Deadly bicycle crashes in Grand Rapids hit six-year low

Grand Rapids bicycle lane
In this undated photo, vehicles pass a bicycle lane in Grand Rapids.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids officials are crediting an unprecedented bicycle safety campaign for one of the safest summers ever on city roads.

From May to September, there were two serious or deadly crashes involving bicyclists in the city – the lowest since 2010. That’s down from 11 crashes during the same time last year.

Police said there were 42 crashes involving bicycles during the same five-month period, compared to 72 bicycle-involved crashes the year before. That’s the lowest number of reported crashes since 2004.

Grand Rapids Police Chief David Rahinsky said the data supports recently approved ordinances protecting bicyclists and pedestrians, and the need to continue Grand Rapids’ “Driving Change” education campaign.

The safe passing ordinance that took effect this year requires passing vehicles to provide a 5-foot cushion between them and a bicyclist. The Michigan House is expected to vote on a similar change to state law after the Nov. 8 election. Other recent city rules include requiring bicyclists to equip their vehicles with a white headlight and red reflector for night riding.

The Driving Change campaign is primarily funded by a federal grant and is part of a four-year program to educate everyone on how to safely share the road.

==Above, Grand Rapids Police Officer Ernie Stafford and Planning Director Suzanne Schulz discuss the new figures and what the city is doing to decrease the number of crashes.==