It is already getting in the 30s in Ann Arbor and the snow is going to start falling soon. You may think this means you need to put your bike away for a few months, but that does not have to be the case. Biking in the winter can help you stay healthy, save money on gas and benefit the environment.
School is out, warm weather is here and you are riding your bike all around town. While riding a bike is economical, healthy and environmentally friendly, sharing city roads with vehicles is also dangerous. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 68 percent of cyclist fatalities in 2013 occurred in urban areas, a rate that has steadily increased over the years.
Every time an individual travels on a road in America, he or she takes a risk. Although road travel is relatively safe, car accidents still claim a staggering number of lives each year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 35,000 people lost their lives on U.S. roads and highways in 2015 alone.
Distracted driving is the number one cause of accidents according to the Michigan State Police website.
Last Tuesday both houses of the Michigan Legislature passed a law that limits the number of times motorcycle operators can obtain a Temporary Instruction Permit without completing the skills test required for the full motorcycle endorsement on their Michigan Drivers License. The permit was designed to allow new motorcycle riders to take practice runs and gain the experience necessary to drive a motorcycle before taking the skills test. The Temporary Instruction Permit requires the new operators to wear a helmet, ride only during the day, and ride with a fully endorsed adult motorcycle operator; however, many people would only obtain the Temporary Permit and keep renewing it to avoid having to take the skills test. It has been difficult for Police to enforce the riding restrictions on the Temporary Permits and this has encouraged many people to repeatedly acquire the Temporary Permit rather than the full endorsement. This new law is headed for the Governor's desk for his signature and will limit persons to 2 Temporary Permits over 10 years time.
All too often, bicyclists and motorcyclists do not wear helmets. The recent change to the Michigan Motorcycle Law, which now allows motorcyclists to choose for the themselves if they want to wear a helmet, has only increased the community's acceptance of helmet-less riders being simply an expression of freedom of choice. But what riders forget is that there are many elements out of their own control.According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 677 bicyclists died in 2011 in the United States. Wearing a helmet can significantly reduce this number, as can other precautions. When a bike is on the road, it is considered by law to be a moving vehicle. As suggested by the Michigan Department of State, this means that there are a number of measures a rider should take: