Winston & Damman Blog

Two Recent Deaths Highlight the Need for Preventing St. Clair County Bicycle Accidents

 In the decade spanning 2004–2013, six bicyclists lost their lives in accidents involving motor vehicles in St. Clair County, and another 230 were injured, according to the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments. Tragically, on May 26 and June 3, two bicyclists were killed within a mile of each other on a stretch of West Water Street in Port Huron Township.

Both victims were struck from behind between Westland Drive and Michigan Road. The motorist involved in the June 3rd crash was jailed briefly and later released. Alcohol is believed to have been a factor in the crash.

Authorities stated that this section of roadway does not have a history of being dangerous to travel, although they acknowledge that it is extremely busy, with many adjoining neighborhoods’ drivers emptying onto the roadway, and there’s not a lot of room for bicyclists and pedestrians. Some nearby residents reported that several streetlights were not functioning at the time of the accidents, rendering various stretches completely dark. Officials are investigating the matter.

To reduce bicyclist injuries and fatalities in Michigan, bicyclists need to be visible. Bikes should be fitted with reflectors and lights, and riders should wear bright colors and/or reflective gear, along with an approved safety helmet. Bicyclists should avoid riding on sidewalks, which endangers pedestrians and makes riders more difficult to see when entering intersections. Riders are subject to the same rules of the road as motorists.

Motorists need to be aware of their surroundings, follow traffic regulations, and realize that bicyclists have the same rights to the road as they do. Avoid drinking and driving, and eliminate cell phone use in any capacity while driving.

State and local government have their duties, too. For instance, roadways must be properly maintained to ensure safe travel, and adequate lighting should be provided in areas of heavy bicyclist and pedestrian usage.

Various legislative efforts are under way to improve bicyclist safety in Michigan. Expanded driver education, increased penalties for at-fault motorists, and mandatory minimum passing distances are all included in pending legislation.

If you’ve been injured or lost a loved one in a bicycling accident that was the fault of another, call our office for a no-charge, no-obligation consultation with one of our St. Clair County bike accident lawyers.