you’ve probably noticed some changes in the past few years. New bike lanes have been added to many streets in an effort to improve safety for bicyclists and predictability of all road users.
The introduction of more than 70 miles of new bike lanes has led to a lot of discussion and often confusion about how motorists and bicyclists should interact with each other.
Below are a few rules to help you Drive Change in Grand Rapids and know more about your responsibilities on the road, whether you are a motorist or a bicyclist. You can also see what motorists are doing to help.
If drivers can see you, they aren’t likely to hit you.
All nighttime rides should include a front light and rear end reflector that are visible for at least 500 feet from the front and 100–600 feet from behind. A rear light and light-colored clothing or reflective clothing will also help you be seen and be safe.
Ride in a straight line and do not weave in and out between parked cars. Make your presence known by eye contact, signaling and lane positioning.
Just as any other driver on the road, bicyclists must stop at stop signs and red lights. This makes them more predictable to drivers, and safer on the road.
Signal your intentions clearly and in plenty of time, including:
Learn more about proper signaling with this video.
Ride with the direction of traffic (on the right side of the road). Never ride against traffic (on the left side of the road).
Riding more than two people side-by-side is not allowed. Remember, sharing the road is a two-way street. Riding two abreast is legal in Michigan. Bicyclists, however, can receive citations for riding more than two abreast. Be courteous and “single up” when other road users are present and it is safe to do so.
Bicyclists are allowed – and encouraged – to ride on road in either the bike lane (when available) or in the lane like a vehicle. Riding in the road increases the visibility of bicyclists, leading to fewer crashes. Additionally, riding a bicycle on the sidewalk is prohibited in certain areas, including downtown Grand Rapids.
A shared lane marking, or “sharrow,” is a symbol painted on the pavement to indicate proper lane position for bicyclists to make them more visible to drivers as well as assist bicyclists in avoiding hazards such as car doors swinging open.
Sharrows also remind motorists that they might encounter bicyclists in the lane where the symbol is located, and they provide wayfinding guidance to bicyclists on designated routes.
When approaching an intersection, all road users should pay attention.