2017-06-29 / Front Page

It’s bikes v. cars on county roadways

M-22 work stays on schedule P. 10
By Amy Hubbell
Of The Enterprise staff


THE GAINES family from Traverse City crosses M-22 using a newly-installed “refuge island” in the middle of S. West Bay Shore Dr., from the Discovery Center to Discovery Pier. — Photo by Eric Carlson THE GAINES family from Traverse City crosses M-22 using a newly-installed “refuge island” in the middle of S. West Bay Shore Dr., from the Discovery Center to Discovery Pier. — Photo by Eric Carlson Tensions are rising in the county with an increased volume of vehicles and bicycles sharing the same road.

Some are saying that using the word “sharing” may be an over-reach.

Eric Shawbitz of Lake Leelanau vented his frustration via Facebook. He encountered a group of four bicyclist gathered at the intersection of M-22 and M-204.

“This was not a place to have a snack,” he said in a phone interview after the post. “They were four-deep into the road, impeding traffic turning toward Leland.”

Shawbitz’ rant set off a firestorm of comments, mostly from people complaining about bikers behaving badly.

Shawbitz was already driving conservatively. “I was hauling a 14-foot utility trailer behind me,” he explained.

Shawbitz said he had a few “choice” words for the group ,for which he also apologized. However, he left the experience with hope that something could be done in Lansing to require bicycle owners to register their bikes if they intend to ride on the road.

That’s unlikely.

“I have a tendency to vote to make sure things stay within local control,” said state Rep. Curt VanderWall (R- Ludington). “I understand that our district (Leelanau, Benzie, Manistee and Mason counties) explodes in traffic and bicycles.

“My biggest concern is safety.”

Safety is also the top concern for Peter Worden, a 30-year cyclist and member of Hagerty Cycling and Blue U, Hagerty’s educational wing dedicated to training and education for bike riders on the road, mountain bikes and cyclcross.

“It’s hard to comment on a specific situation. But in general, it’s important for both motorists and cyclist to share the rules of the road,” he said.

When “practicable” cyclists are supposed to ride on the far right side of their lane.

“That may or may not mean the shoulder, because there may be broken up pavement or potholes,” Worden said.

Cyclist are also supposed to ride no more than two abreast while on public roads.

Sheriff Mike Borkovich has suggestions for both bikers and drivers to remember while traveling on Leelanau County roads this summer.

“Bikers should wear safety green to increase their visibility,” he said. “It’s not a law, but highly recommended.”

Motorists should be aware bicyclist are on the roadway — and may be in their blind spot.

Borkovich said bicyclist are required to observe all laws on the roadway.

“They need to stop at all stop signs and travel at the extreme right side of the road,” he said.

And the same laws that pertain to drivers of vehicles who are drunk or distracted also apply to cyclists.

“We want everyone to have a safe and happy summer,” Borkovich said. “We have to be careful with this many people on the roads.”

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Sorry, but it's inaccurate to

Sorry, but it's inaccurate to say you can get an OWI on a bicycle. That statute only applies to motor vehicles.