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Rules of the Road for Michigan Bicyclists

August 8, 2022

If you enjoy riding a bicycle in the beautiful outdoors of the Wolverine State, you should understand that you have a number of rights and responsibilities.

As a general rule, when you’re riding a bicycle on Michigan roads, you should follow the same rules as motorists.

While a bicyclist cited for a violation doesn’t go on their driving record, riding a bicycle dangerously or disregarding the rules of the road could lead to an accident and serious injury.

What is Considered Dangerous Behavior for Bicyclists in Michigan?

Again, Michigan bicyclists must take responsibility for their actions while riding on our state’s roads and streets. Dangerous behavior includes the following, which could lead to an accident and serious injuries:

  • Riding while distracted or intoxicated;
  • Riding against the direction of traffic (except where indicated);
  • Failing to yield when required;
  • Riding at night in dark clothing and/or without proper lighting;
  • Riding unpredictably;
  • Failing to signal a turn or stop;
  • Riding while using a cellphone (if not hands-free);
  • Riding on sidewalks; and
  • Riding too close to the curb (too far to the right).

How Can a Motorist’s Dangerous Behavior Result in a Bicycle Accident?

Michigan motorists need to be aware of bicyclists and operate their motor vehicles safely to avoid accidents and injuries. These types of actions can cause a bicycle accident:

  • Failing to yield to a bicyclist when required;
  • Inhibiting a bicyclist’s movement by passing too closely (three feet or less);
  • Using the car horn to distract or disturb a bicyclist (when safety is not at issue);
  • Harassing a bicyclist by shouting, gesturing, or maneuvering the vehicle in a way that threatens the bicyclist’s safety;
  • Turning immediately in front of a bicyclist (cutting them off);
  • Driving too fast for the road and weather conditions;
  • Opening a vehicle door into a bicyclist’s path; and
  • Driving while distracted, such as texting or intoxicated.

Does a Bicyclist Have to Wear a Helmet in Michigan?

While Michigan law doesn’t require bicyclists to wear helmets (with the exception of riders of a Class 3 e-bike under age 18), Buchanan Law strongly encourages bicyclists to always wear a helmet because it’s been proven that wearing one can help prevent serious brain injuries.

Is a Bicyclist Required to Signal Their Turns in Michigan?

Yes. Michigan Statute § 257.648(4) states that when a person is operating a bicycle, a signal is given by the hand and arm. A bicyclist must signal as follows:

  • To indicate a left turn, extend the left hand and arm horizontally;
  • To indicate a right turn, extend…left hand and arm upward;
  • To indicate an intention to stop or slow down, extend the left hand and arm downward.

Bicyclists should signal their intentions clearly at least 50-100 feet before changing direction or stopping.

Our Michigan bicyclists and motorists are all safer when we show respect and consideration for one another on the roads!

Contact Us

If you or a family member has been seriously injured in an bicycle accident in Michigan, contact Buchanan Firm. We will help you pursue compensation against the driver who is responsible.

For a free consultation with an experienced bicycle and auto accident attorney in Michigan, contact Buchanan Firm. Our firm proudly serves people all across Michigan, including major cities like Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Detroit, Lansing, Holland, St. Joe, and Ann Arbor, and rural towns such as Lowell, Ada, Fremont, Newaygo, Grand Haven, Rockford, and Cedar Springs. We will meet you after-hours, at home or in the hospital, to accommodate you.

Contact us today!