WE DID IT! LMB is very pleased that HB 4198, 4265, and 4185 were voted out of the State Senate and House on June 12, 2018, and are now awaiting signature by Governor Snyder. Collectively, these bills codify three feet as the minimum distance a motorist must give a bicyclist as they overtake them on the roadways and improve driver’s education in Michigan to put a greater emphasis on bicycle safety.
Below is a summary of each of the bills' contents.
HB 4265 (Hughes) will require a motorist attempting to overtake a bicyclist traveling in the same direction give at least three feet to the left of the bicyclist as they pass until they have safely passed the bicyclist. If three feet is impracticable, the motorist must pass at a safe distance to the left of the bicyclist at a safe speed. The motorist may drive to the left of the center of the highway to pass a bicyclist if it is safe to do so, regardless of if the vehicle is in a no-passing zone.
HB 4185 (Bizon) will require a motorist attempting to overtake a bicyclist traveling in the same direction to the left of a vehicle give at least three feet of distance to the right of the bicyclist until they have safely cleared the bicyclist.
HB 4198 (Alexander) will require driver’s education curriculums to include no less than one hour of classroom time devoted to laws pertaining to bicyclists, motorcyclists, and other vulnerable roadway users including pedestrians. The laws of this state pertaining to bicyclists, motorcyclists, and other vulnerable roadway users shall also be incorporated to other parts of the driver’s education curriculum where appropriate.
Now that the bills have passed, they will be presented to the Governor within one week. The Governor will then have 14 days to sign them into Public Acts. The safe passing law will take immediate effect upon signing. The driver's education law will not take immediate effect. The Secretary of State will have 90 days to develop an upgraded compliant curriculum. LMB will assist the Secretary of State in this process.
As part of this package of legislation SB 330 (O'Brien) also passed out of the State Legislature. This expands Michigan’s law punishing drivers without a valid operator license who cause the death or serious bodily injury of another person to now also apply to out-of-state drivers.
It has been a hard-fought battle to get these bills passed. Though it took considerable compromise to get this legislation to the finish line, we are optimistic that the final versions of this bill provide a foundation for future legislation that will make Michigan bicycling safer. We are not done yet, there is still room for improvement on these issues. We look forward to continuing to work for strong bicycle-friendly policies.
Thank you to Representatives Hughes, Alexander, and Bizon, as well as Senators O'Brien and Knezek, for their leadership on these issues.
Finally, thank you to everyone who signed our Action Alerts, contacted your representatives, showed up to the hearings, came to Advocacy Day, or otherwise supported this legislation. Your efforts have paid off!