Sometimes it takes a tragedy to draw attention to something that needs to change. In the same way that it took widespread media coverage of the Maryanne Godboldo case to instigate change in how CPS can enforce medication orders from doctors, sometimes public awareness of an issue is what’s needed to address a problem.
Likewise, in the wake of the drunk driving accident that killed five bicyclists and injured another four in Kalamazoo, Michigan earlier this year, bills were introduced in the Michigan Senate to raise awareness and promote safety for cyclists all over Michigan. Senate Bills 1076, 1077, and 1078 have been widely supported by bicyclists all over the state. They have been lobbying for change since long before the unfortunate June 16, 2016 crash.
Senate Bill 1076proposes to afford cyclists more room on the road. Under the new possible legislation, drivers on Michigan roads would be required to give anyone riding on a bicycle at least five feet of space when passing them on the road. Senate Bill 1077 says that after pass passing, a vehicle must “take up a position as near the right-hand edge of the main traveled portion of the highway as is practicable.”
The last proposed bill, Senate Bill 1078 wants to include three hours of additional training during driver’s education, aimed at educating drivers about cyclist and motorcycle safety. This bill passed the Senate unanimously, while the former bills dealing with the five foot clearance for cyclists on the road, was voted against by only two of the 36 Michigan senators present.
Although all three bills dealing with bicyclist safety were passed by our state Senate, no action was taken on two others. Senate Bills 1029 and 1030, which dealt with criminal liability for drivers who caused injury to cyclists, did not meet with the same support.
Under proposed SB 1029 and 1030, the law would have imposed criminal liability, including possible jail time and fines, on drivers who commit moving violations that result in injury to a bicyclist. According to the proposed bills, an injury to a cyclist would be a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail and fines of up to a $1,000. A cyclist’s death on the other hand, would result in a felony charge, punishable by up to 15 years imprisonment and a possible $7,500 fine.
The man accused of causing the accident this past summer in Kalamazoo, 50-year-old Charles Pickett Jr., was initially charged with five counts of second-degree murder and four counts of Reckless Driving Causing Serious Impairment. However, charges of Driving While Intoxicated Causing Death were added later, after toxicology results revealed that Pickett had consumed as many as 30 pills before getting behind the wheel.
Operating under the influence of drugs (OUID) or alcohol (OUIL) is dangerous and even if no one is harmed, could result in very serious criminal charges. If you or a loved one are accused of operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs, contact our criminal defense attorneys today at 866-766-5245. This is a serious allegation and you are going to need an experienced drunk driving attorney on your side. We can help you sort this out; we’ve been through this hundreds of times.