By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — The City Council unanimously approved a bicycle safety ordinance during its Sept. 26 meeting that requires drivers to give 5 feet of space to bikers when passing on the road.
“The city has become pretty biker friendly,” Council President Susan Dabaja said. “We now have a bike sharing programs and we’re creating bike paths around our city. Along with that comes the responsibility of making sure that they are safe.”
The ordinance will require drivers to maintain a minimum distance when overtaking or passing a bicycle. Any person who violates the rule will be given a civil infraction.
The ordinance reads:
“When overtaking or passing a person operating a bicycle proceeding in the same direction, the driver of a motor vehicle shall exercise due care and may only overtake or pass a bicyclist when there is a safe distance, which shall minimally require allowing the bicyclist at least five feet operation between the right side of the driver’s vehicle, including all mirrors or other projections, and the left side of the bicyclist at all times.”
Resident Tracy Besek, an organizer of Healthy Dearborn’s weekly Walk ’n’ Rolls and co-founder of Bike Dearborn, brought the ordinance to the city council to promote biking and a healthy living in the city.
“I want to thank each and everyone of you for voting yes on this ordinance,” Besek said. “Dozens of people cycle through Dearborn each day including our bike share users. Some, like myself, are residents; some visit from neighboring communities. We appreciate that the city of Dearborn values our safety.”
Councilman David Bazzy said this is phase one of safety for bicyclists and hopes bikes lanes will be created along certain roads most often used by bike riders.
“This is great when we’re talking about creating a safer environment,” he said, “but an even safer environment will be when we actually get to the point where we add actual bike lanes in traffic areas and multiple areas around the city that helps us to identify and find good areas for biking across the community.”
In June, the first ever bike sharing program was launched by the city in collaboration with Zagster. The program provides residents and visitors with 50 Zagster 8 cruiser bikes at 10 stations throughout both downtown areas.
Dearborn Sausage Co. owners Donald and Mary Kosch provided the sponsorship for the program by donating $1.2 million.
Bikes can be found using the free Zagaster Mobile App available for iPhone and Android, online at gagster.com/dearborn and via texting by sending “SMS” to 202-999-3924.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected].)