Bipartisan legislation has been introduced that aims to protect road users by increasing penalties for injuring or killing a cyclist or pedestrian in the state of Michigan.

Sens. Sean McCann (D-Kalamazoo) and Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan), along with Reps. Julie Rogers (D-Kalamazoo) and Bronna Kahle (R-Adrian), from  this week designed to protect vulnerable road users in Michigan. Senate Bills 580 and 581, and House Bills 5181 and 5182 would create enhanced penalties for drivers who injure or kill a vulnerable roadway user, such as cyclists, pedestrians, or wheelchair users.

Historically, Michigan law has specifically placed little to no burden on drivers who injure non-motorized users, with the victim often having to prove the event took place due to severe negligence, It should be expected that road users would face consequences should their reckless actions result in the injury or death of another person, however that’s currently not the case. We need to do a better job of protecting Michiganders exploring all our state has to offer, and this legislation aims to do just that.

-Michigan Senator Sean McCann (D-Kalamazoo)

Shockingly, in 2020, more than 675 cyclists were killed in automobile-related accidents in the U.S and pedestrian deaths by car crashes increased 21% in 2020.

Unfortunately, even Kalamazoo has experienced its share of bicycling-related tragedies. In 2016, nine cyclists were hit by a person driving a truck while riding together near Markin Glen Park. Five of the cyclists were killed, and the other four were seriously injured and hospitalized. Earlier this year, a 61-year-old man was killed in a crash on West KL Avenue, near the location where a runner was previously hit and killed. These heartbreaking instances prove that we need to do more to protect our vulnerable roadway users and I am proud to be part of this package to do just that.

-Michigan Representative Julie Rogers (D-Kalamazoo)

The legislation has been referred to the proper committees in the House and Senate and we will see if it moves forward form here. There is no reason to wait until passage to put down your devices and pay more attention while behind the wheel and be courteous to other road users.

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