Jovan Jamison, a member of the Southfield Cruisers since 2016, prepares for a ride at the Southfield Parks and Recreation Department Aug. 5.

Jovan Jamison, a member of the Southfield Cruisers since 2016, prepares for a ride at the Southfield Parks and Recreation Department Aug. 5.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Southfield welcomes bicycling through city

By: Andy Kozlowski, Sarah Wojcik | Southfield Sun | Published August 11, 2021

 Damon Brown makes announcements to the group.

Damon Brown makes announcements to the group.

Photo by Deb Jacques

 The Southfield Cruisers embark on their weekly ride Aug. 5. The group uses walkie-talkies to stay together, and their motto is “no rider left behind.”

The Southfield Cruisers embark on their weekly ride Aug. 5. The group uses walkie-talkies to stay together, and their motto is “no rider left behind.”

Photo by Deb Jacques

 Core members of the Southfield Cruisers — from left to right, Damon Brown, Brendon Adamson, Alicia Thy, Carl Brooks and Louis Sanford — stand with their bikes before a ride Aug. 5.

Core members of the Southfield Cruisers — from left to right, Damon Brown, Brendon Adamson, Alicia Thy, Carl Brooks and Louis Sanford — stand with their bikes before a ride Aug. 5.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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SOUTHFIELD — The city of Southfield has been working to expand its non-motorized transit capabilities and has been a bicycle-friendly downtown for more than 10 years.

Kyle Bryce, a planner for the city, said officials have been working on place-making initiatives to improve Southfield’s pedestrian infrastructure by expanding pathways, filling sidewalk gaps, installing public art and creating loops that showcase new businesses and restaurants.

The city recently partnered with Movatic to launch a new bike-share program that offers residents and visitors alike an affordable and healthy way to get around town. Nine stations with a total of 27 cruiser bikes are located throughout the heart of the city for local trips.

Riders must be 18 years or older and can join the program by signing up for a $25 annual membership on the Movatic app. Bryce said the city regularly offers promotional discounts on annual memberships for individuals and students.

Members can ride for free for the first hour, then pay $2 per hour; rides for non-members cost $2 per hour with a maximum charge of $20 per day for both members and non-members.

The stations include four on Evergreen Road, two on Northwestern Highway, two on West 10 Mile Road and one on Lahser Road.

“It’s a good experience. The bikes are definitely sturdy and designed to be outdoors and used quite a bit,” Bryce said. “Movatic providers are on call to make repairs as needed.”

He added that the bikes are white to stand out. They are numbered, and the bike lock automatically disengages when a user completes the rental process on the app.

“They have a big sturdy basket so you can put some stuff in it, a bell, and they even have a light for nighttime riding,” Bryce said. “We have two stations at Lawrence Tech University (on West 10 Mile Road) because students are big users.”

He said the city encourages anyone near the city centre to get out and use the bike sharing program, or simply bring their own bikes or two legs to enjoy the city’s hiking and biking routes.

“We’re always trying to expand our pathways and add new things people can check out,” he said. “We have enough pathways now that we’ve developed a city centre trail.”

To view trail maps and notable destinations, including historical markers, local shopping and public art, visit cityofsouthfield.com/non-motorized-and-transit. For more information, call the Planning Department at (248) 796-4150.

Besides the exercise and fresh air guaranteed with bicycling, many riders engage in the hobby as a social activity and as a way to forge new friendships.

The Southfield Cruisers is a local bicycling group that gathers and embarks on weekly slow rolls throughout Southfield and neighboring cities and townships from early spring to late fall, weather permitting.

Alicia Thy, of Southfield, founded the Southfield Cruisers in July 2016. She said it began as bike rides with a couple of friends, but it quickly expanded, and the group made fliers and raised awareness through word of mouth.

“We ride every Thursday. We meet at the Southfield Department of Parks and Recreation at 6:30 (p.m.) for a meet and greet and then ride out at 7 (p.m.),” Thy said. “We welcome all ages and all skill levels, and we ride through Berkley, a little of Royal Oak, Birmingham, Beverly Hills — all the little cities.”

She added that the group travels anywhere from 12 to 15 miles, which generally takes approximately an hour and a half. Regulars include children from 5 years old to senior citizens.

“We’re not fast paced. We’re cruisers,” Thy said. “We have fun.”

The Southfield Cruisers’ motto is “no rider left behind.”

“If we have a breakdown, a flat or a tripped chain, we stop to get the person fixed,” Thy said. “There’s always a car that travels behind the group for security and in case of breakdowns or if people don’t feel good or are tired and need to get in the car. They can put their bike on the bike rack.”

The group is free to join and attracts riders from not only Southfield, but also neighboring cities and even countries. Thy said a man who lives in New Zealand travels to the area for work occasionally and requested a T-shirt so he can wear it the next time he will be in town for a ride.

The Southfield Cruisers T-shirts cost $10 and come in safety orange.

“We started with probably less than 10 people, and we’ve grown last summer up to 220,” Thy said. “This summer, we’re at about 150 so far.”

Each week, the group traverses a different route. A core group of founding members take turns mapping out the route and ensuring it is viable for the slow roll, Thy said.

“We only cancel if it’s storming,” she said. “It’s OK if there’s a little drizzle and if it’s hot outside. We try to gauge it like that, as long as it’s not thundering and lightning.”

On Saturday, Aug. 14, the Southfield Cruisers partnered with jazz musician Kimmie Horne to present the second annual Kimmie Horne Jazzy Roll. Registration begins at 8 a.m. and the ride starts at 9 a.m. from the Parks and Recreation Department. There is no cost to participate.

The Southfield Parks and Recreation Department is located at 26000 Evergreen Road, south of West 11 Mile Road, next to the Southfield Public Library.

For more information about the Southfield Cruisers, visit facebook.com/groups/SouthfieldCruisers.

Reminders for the road

Generally speaking, riding a bike is allowed on both roadways and sidewalks, but cyclists have their own rights and rules they should know in order to keep everyone safe.

When riding a bike on a highway or street, cyclists will usually be riding at a slower speed than motor vehicles. State guidelines instruct cyclists to stay as close as possible to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, except for when overtaking and passing, preparing to turn left, or when traffic is turning right but the cyclist intends to go straight through the intersection. There are also exceptions for when conditions make the right-hand edge of the roadway unsafe or unusable for cyclists.

Cyclists are not allowed to carry more people than the number for which the bike is designed, so in the case of most bicycles, the limit is one person each. The state instructs cyclists to not ride more than two abreast, except for on designated bike lanes that specifically allow it.

When riding on a sidewalk, cyclists still must yield the right of way to pedestrians and give audible signals before overtaking and passing them.

Always signal when riding a bike in traffic to telegraph your intent, according to the Michigan Vehicle Code:

• For a left turn, extend your left hand and arm horizontally.

• For a right turn, extend your left hand and arm upward or extend your right hand and arm horizontally.

• To stop or decrease speed, extend your left hand and arm downward.

Cyclists must also remember to equip their bikes with a white lamp on the front and a red reflector on the back when operating their bicycle during the time starting a half-hour after sunset and ending a half-hour before sunrise. Bikes must also be equipped with brakes that will allow the braked wheels to skid on dry, level, clean pavement.

Cyclists are not allowed to carry any package, bundle or article that prevents both hands from staying on the handlebars. There are penalties for failing to yield to the right of way, failing to yield left at an intersection, disobeying signs to stop and yield, disobeying traffic signals, and more.

For more information, visit michigan.gov.

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