Highland Park Police, bicycles, and state law

Highland Park, MichiganYesterday, the below letter was sent to the Highland Park Chief of Police, Theodore G. Cadwell II:

Dear Chief Cadwell,

I am writing to express concern that some of the Highland Park police officers may not be familiar with state law and bicycling.

Last night I was riding home from the Detroit Fireworks along Woodward Avenue through Highland Park.

At 11:11pm, I passed a Highland Park squad car at a traffic stop on northbound Woodward near Church. The police officer yelled “Sidewalk” to me. Apparently he expected me to ride on the sidewalk rather than the road. However, under state law, I have the same access to the road as any motorist (though I must stay to the right.)

According to MCL 257.657:

Each person riding a bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, or moped or operating a low-speed vehicle upon a roadway has all of the rights and is subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this chapter, except as to special regulations in this article and except as to the provisions of this chapter which by their nature do not have application.

I would also note that bicycling on a sidewalk is far more dangerous than bicycling on a road. There have been numerous studies which have come to that conclusion.

Also, last month the Secretary of Transportation posted the article, Bicycling is only healthy when you ride safely. In the article he said, “Motorists should recognize that bicyclists have a right to ride on the roadway” and “bicyclists should ride on the roadway, rather than on sidewalks.”

I will drop off some booklets called “What Every Bicyclists Must Know” at the police station. They were printed in partnership with MDOT and help explain bicycle laws in the state of Michigan.

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2 Responses to “Highland Park Police, bicycles, and state law”

  1. Russix Says:

    Considering that most of the traffic lights are turned off on Woodward and it’s converted into an impromtu parallel of I-75 after the fireworks I’m not surprised. I wouldn’t ride Woodward on a clear blue day with wide open bike expressways next to it called 2nd Ave for Nouthbounders, 3rd Ave for Southbounders, and Oakland Ave for east of Woodward trips. It’s the only arterial road in the city that has such great alternative parallel full length routes.

  2. Todd Scott Says:

    The traffic lights were not turned off and the traffic was very light on Woodward through Highland Park after the fireworks. Second, Third, and Oakland are nice roads to bike, but they do not provide the direct connection to Ferndale or Royal Oak that Woodward provides.

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