It’s just about the time of year when people will be hopping on bicycles for recreation and transportation.

 You’ll want to know the newest “rule of the road” so that the roads are safer for everyone. Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation on Jan. 28 allowing bicyclists simply to extend their right arm horizontally to signal a right turn. The previous law, requiring bicyclists to raise their left arm at a 90-degree angle to signal a right turn, had been on the books since 1946.

 House Bill 4866, sponsored by State Rep. Anthony Forlini, is now Public Act 1 of 2014.

 Bicycle safety has never been a serious problem in the city of Fenton, with an average of 1.4 crashes a year involving a bicycle, according to Fenton Police Chief Rick Aro. Seven crashes have been reported since 2009, six of them the fault of the driver of the motor vehicle. Five of those involved a bicyclist crossing a private drive or roadway (in the crosswalk) when they were struck by the vehicle. “Typically, the driver is looking for other vehicles (cars and trucks) and doesn’t notice the bike,” said Aro.

 Aro added that the most frequent violations he sees are bikes riding on the roadway against traffic and failing to signal when riding on the roadway.

Bicycle ‘Rules of the Road’

 Bicyclists have all the same rights and responsibilities as the driver of any other vehicle and can be ticketed for violating Michigan traffic laws.

 More than half of all urban car-bike crashes are caused by one or more of the following:

Cyclists:

• Cycling against the direction of traffic

• Failure to yield when required

• Running a stop sign or red light

• Cycling at night without required lighting

• Riding into a street at mid-block

Motorists:

• Failure to yield to a cyclist when required

• Unsafely passing a cyclist

• Right or left turn immediately in front of a cyclist

• Driving too fast for conditions

• Opening driver-side door into a cyclist’s path

Use proper signals, intentionally and in plenty of time

• Signal left turns by extending your left arm straight out to the left.

• Signal right turns by extending your right arm straight out to the right (notice this is a new change in the law)

• Signal stopping or slowing by extending your left arm straight down with your palm facing rearward.

Road and lane placement

• Ride predictably, consistently and attentively.

• Stay to the right, but don’t hug the curb.

• Ride in the right wheel track of motor vehicles. This places you within a motorist’s field of vision, and allows you to move away from traffic to avoid obstacles, open car doors or crowding by another vehicle.

• Never ride more than two abreast.

• When stopping your bike for a rest or an emergency, move completely off the road.

• Make eye contact with drivers at intersections.

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