Proos supports bills to improve road safety for bicyclists

Senator John Proos

Senator John Proos

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. John Proos recently voted for Senate legislation to have Michigan join nearly 40 other states with a safe passing law for drivers passing bicyclists on the road.

“With over 1,300 miles of biking trails to explore and more rail trails than any other state, Michigan is one of the most scenic states for bicycling,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “As we encourage people to get out and take a bike ride, it is critical that we increase safety for everyone on our roads, especially bicyclists.”

Senate Bills 123124 and 170 would require drivers to allow a safe distance of at least three feet when passing a cyclist on either the left or right side, and would require the state’s initial teen driver education course to include at least one hour of classroom instruction on laws pertaining to bikes, motorcycles and vulnerable roadways users.

Drivers would be permitted to pass a bicycle in a no passing zone if it is safe to do so.

Thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia have safe passing laws that mention bicycles. Of those, 29 states and the District of Columbia require a passing distance of at least three feet.

“Senator Margaret O’Brien spearheaded this bipartisan legislation following a 2016 crash in Kalamazoo, in which a pickup truck hit a group of bicyclists, killing five of them,” Proos said. “This is about helping prevent further tragedies by making clear to drivers their responsibilities when approaching bicyclists on the road.

“As we work to provide clarity in the law, I encourage Southwest Michigan bicyclists to follow safety rules and area drivers to keep an eye out for bicyclists and to pass with care.”

The bills have been sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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Editor’s note: Audio comments by Proos will be available at www.SenatorJohnProos.com/Audio.