Cars, bikes must be considerate while sharing the road

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published September 28, 2015

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Fall has begun, but it’s still too soon for most cyclists to put away their bikes. So safety advocates are reminding metro Detroiters to watch out for bicyclists and to keep a close eye out for them at intersections, in neighborhoods and on the roads.

AAA Michigan public affairs director Susan Hiltz said that while cyclists are most frequently on the road during the summer months, the prevalence of cycling means that motorists cannot let their guard down.

“They’re saying the Motor City is becoming Bike City,” she said. “Biking is becoming very popular, so you’re seeing more bikes out on bike lanes and sidewalks.” 

Hiltz urged drivers to stay in their lanes and obey the rules of the road. 

“One of the most important things is when you come to a stop sign, make a complete stop and look both ways to make sure there isn’t a bicyclist coming across who has the right of way,” she said.

Hiltz encouraged both bicyclists and drivers to take an online Share MI Roads safety pledge. She explained that the pledge boils down to being aware of vehicles on the road, whether they operate on two wheels or four. 

On the bicycling side of things, Sterling Heights Police Lt. Aaron Burgess, who is in charge of his department’s Traffic Safety Bureau, instructed cyclists to wear a correctly fitted helmet. They should also wear brightly colored clothing during the day and reflective clothing at night, he said. 

Burgess said a bicycle should have a front headlight that works at night and also a reflector on the bike’s rear. He also recommended supplementing that with a rear flashing taillight and a reflective band that is worn around the left ankle.

Burgess encouraged cyclists to remain vigilant of traffic while obeying the same rules that motorists do. That means stopping at stop signs, yielding at yield signs and moving in the same direction as traffic. 

“Even if (bicycles) have the right of way, always assume the other driver will not stop for you,” he said. “Whether you are right or wrong, the car will always win.”

Burgess also said cyclists should always carry identification and a medical card. It also helps to write one’s name and emergency contact number on a water bottle, he said.

“Far too often, cyclists go out and they have nothing to identify themselves, and they get involved in a crash, and we don’t know who they are,” he said. 

Find out more about AAA Michigan by visiting www.michigan.aaa.com. Find out about the Share MI Roads safety pledge by visiting www.sharemiroads.org/index.php/pledge. 

 

 
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