Southeast Michigan Group Calls for Heightened Awareness After Rise in Serious Crash Injuries
The Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) recently released a report highlighting concerns about the rise in serious injuries resulting from crashes between motor vehicles and bicycles or pedestrians in the southeast corner of the state. While the number of traffic crashes remained steady in 2017, down less than one percent from 2016, they were still up nine percent from 2008. Serious injuries among non-motorists increased significantly causing a raised eye towards distracted drivers, unsafe travel paths and weak traffic laws protecting both bicyclists and pedestrians.
SEMCOG has used this information to create an interactive map & database of local plans that involve issues related to safe travel. The database shows accident trends in specific Southeast Michigan communities dating back to 2012. Crash data from the Michigan State police and the Criminal Justice Information Center was used to produce both the map and the report.
Drivers Should Be on Better Watch for Pedestrians and Bicyclists
Motor vehicle drivers are not the only road users. Bicyclists and pedestrians are also commonly found crossing streets or sharing paths with cars and trucks. These people are far more vulnerable to injury or death in a crash than drivers and passengers in cars. Until additional protections and laws are set into motion, the Law Offices of Lee Steinberg urges motorists to follow these general, common-sense road safety rules for interacting with pedestrians and bicyclists on all Michigan roadways.
- When passing bicyclists, make sure to leave enough room so the bicyclist is not endangered. Start using five feet as a safe clearance range.
- When approaching an intersection, keep alert and look twice for bicyclists and pedestrians. Be courteous and allow them to clear the intersection safely.
- It is important to be extra vigilant in left turn lanes. Left turns present a higher risk for crashes because it may be easier for motorists to overlook bicyclists or pedestrians due to their smaller size.
- Use your horn if you see bicyclists or pedestrians participating in unsafe behaviors like texting while walking, talking on their phones or generally not paying attention. Giving a honk towards someone crossing an unsafe path while carrying bags or a child in front of their line of sight could prevent an injury or save a life.
- It is important to look for bicyclists and other people traveling when backing out of parking spaces or traveling through parking lots. Check your mirrors before beginning the backing out process.
- In Michigan, a bicycle lane constitutes as a portion of a roadway with pavement markings and signs exclusively for bicyclists. This lane cannot be used by motorists as a driving lane or for parking.
In general, drivers need to follow traffic laws, stay alert, follow signage, stay in your lane, and away from distractions like texting or eating. While pedestrian and bicycle crashes make up approximately one percent of all traffic crashes, SEWCOG says they account for an alarming 30 percent of all traffic fatalities in Southeast Michigan.
Call an Experienced Michigan Personal Injury Attorney
Working with insurance companies to ensure you get the compensation you deserve can be frustrating and confusing. We want to help. Our attorneys at The Law Offices of Lee Steinberg have represented accident victims for over 40 years and are experts on these cases. If you or a loved one have been involved in a car crash involving a bicycle or pedestrian, our Michigan personal injury attorneys will fight to ensure you receive the compensation and benefits you deserve.
Please call Lee Free at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) or fill out the Free Case Evaluation Form. And remember, you pay nothing until we settle your bicycle and pedestrian accident case.