downtown areas are most affected by this. In other states, it is illegal and a cyclist may be ticketed for it.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 6:19 p.m.

oyxclean: I agree with you. People who act that way are rude and inconsiderate of others. I support any plan to require cyclists to walk their bikes on downtown sidewalks. It seems it would be very easy to designate a "No bike riding on sidewalks" zone. Actually, I thought Ann Arbor already had that, at least on Main Street. I know other cities have various forms of it. It makes sense and promotes commerce.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 2:55 p.m.

MDavid, I feel it is ridiculous when adult cyclists, on busy downtown sidewalks, weave in and out of people on the sidewalk (which in the summer are already narrowed due to restaurant seating) or indignantly zoom up behind pedestrians and either yell to get out of the way or screech thier brakes and give you a dirty look as they almost knock you down in passing. How dare pedestrians block their path!


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 12:38 p.m.

OK, but why do you feel it is ridiculous? All cyclists, including children? All sidewalks, or just those in the downtown business areas? Why just Michigan?


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 11:26 a.m.

"Same road, same rights, same rules" - as mentioned by MDavid - is a concept that needs a fundamental change. A bicycle is neither a car, nor is it a pedestrian - an obvious conclusion dictated as much by mechanics as it is by physics. Cars and pedestrians have, for the most part, learned how to live within their respective places over the past hundred years or so. Not so with bicyclists, who seem to occupy the spaces between where both of the former understood their absolute places. As a pedestrian, I have been regularly inconvenienced (yes, "inconvenienced") by bicyclists careening down sidewalks. These situations remind me of the Chicago bicycle laws, which essentially bars bicyclists from the sidewalk. As a motorist, I have again been regularly inconvenienced by bicyclists failing to adhere to the rules of the road. This includes bicyclists running posted signs, making frequent unsignalled lane changes, driving in between lanes, and so on. I have been further inconvenienced on narrow roads, where I must move partially into oncoming lanes of traffic to get around bicyclists who are taking up a large portion of a lane designed for motorized vehicles and their speeds. Due to their nature, bicycles should be placed in a dedicated lane with their own strictly enforced rules. Bicyclists need to understand - as drivers and pedestrians do - that there is a strict hierarchy on the road, and that the rules of the road are designed to ensure that this hierarchy does not descend into anarchy. As it stands, I think that both the motorists and pedestrians of Ann Arbor can largely agree that bicyclists are more of a problem than a solution to anything. I'll gladly deal with a few more pedestrians on the sidewalk, a few more filled seats on the bus, or a few extra cars on the road in exchange for eliminating the confusion and messes bicyclists often cause on public streets and sidewalks.

Richard Carter

Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 8:05 p.m.

I think dedicated lanes are a great idea, where practical. But dictating that every road a single cyclist might ever want to ride on having a dedicated lane ... I just don't see the cost/benefit working out very well. Keep in mind there are a few benefits that accrue with more people riding bikes -- we put a LOT less weight and damage on the road per rider. And it strikes me that most of your points are that a fair number of cyclists disobey traffic laws. That could be greatly fixed with better enforcement (as well as realizing that fact that a goodly number of drivers disobey traffic laws -- rolling through stop signs, not stopping on red to run, not yielding the left lane to faster drivers, not using headlights in adverse conditions, etc.).


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 2:48 p.m.

GoNavy: I also agree that restricting motorcycles to their own lane is absurd. Your call for a fundamental change was based on your point that a bicycle is neither a car nor a pedestrian. Well, neither is a motorcycle. In fact, one could argue it is more of a fast bike than a lighter car. I was just pointing out that your basis for a fundamental change for bicyclist could also apply to motorcyclists. Well, by this definition, I guess most roads in Michigan are not motorways since bicycles are legal vehicles on all (or nearly all) roads in Michigan with the exception of interstate highways. Many state highways have nice paved shoulders and are promoted by the state as bicycle touring routes. There is no value in debating semantics. I respect your opinion, but I've seen little support for it other than cars are bigger, more powerful, and faster, and that you don't like bicycles in places where only motorized vehicles should be. I'm bigger than you, faster than you, more powerful than you and I don't like or understand you, so you shouldn't be here. Is that the gist of your argument? It would be more helpful to understand how you are inconvenienced as a motorist by bicyclists. Is it all cyclists or those riding illegally? Is it all roads, country and city? Or some roads in some places some of the time? We are probably on the same page with respect to riding on sidewalks and possibly bike lanes (in the city anyway), but I don't feel that strongly about it in every situation. I do think the city, especially college towns, are a different environment with respect to cyclists interactions with motorized traffic. That said, where would you like children to ride if not on the sidewalk?


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 2:02 p.m.

@ MDavid- In terms of "absurd" contentions, the one that a motorcycle is "out of place" on the road because they share with bicycles the concept of mobility on two wheels ranks right up there with the best. "Motorways" (as many refer to them) bear a name related to their purpose: The movement of motorized automobiles. That is why, when it comes to motorized vehicles, we make few distinctions between two wheels, four wheels, six wheels, or even 18 wheels. We often restrict, however, access to motorways to vehicles with a minimum power output (here in Michigan, that number is 600 cubic centimeters of combustive capacity), and with regards to weight. I simply do not agree with your contention that traditional roads are to be shared with bicyclists - though, because it is the law, I comply. In the meantime, I continue to advocate for specially marked lanes for bicycles which clearly delineate their place, coupled with strict (or as strict as possible) enforcement of traffic laws at least on par with that of the regulation of motor vehicles. Simultaneously, I will continue to argue against bicyclists on pedestrian sidewalks, where they have absolutely no place in my opinion.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 1:35 p.m.

Ignatz: Thanks for your point. Well, I was just extending GoNavy's premise for supporting a "fundamental change" to a possible position one could take (albeit absurd) based on that premise. Bicycles at any speed are not a hindrance if they stay to the right side as required by law. Motorcyclists have no requirement to ride to the right, so I think an argument could be made that a motorcyclist doing 45mph in the middle of the lane on a twisty wooded road (e.g. Huron River Drive) could be more of a "hindrance" to a motorist going 60 mph than a bicyclist riding on the right side of the road/lane. Of course, we all tend to cherry-pick our examples when trying to make a point. Nothing infuriates me more when I've driving on twisty wooded road and I come upon a pack of cyclists spread out across the lane. It doesn't happen often, but it happens enough that it is one of the first images of irresponsible cycling that comes to this cyclist's mind. These types of cyclists are part of the problem, and they are the types that help me understand GoNavy's position.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 12:52 p.m.

MDavid, The motorcycle analogy does not work, since motorcycles can keep up with car and truck traffic. It is a problem when vehicles going 40, 50 or 55 MPH come across a bicycle going about 10 mph.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 12:16 p.m.

Whereas I support the idea of having a bicyclists license and ticketing bicyclists, I don't agree that a fundamental change is necessary. A motorcycle is neither a car nor a pedestrian either, so do you advocate a separate lane for motorcyclists as well? Cyclists are not a hindrance when they ride in a responsible, considerate, legal, and predictable manner. I'm a motorist (16,000 miles per year) and a cyclist (2500 miles per year), mostly all in Washtenaw Co. Funny, I've been inconvenienced or nearly injured by motorists running posted signs/signals, making frequent lane changes without signaling, and driving between lanes (motorcyclists), so bad behavior is not solely exhibited by bicyclists. That's not to say that I judge society's needs by the level of inconvenience I experience. How about you? "Share the Road" is another familiar slogan that all should adapt. We can all do it peacefully and effectively. To your final point, I think it is more likely that motorists and pedestrians of Ann Arbor can largely agree that irresponsible bicyclists are more of a problem than a solution. Responsible bicycling promotes physical and environmental health, two things that society needs more of.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 11:24 a.m.

One way to "help" make sure bike riders do as MDavid states, ""Same Roads, Same Rights, Same Rules" is to make "All" of them to take test , Judt lke car drivers and licence for there bikes. If cyclist want the same rights and us the same streets and roads as car drives they should have to pay a fee just like we do. If they do not obey the same rules they should be ticketed just like car drivers are. Remember, "Same Roads, Same Rights, Same Rules."

Richard Carter

Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 8:01 p.m.

I definitely support ticketing of violators. I also might support a fee, though keep in mind that the part of the registration going to road repairs should be MUCH smaller... a bike and rider don't even weigh 10% of what a car does, and we're going a lot slower, generally.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 12:29 p.m.

As much as I wish it wasn't necessary and despite that I pay for roads as a motorist and property owner, I support the idea of a bicyclist license. I also support ticketing of bicyclists because I just don't see irresponsible cycling getting the attention it deserves. I also support incorporating more information about bicyclists rights to the road into driver's education programs and re-licensing tests. It will help promote better understanding of the correct expectations of cyclists on the road.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 11:01 a.m.

Great timely article, Rich. I'm a long-time cyclist and driver in Washtenaw Co. and beyond too. The League of Michigan Bicyclists, Michigan's premier advocacy group for bicyclists touts "Same Roads, Same Rights, Same Rules" It's unfortunate that some cyclists only seem to recognize the first two parts. Essentially, with few exceptions (i.e. using a sidewalk or bike path), if a motorist shouldn't do something, a cyclist shouldn't either. Given your background, I would love to know why we don't see more ticketing of cyclists for riding the wrong way down a one-way street, running stop lights and stop signs, riding past a long line of stopped cars to get to the front of an intersection, etc. The biggest reason locally, regionally, and nationally for some motorists' animosity toward cyclists is usually a form of "Cyclists think they don't have to follow the rules" or "Cyclist's actions are unpredictable". We know from basic psychology that a belief only has to be reinforced occasionally to be held rather strongly. Any time a cyclist runs a stop sign, it only takes one motorist to see it to perpetuate the anger of those inclined to be angry. Thanks again for your article.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 11:30 a.m.

Thank-you MDavid, I have no problem sharing the road with you. The cyclist that do all the things you state are the reason I feel they should have to take a test, be licenced and pay a fee to use the roads they share with cars.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 10:44 a.m.

Bike riders would also be much safer if they obeyed traffic laws, like stopping for stop signs & traffic lights.

Mr. Me

Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 12:58 p.m.

Most cyclists do obey the laws, just as most drivers do. But you only remember the idiots who endanger their lives and yours. As a bike commuter, I'm as angry at the other cyclists running red lights with headphones on as you are, maybe angrier.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 11:08 a.m.

I agree, but human nature says many will not. In general, when a car hits a cyclist, that automobile driver is going to be entering into a legal nightmare whether or not that cyclist was killed. As Mr. Kinsey warns cyclists to avoid being "dead right", drivers should take the extra moment to presume the cyclist in front will disregard road laws or put themselves in a position where they cannot be seen easily. Slow down and give them a berth. There's no place you have to be so quickly that warrants risking being arrested and drawn into a trial. Same with cyclists--think about your families and then weigh how important your passion is against what it would mean to them if you didn't return home. That's known as being rational. Sometimes of the day or night, it's just better to stay off the roads.