Senate panel approves bills to increase safety on Michigan roads

 

LANSING, Mich. — The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday approved legislation that would increase road safety for all vulnerable roadway users, including cyclists.

Senate Bills 123, 124, 170, 330, 580, and 581 would help increase safety for all motorists and cyclists on Michigan’s roads.

“It’s important that all roadway users feel that they are safe and are obeying the rules of the road,” said Senator Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage, sponsor of SBs 124, 170, and 330. “Our roads are big enough for everyone to share and get where they are going safely and without harm. This bill package is about promoting a system that helps ensures this.”

The legislation would require motorists to allow five feet of distance when passing a cyclist on either the left or right side, would crack down on distracted driving and would require one hour of drivers education training on road safety.

Paul Runnels, Sheila Jeske, Jennifer Johnson and Paul Gobble, survivors of the June 7, 2016 cyclist-pickup collision in Kalamazoo that left five cyclists dead, all testified in support of the bill package. Representatives from disability advocate organizations also testified in support of the bills and spoke to how their bikes are their only means of transportation.

The bills now advance to the full Senate for consideration.

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Photo caption (left): Sen. Margaret O’Brien (center-right), R-Portage, is joined by Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker (right) and Sen. David Knezek (left) in welcoming Paul Runnels, Sheila Jeske, Jennifer Johnson and Paul Gobble to the Michigan Senate. The guests were survivors of the June 7, 2016 cyclist-pickup collision in Kalamazoo that left five cyclists dead.

Photo caption (right):  Paul Gobble (left) and Paul Runnels (right) testify in support of a road safety package during the Senate Judiciary Committee meeting.