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New legislation would require drivers to give bicyclists 5-foot-wide passing zone

Sep 19, 2016

This week, a Senate legislative committee will consider bills that supporters say will make Michigan roads safer for bicyclists.

The package would require drivers to give riders a 5-foot-wide passing zone.

“It is kind of scary to have two tons of fast moving vehicle pass you,” Paul Selden says, “and the closer they pass, the more scary it is.”

Selden directs public safety for the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club. He says requiring a five-foot passing zone won’t prevent every crash, but he believes clarity about the rules will save lives.

Five years ago Selden says he was riding his bike when he saw cars approaching him in his rearview mirror.

“I moved even further into the shoulder and I think that’s what saved my life,” he says.

Luckily, Selden wasn’t injured when the car struck his bike and drove off. He says the woman was eventually caught and faced charges.

The package of bills would also require students to learn more about sharing the road in driver education classes, and define harsher penalties for drivers who injure or kill bicyclists.