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Criminal Justice & Legal System

It's the law: New drivers to learn how to share the road with bikes and motorcycles

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Steven Vance
/
Flickr

A new state law requires driver education classes to include lessons on traffic laws concerning bicycles and motorcycles.

State Rep. Terry Brown, D-Pigeon, the bill's sponsor, said the law aims to make drivers more aware of bikes and motorcycles.

"New drivers – all of us drivers – are behind the wheel of very powerful instruments that can wreak a lot of harm," he said. "And we think folks need to be much more vigilant."

He said with more bikes on the road and new  infrastructure like bike lanes being built, drivers need to learn relevant traffic rules to better avoid accidents.

"One of the most important things is simply learning how to share the road and to co-exist with other users out there," said John Lindenmayer of the League of Michigan Bicyclists. 

Lindenmayer said that the law is a great first step in making Michigan roads safer and will help reduce injuries and fatalities for Michigan bikers.

According to the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning,  27 bicyclists were killed in crashes with motor vehicles in 2013, and almost 1,500 were injured.

The bill passed unanimously in both the House and the Senate and was signed into law this week. Known as the Nathan Bower Act, it is named for a 19-year-old motorcyclist who was killed in a collision with a motor vehicle in 2009.

– Virginia Gordan, Michigan Radio Newsroom