Rules of the Road (FAQ)

The road improvements help design a safe place for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers, but residents and visitors need to know the appropriate rules of the road to become a functioning and safe place for multiple modes of transportation. Become familiar with the Rules of the Road below, and learn how other communities are rethinking roads for all users on the Inspiration and Design Tools pages.

Rules of the Road (FAQ)

1. Where should I ride my bicycle in a normal driving lane when a bike lane is not present?
Bicyclists should stay to the right side of the roadway or curb to allow for faster vehicles to pass on the left. However there are exceptions:

• When traveling at the speed of traffic

• When passing other bicycles or vehicles

• When turning left

• When it’s unsafe, e.g. there’s debris or pedestrians in the road.

• When the road is too narrow for a vehicle to safely pass you

• When going straight and there’s a right turn lane.

• When on a one-way street with two or more lanes. In that case, you can ride on on the left-hand side of the road.

  2. Does it matter which direction I ride my bicycle in the bike lane? Yes! Bicycles in the bike lanes are required to travel in the same direction as traffic. For example, when traveling in the bike lane westbound on E. Nine Mile, cyclists should be on the north side of the street.

3. I am going on a group bike ride through the City. Can the group ride bicycles two by two? Yes! You can ride single-file or side-by-side at any time, but no more than that unless you’re in a bike lane or on a bike path. Be sure to audibly notify your fellow riders if an automobile is behind you.

4. What are the appropriate ways to notify other road users that I will be turning? Hand signals are the best way to let drivers, pedestrians, and other cyclists that you will be making a turn ahead.

• Left Turn: Fully extend your left arm out to the side

• Right Turn: Fully extend your right arm out to the side

• Slowing or Stopping: Extend your left arm out at a right angle with your hand open

  5. What is the best way to wear a helmet when riding a bicycle? Fitting a Helmet:

• Place it on your head without fastening the straps

• There should be a two-fingers width between your eyebrows and helmet

• There should be little movement when you shake your head from side to side

• You will want to start out with the smallest size– you may have to try on different sizes and brands of helmets until you find one that fits

Adjusting Your Helmet:

• The side straps should come to a point just below your ears forming a “Y” shape

• When your mouth is closed, there should be about half an inch between the chin strap and your chin

6. Can I ride my bicycle on the sidewalk?
Sidewalk riding is not illegal in Ferndale, but we do encourage riders to Walk Your Wheels in Downtown. Numerous hazards such as postal boxes, poles and patios make sidewalk riding dangerous. Cyclists must give pedestrians the right of way and must give an audible signal before passing a pedestrian. 7. Are there rules that motorists are required to abide by that they should be aware of? Yes! The Uniform Traffic Code (UTC) is maintained by the Michigan State Police. It fills in the gaps for items not covered under state law. The bicycling-related rules include:

• Motorists cannot drive or park on bike paths

• Motorists cannot drive or park in a bike lane

• Motorists cannot block crosswalks

• Motorists cannot open doors and block traffic

• Drinking alcohol is not allowed on public roads (though DUI/DWI laws only apply to motorists)

• Littering is not allowed on roads

• When bicyclists dismount, they are considered pedestrians

• Motorists “shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian on any roadway, shall give warning by sounding the horn when necessary, and shall exercise proper precaution upon observing any child or any confused or incapacitated person on a roadway.”

8. What does the green paint in bike lanes mean? The green painted areas that have been installed on E. Nine Mile Road, Woodward Heights, and Livernois are called "conflict areas.". They are spots on the road where there is potential for bicycles, automobiles, and public buses may interact due to presence of a bus stop or a right turn. The paint acts as signage to make all users of the road more aware of the shared space.

Here is how they work: If you're driving a vehicle and you need to cross the bike lane (to make a turn, for example), use the green areas to do so. Never drive in a bike lane. If you're a cyclist, use caution and watch for vehicle turn signal when you approach a great patch. 9. What is the appropriate way to turn left if I am in a bike lane on the right side of the road?
As you approach an intersection while riding in the bike lane:

• Check to see if a car is in the drive lane over your shoulder

• Signal a left hand turn by fully extending your left arm out to the side

• Change lanes when able to safely, this will require moving to the drive lane and then the center turn lane (if available)

• Complete the left turn when able to safely and obey normal traffic light laws

View the example video below.

10. Do cyclists have to stop at stop signs or are they able to roll through when cars are not present?
Cyclists must obey the rules of the road as any other vehicle operator, including all traffic signs, lane markings and signals, and use hand signals to indicate turns, slowing or stopping (per Michigan law)