Kalamazoo bicycle crash survivors testify in Lansing for strict cycling bills

Bike Crash Survivors Testify

LANSING, MICH., - Survivors of the Kalamazoo County bike crash that killed five people in June 2016 testified in Lansing Wednesday for laws that better protect cyclists. 

"If we can tell part of our story to make it safer for the others then we're happy to do that," said survivor Paul Gobble.

The Michigan State Senate Judiciary Committee passed six bills related to cycling. Two bills call for a five-foot buffer when drivers pass cyclists, two pushed for an increased focus on cycling in drivers education classes and two would make sentencing guidelines stricter for distracted drivers.

"All of us either bicycle, walk, run -- we use our roadways in some manner outside of being a motorist," said State Sen. Margaret O'Brien, R-Portage, who introduced the bills.

O'Brien introduced the bills last year, but they were killed in the House. She said they have more support this time around. 

"So we have some strong supporters," O'Brien said. "I expect that there will be four house bills signed into law and two senate bills signed into law."

The bills are about creating a culture change on the roads, Gobble said. 

"Everyone knows that if you put on your seatbelt, you don't get that ticket," he said. "We just need to ingrain that into our culture to save lives." 

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