If you're riding a bicycle and get in an accident with a car, you certainly have rights. You can get any medical bills paid for and even your bike repaired or replaced. That is, you might receive damages if you're not the one at fault. If you are at fault, you may even be responsible for paying damages to the car!
Luckily, it's not a case of survival of the fittest on the roads with the largest vehicle winning - because in bike vs. auto, that, obviously, is auto. Rather, Michigan, like all states, has a set of bicycle laws put out for your protection.
Obeying Traffic Rules
Though bicycles aren't technically considered a vehicle by Michigan law, cyclists must obey the same traffic laws as motorists. As the law reads, cyclists have "all the rights" but are also subject to "all of the duties" of drivers. So, that means they have the same rights to access the roads, but they also have to obey the traffic rules.
Exceptions to this regulation are situations that relate specifically to bicycles, such as going the speed limit. Obeying the traffic rules should seem like common sense. A motorist or pedestrian can't be expected to know what cyclists are doing if they're just making up their own rules - or not obeying any rules at all.
Stopping at Stop Signs and Red Lights
In 1982, the state of Idaho passed a law that states bicyclists can treat stop signs as yield signs and red lights like stop signs, as reported by Bike League. While bicycling advocates have tried to get the Idaho Stop passed in other states, traffic rules remain in effect in all other states. Cyclists are required to treat stop signs and red lights the same way as motorists do, by coming to a full stop.
Hardcore cyclists generally don't like this rule, largely because they state it's so hard to get started again. Here's a situation where survival of the fittest might be the best way to approach this unpopular law. If you as a cyclist get hit by a car you don't happen to notice, who has the most to lose?
Michigan bike law, as in most other states, requires that cyclists ride "reasonably close" to the right curb because they're traveling below the normal speed of traffic. In other words, because cyclists aren't riding as fast as the posted speed limit allows, they need to keep right so motorists can pass. Bikes and cars have to share the road. Keeping right makes that sharing easier.
If unsafe conditions, such as debris or potholes, make riding on the right side of the road unfeasible, cyclists naturally have the right to keep themselves safe.
Talking on Cell Phones
Cell phone usage is one of the areas where Michigan law allows for provisions particular to bicyclists. In short, no law prevents you from talking on the phone while riding your bike. Is it safe to do that? Well, you'll have to be the judge of your one-hand riding skills as well as your ability to watch the road while talking on the phone.
Another area that is particular to bikes and not cars is the sidewalk. Bicyclists are allowed to ride on the sidewalk, while, naturally, motorists are not. However, pedestrians have the right-of-way. As the law reads, cyclists must give an audible signal that they're approaching the pedestrian. Naturally, the pedestrian will get the worse of a collision, but neither side will fare well.
Bicycle laws aren't just for children or for when the police are watching. These laws are put in place to protect all cyclists. If you're involved in an accident while riding a bike, contact Rothstein law group to discover your options.