As clocks “spring forward” to daylight saving time at 2 a.m. Sunday, March 8, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) reminds motorists to watch out for pedestrians, joggers, and bicyclists. Sunrise will occur one hour later, meaning that it will be darker later in the morning.
“Driving through school zones becomes more challenging for motorists during the first week of the time change,” said State Transportation Director Paul C. Ajegba. “Pedestrians, joggers, and bicyclists should wear brighter, reflective clothing in order to be seen more easily, and those behind the wheel need to pay close attention and eliminate distractions while driving.”
Motorists are reminded that bicyclists are permitted to ride on most roadways in Michigan. Bicyclists are reminded that, as legal roadway users, they are required to obey all traffic laws, signs, and signals. 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.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 6,283 pedestrian deaths and 857 bicyclist deaths resulting from traffic crashes in 2018. Unfortunately, these incidents were 3.4 percent and 6.3 percent increases, respectively, from the previous year. NHTSA’s data showed that most of the pedestrian fatalities (76 percent) and bicyclist fatalities (50 percent) occurred during dark conditions between 6 p.m. and 8:59 p.m. In Michigan, there were 145 pedestrian fatalities and 21 bicyclist fatalities in traffic crashes, with 78 percent pedestrian fatalities and 57 percent bicyclist fatalities involved in traffic crashes that occurred during dark conditions.
MDOT is working with partners statewide on the Toward Zero Deaths safety campaign based on the National Strategy on Highway Safety, which is intended to influence driver behavior and improve safety. For more information on the Toward Zero Deaths campaign, visit www.Michigan.gov/ZeroDeaths.