Another bicycle accident in Hamlin Township (see this incident two days previously) fortunately leaves the older bicyclist with minor injuries.
HAMLIN TOWNSHIP — The second vehicle/bicycle crash within two days in Hamlin Township occurred Wednesday afternoon at the corner of Lakeshore Drive and Jagger Road.
A 54-year-old man was riding a bicycle southbound on Lakeshore Drive on the east shoulder (riding against traffic) when a westbound vehicle on Jagger Road, driven by a 56-year-old Hart woman, turned onto Lakeshore. The bicyclist struck the passenger side of the vehicle. He received minor injuries. The vehicle’s driver was uninjured, according to Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole.
Mason County Sheriff’s Office, Hamlin Township Fire Department and Life EMS ambulance responded.
The map above shows the bird's-eye view of the incident, with the red line indicating the car's path of travel, the fuchsia line being the bicyclist's path.
As a bicyclist myself, I have nothing but scorn for those others who ride against traffic even when it's on the shoulder of the road; after all they are typically presenting a hazard to all those who do it the right way. Additionally, if the article's information is correct it was the biker who hit into the passenger side of the vehicle. And even though the elderly bicyclist was hurt in the crash, the commenters to the article above on Facebook were calling for more blood for what they perceived as a terrible thing
Where are these commenters when another driver turns into the path of a motorcyclist? Let's take a look at what the sober laws and logic say.
There is no law in Michigan, either in the statutes or the MI Uniform Traffic Code that indicates how bicycle and pedestrian traffic should behave when on the shoulder of a roadway. MCL 257.59a defines a shoulder as 'contiguous to the roadway, not designed for vehicular travel'. Noting that in Michigan law a 'Bicycle' is not a vehicle, they can travel there legally and are not compelled by law to travel either with or against roadway traffic.
Recall, the law that forces bicyclists to travel with traffic (MCL 257.657) is only applicable when the bicyclist is using the roadway, which does not include the shoulder. But even though no legal authority holds rule, the typical protocol is to ride with traffic, because quite often you have to enter the roadway when the shoulder is otherwise obstructed.
Interestingly, there is some legal wriggle room on part of the vehicle driver in this case. Michigan right of way law (MCL 257.649(6)) indicates "After having stopped [at a stop sign], the driver shall yield the right of way to a vehicle which has entered the intersection from another highway or which is approaching so closely on the highway as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time when the driver would be moving across or within the intersection."
Even though a bicycle is not a vehicle, it has the rights of a vehicle when ridden on the roadway. The bicycle was off the roadway so did not have 'vehicle' rights for the right of way. Yet the MI UTC does give drivers the extra duty to use due care and yield the right of way when at crosswalks and other areas with pedestrian and bicycle travel in most situations.
With that and more resources at your disposal, who should be ticketed here? Neither, the driver, the rider, or both?