New Michigan laws aimed at protecting bicyclists on roads

Michigan drivers will now be required to leave at least 3 feet of space while passing bicyclists on the road under legislation signed recently by Gov. Rick Snyder.

“Many Michiganders enjoy activities like bicycling, but these activities can leave them vulnerable to vehicles sharing the road,” Snyder said. “Drivers must exercise caution and maintain awareness around vulnerable roadway users.”

House Bills 4198, 4185 and 4265, sponsored by state Reps. Julie Alexander, John Bizon and Holly Hughes, respectively, amend the Michigan Vehicle Code to require the driver of a vehicle when passing a bicycle in the same direction to pass 3 feet to the left of the bicycle. If 3 feet of space is impractical, then the driver must pass at a safe distance to the left at a safe speed. They also require driver’s education curriculum to include at least one hour of class time on motorcycles, bicycles, pedestrians and other “vulnerable roadway users.” The bills are now Public Acts 277, 279 and 280 of 2018.

Snyder also signed 11 additional measures:

Senate Bill 915, sponsored by state Sen. Tom Casperson, amends the Michigan Vehicle Code to cap the maximum width of a school bus at 102 inches, the same width restriction as trailer coaches, trailers, semitrailers, truck campers and motor homes. It also exempts school busses from seasonal weight restrictions. The bill is now PA 273 of 2018.

SB 836, also sponsored by state Sen. Tom Casperson, amends the Michigan Vehicle Code to ensure the weight restrictions for tandem axle assemblies on multi-axle trucks, like semitrailers, are applied at all times across the state. The bill is now PA 274 of 2018.

SB 640, sponsored by state Sen. Phil Pavlov, amends the Motor Bus Transportation Act to clarify that only buses with a “regularly scheduled multistate route that passes through Michigan and does not use state-subsidized equipment on that route” are exempt from state safety oversight. The interstate bus carrier would be subject to federal safety rules for that service. The bill is now PA 275 of 2018.

HB 4705, sponsored by state Rep. Peter Lucido, requires Michigan driver’s education curriculum to provide information on what steps to take when being pulled over by a law enforcement officer. The bill is now PA 276 of 2018.

HB 4176, sponsored by state Rep. Robert Kosowski, amends the Michigan Vehicle Code to allow vehicles used as part of a neighborhood watch program to be equipped with flashing, rotating or oscillating amber lights as long as the vehicle is clearly marked as a neighborhood watch vehicle in the program. The bill is now PA 278 of 2018.

HB 5278, sponsored by state Rep. Sheldon Neeley, codifies in statute a previous executive order regarding the Domestic Violence Prevention and Treatment Act. It requires “Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention and Treatment Board” members to educate and advise the Governor and Legislature on the magnitude and nature of domestic and sexual violence as well as prevention solutions. The bill is now PA 281 of 2018.

HB 5645, sponsored by state Rep. Tom Barrett, amends the Revised Judicature Act to allow the use of courtroom support dogs in the legal system under certain circumstances. The bill is now PA 282 of 2018.

HB 5761, 5762 and 5763 sponsored by state Reps. Joseph Bellino, Bronna Kahle and Beth Griffin, respectively, repeals several sections of law prohibiting a ship officer or mariner from making a false claim about a ship or its cargo with intent to defraud an insurance company. The bills are now PAs 283-285 of 2018.

HB 5775, sponsored by state Rep. Roger Hauck, repeals outdated laws in the Michigan Penal Code regarding the selling and trading of horses and mules. The bill is now PA 286 of 2018.

For more information on this and other legislation, visit www.legislature.mi.gov.

Related Articles