If you ever accidentally hit a bicyclist, motorcyclist, or pedestrian (BMP) in a rural or remote area, really hit them good, you are at an amazing advantage. If they are fatally injured, you can invent whatever story you want to absolve yourself of legal blame in almost all situations. If they require critical care, you're still in luck because they likely have limited memory of the accident. That is, if you actually decide to stop and call for help. All too often, dead and dying BMPs are left behind by hit-and-run drivers who may have been too toasted to dial 911.
In our area on this night, an old-enough male bicyclist (28 y.o.) was hit from behind by what statistically should be a safe driver (a 38 y.o female) in a jeep. They were both driving east this evening (the glaring sun to the west wasn't a factor for the jeep) on Dewey Road where it meets Sherman. Here's the two stories reported by our local media:
According to Sgt. Adam Lamb of the Mason County Sheriff’s Office, both the bicyclist and a Jeep Cherokee were east on Dewey Road as they neared the Sherman Road intersection. At the last moment, the bicyclist signaled to turn left, Lamb said. The Jeep’s 38-year-old female driver was unable to compensate in time for the sudden turn, Lamb said.
The bicyclist was transported by Life EMS ambulance to Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital and was expected to be transferred to a Grand Rapids hospital via AeroMed helicopter. The driver of the Jeep and her male passenger were uninjured.
Also responding to the scene was Hamlin Township Fire Department.
A bicyclist has suffered head injuries after he was hit by a vehicle Monday night near Dewey and Sherman roads in Hamlin Township.
According to Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole, the cyclist and vehicle were both east bound on Dewey Road. The cyclist attempted a left turn and hit the front right side of the vehicle as it was trying to go around him.
Two different law enforcement perspectives are shared, Sgt. Lamb saying the bicyclist signaled at the last moment to turn left and the passing vehicle driver could not respond in time to the sudden turn. Sheriff Cole tells us that the bicyclist "hit the front right side of the vehicle as it was trying to go around him." while attempting a left turn.
No pictures of the front of the jeep or the bicycle have been released, but even without the bicyclist's side of events, we learn that the bicyclist signaled left, likely while moving to the center of the road, and the jeep attempted to pass him right at the intersection of Sherman during this attempt, and struck the bicycle with the front of her jeep.
If the bicyclist was instead inside a car and signaling left at this intersection, and the jeep behind it crashed into it while passing, the jeep driver would be ticketed with a moving violation for sure. When the person in front is a biker, then the law automatically changes in the eyes of most. That perspective is so damaging in preventing accidents like these.
Passing when you shouldn't is a 'moving violation', and if your moving violation causes serious injury or death, you should be charged with a misdemeanor, maybe get some time in jail, at least that's what the law says: MCL 257.601d.
The law specifically protects emergency scenes and school/bus zones, and even those who operate implements of husbandry, the idea that the laws protect bicyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians to a less extent than other motorists encased in a metal cage is absurd, and the media and police need to realize that.
The rider and driver's names have been released. I am quite sure that the 'correction' added by the sheriff is in error. Devon Hansen lives up Sherman Road, north of Dewey, and was turning up Sherman to get home. If you notice the map of the intersection above, there is no driveway to the north anywhere near the intersection. The narrative of the bicyclist being somehow at fault is still there: "Hansen attempted to make a left turn into a driveway... the turn resulted in Hansen striking the front of the 2015 Jeep Cherokee."
When someone hits you from behind with the front of their vehicle, you have struck them. Unbelievable.
HAMLIN TOWNSHIP — Devon Hansen, 28, of Ludington, was critically injured following a bicycle/SUV crash Monday afternoon on Dewey Road near the intersection of Sherman Road.
The crash occurred around 5:15 p.m. Both Hansen and the SUV were traveling eastbound on Dewey Road when Hansen attempted to make a left turn into a driveway, according to Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole. The turn resulted in Hansen striking the front of the 2015 Jeep Cherokee driven by Margaret Yeager, 38, of Ludington.