House bill would require motorists to give wide berth to bikes

Mar 22, 2018

The state House has approved a bill to require vehicles to keep a distance of at least three feet when passing bicyclists.


The legislation is largely a response to a fatal accident two years ago near Kalamazoo.


Five bicyclists were killed and four injured when a truck plowed into the group cycling in Cooper Township. That same year, the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning says 38 bicyclists died in crashes.


“We’ve had a lot of bike accidents, and we want to make sure people are safe on the road,” said state Representative Holly Hughes (R-Montague). 


But Hughes says it’s been difficult to get an agreement on exactly how much distance vehicles should keep from bikes. She says 39 states have a variety of standards. Her bill would make crowding a bicyclist a civil infraction with a penalty of fines and three points added to a driving record.


The bill now goes to the state Senate, which is also considering a bill to require a five-foot gap between vehicles and bicycles.