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Issues Of The Environment: Creating A 'Safe Passage Ordinance' For Ann Arbor Bicyclists

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When drivers and bicyclists don't share the road, there can be terrible consequences.  So, the City of Ann Arbor took action.  In this week's "Issues of the Environment," WEMU's David Fair talks to Bradley Parsons, a board member for the Washtenaw County Biking and Walking Coalition, about a new measure designed to reduce accidents involving bike riders.


   *   In early December, Ann Arbor adopted a “safe passing ordinance” that makes it illegal for motorists to pass cyclists, pedestrians, or wheelchair users with any less than a five-foot berth.  Drivers who fail to keep this “safe distance” can be ticketed.

   *   It is already to illegal in Michigan for motorists to pass in an unsafe manner, so this statute adds teeth to law by specifying the distance.  According to the League of American Bicyclists (LAB), 28 states have a safe passing law of 3 feet or greater, and several cities in Michigan have passed ordinance similar to Ann Arbor’s. 

   *   Critics of the ordinance say that it will be difficult to enforce, because law enforcement will need to prove the distance was less than five feet.

   *   Bradley Parsons, Board Member for the Washtenaw County Biking and Walking Coalition, has a unique personal stake in the safe passing law because both he and his wife work in Ann Arbor, and they have been living car-free for over a year.

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— David Fair is the WEMU News Director and host of Morning Edition on WEMU.  You can contact David at734.487.3363, on twitter @DavidFairWEMU, or email him at dfair@emich.edu

Contact David: dfair@emich.edu
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