Safe Commuting Tips

This article was written by the MSU Bike Advisory Committee.

MSU has upgraded to the silver level of the Bicycle Friendly University Award! As we continue to advance the bicycle-friendly nature of MSU, it’s important for drivers to do their part in ensuring safety on shared roads.

A cyclist travels alongside cars on Farm Lane. Photo courtesy of Tim Potter.
A cyclist travels alongside vehicles on Farm Lane. Photo courtesy of Tim Potter.

As you drive to work, why not use more attention and compassion towards your fellow commuters and make the morning commute safer and more enjoyable for everyone? Remember that your fellow commuter might be on foot or on a bike and that every one of them means one less car on the road and one less car competing for a parking space!

If you drive a car to work you should take special care when passing cyclists. Cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities on Michigan roads as other vehicles. When passing a cyclist, make sure to pass at a safe distance. Don’t attempt to squeeze by cyclists in the same lane even though you think there’s enough room, as they may suddenly need extra room to avoid potholes, dead animals, or an icy patch on the road. Many places, including the City of Grand Rapids, already have safe passing laws that require 5 feet of safe passing distance.

Also, don’t forget to watch out for pedestrians at cross walks. Michigan law requires vehicles to yield to pedestrians in cross walks.

At the same time cyclists and pedestrians are required to follow traffic rules: don’t cross a street when you have a “don’t walk” signal or a red light. Michigan law requires cyclists to stop at stop signs and red lights just as any other vehicle.

But besides following basic rules, even more important is to be alert and courteous. This makes commuting a better experience for everyone. Just remember, the cyclist you just buzzed might be working at the Clinical Center and giving you a flu shot later, or it might be the professor of your next MSU class.

All commuters share two goals: get to work safely and get home safely after work. Let’s work together to make that happen!

Want to help MSU become more bike friendly? Attend a meeting of the MSU Bike Advisory Committee


MSU Police MOVE SAFE campaign 

League of Michigan Bicyclists safe cycling handbook 

MSU Bike Commuter Benefits:

Learn More about Safe Bicycling 

Michigan Law Regarding Bicycling

2 thoughts on “Safe Commuting Tips

  1. I appreciate your remarks and as a follower of the rules, I totally understand. However, as a pedestrian walker I believe this article was pretty one sided in favor of the bicyclists. I have frequently been buzzed by cyclists and skateboarders on the pedestrian walkways even when there are bike lanes in place. And perhaps the person that is walking may be the professor or the person who gives the flu shot. It’s a two edged sword. Education has to go both ways.

    1. Hi Gloria,

      Thank you for the feedback! This article was written by the MSU Bike Advisory Committee, so yes, they were speaking more from the perspective of bikers who ride on the roads. I completely agree that cyclists need to consider pedestrians, especially when they choose to use the sidewalks. We’ll see if we can arrange a follow-up piece about pedestrian safety! Education for all parties is important. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *