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New Report Shows Dramatic Decline In Bicycle-Motorist Accidents

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Grand Rapids’ largest ever bicycle safety education campaign is dramatically reducing crashes.  That information comes from a new report. The awareness campaign is funded through a federal grant with the city and the Michigan Department of Transportation.   

“We are so excited about the findings from this study so far.”

It’s called the “Driving Change” campaign.  Results were released earlier this week.  Data collected during spring and summer months shows the campaign is working.  It revealed dramatic declines in bicyclist-motorist crashes as well as serious injuries in 2016.  With such outstanding results, the campaign will extend into next year.  Here’s Grand Rapids Planning Director, Suzanne Schulz.

“We’ve actually seen the lowest number of bicycle involved crashes in the city of Grand Rapids in the period of May through September then when we first started gathering data in 2004.  So we definitely want to continue the messaging and the project so that the city knows what it means to be safe on the road.”

Schulz says they’ve included a number of components in their study, including significant policy changes by the mayor and city commission in an effort to make Grand Rapids more bicycle friendly.

“For example last year, they passed an ordinance which said you must leave a five foot safe passing zone for cyclist, that means cars cannot come close to bicyclist , they need to share the road; they also passed rules for bicyclists, saying you have to be seen.”

The Driving Change campaign that ran from May until Sept 30th also highlights the importance of biking in this community.

“For some people it’s the only mode of transportation, for others it’s for physical health. We want people to be healthy in our city.”

With the stepped up commitment to bicycle safety, Schulz says they want to help Grand Rapids become known, not only as “Furniture City” and Beer City, but also “Bicycle Safety City.”


Jennifer is an award winning broadcast news journalist with more than two decades of professional television news experience including the nation's fifth largest news market. She's worked as both news reporter and news anchor for television and radio in markets from Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo all the way to San Francisco, California.