City touts positive statistics for bicycle safety in 2016

Posted at 4:05 PM, Oct 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-31 16:43:18-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - The city says that a public awareness campaign about bicycle safety led to a "dramatic" decline in car/bicycle crashes and serious injuries in the summer of 2016.

Grand Rapids launched Driving Change in May.  Police chief David Rahinsky says that continuing the campaign will keep reducing the "frequency and severity" of bicycle crashes in the city.

Rahinsky and Mayor Rosalynn Bliss made the announcements Monday.  Included in the statistics:

  • May - September 2016 saw only two fatal or serious injury crashes, down from 11 in 2015.  That is the lowest total in Grand Rapids since 2010.
  • Total crashes involving bicycles decreased 40% from 2015 to 2016, from 72 to 42.  That is the lowest total in Grand Rapids since 2004.
  • Statewide, there has been a 10% drop in bicycle crashes, so Grand Rapids is outperforming the rest of the state.

According to the city, 94% of those surveyed now say they are at least somewhat familiar with rules for bicyclists in Grand Rapids and 70% believe Grand Rapids to be a bicycle-friendly city.

The city now also has a five-foot ordinance where vehicles have to leave five feet between their vehicle and bicycle when passing.