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Bicycle Accidents Decreasing Across Washtenaw County, Sheriff's Report Finds

The number of bicycle-vehicle accidents in the Dexter area is down from 2011, according to the sheriff's traffic services department.

The number of bicyclists involved in traffic collisions in the Dexter area is decreasing, according to a recent report from the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office.

From January to June, the sheriff's office has policed 15 pedestrian or bicycle-vehicle crashes. Of those, there was one fatality, 13 injuries, and one damaged property.

"So far this year, the number of bicycle collisions in western Washtenaw County is down significantly, which is a good thing," Detective Robert Losey said. "In comparison, in 2011 there were 42 accidents across Washtenaw County policed by our agency involving pedestrians or bicyclists."

Of those accidents, three were fatalities, 34 were injuries, and five resulted in property damage.

In light of the , who was killed when her bicycle was struck by a vehicle in Dexter Township last month, sheriff's deputies provided Patch a list of high accident areas in Washtenaw County.

From January to June, accidents occurred in Scio Township near the intersection of Jackson and Nancy roads, Dexter Village at the intersection of Baker Road and Main Street, and in Dexter Township at the intersection of North Territorial Road and Dexter-Pinckney Road.

In 2011, two accidents occurred in Scio Township near Jackson Plaza at Liberty and Scio Ridge roads. One accident occurred in Lodi Township near Wagner and Waters roads, and in the Village of Dexter at Main Street and Baker Road.

The majority of accidents involving bicycles and vehicles have occured in and around the City of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti Township, according to Loosey. Those accidents were more likely to happen in high-traffic urban areas, and near bike paths.

"It makes sense that we would see higher incidents in areas where there is a higher concentration of cyclists," Derrick Jackson, director of community engagement for the sheriff's office said.

Jeffrey Turck, owner of Dexter Bike and Sport, said he has seen an increase in the amount of cyclists around Dexter this year, which he attributes to Michigan's warm spring and summer seasons.

"Cycling is more popular than ever in the rural parts of the county. With the exception of the days when we saw temperatures near the high 90s, a lot of people have been out on their bikes," Turck said. "I think this area has always been known for its opportunities for recreational cycling."

As an avid cyclist, Turck said he feels Dexter Village and the surrounding townships have done a good job promoting bicycle safety.

"Our local leaders have taken steps to add more bike lanes and paths, my only wish is that there could be more," he said. "It's apparent with the amount of people coming through our doors that cycling is a high priority on the lifestyle list of certain people."

By the end of 2013, there will be 10 miles of contiguous bike trails accessible in the Village of Dexter, according to the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Department.

Currently, work on the Border-to-Border Trail is being completed on a short pathway through Warrior Creek Park in the village, connecting the park with a 2.6-mile path heading into . A second bike path through Mill Creek Park will eventually hook up with Dexter High School near Shield Road.

TOP 10 BICYCLE-VEHICLE ACCIDENTS JANUARY TO JUNE 2012

  • Ypsilanti City, East Michigan Avenue at North Huron Street (two crashes).
  • Ann Arbor City, Packard Street at South State Street (two crashes).
  • Ann Arbor City, Hill Street at Packard Street (two crashes).
  • Ann Arbor City, South University Avenue at East University Avenue (one crash).
  • Pittsfield Township, East Ellsworth Road at Crystal Creek Drive (one crash).
  • Ypsilanti Township, Wiard Boulevard at East Clark Road (one crash).
  • Ann Arbor City, East Liberty Street at South 5th Avenue (one crash).
  • Scio Township, Jackson Road at Nancy Drive (one crash).
  • Ypsilanti Township, Merrill Street at North Hewitt Road (one crash).
  • Ann Arbor City, Plymouth Road at Traverwood Drive (one crash).
Phyllis Risdon August 02, 2012 at 12:47 PM
You might want to correct the word "deceasing" in your headline...I believe you meant to say DECREASING.... good grief, there's a big difference between those two words!
Daniel Lai August 02, 2012 at 01:04 PM
Oh Phyllis, I know there's a difference between the two words. The word has been corrected. Thank you.
Jason August 02, 2012 at 01:19 PM
Thanks for giving some attention to this subject, Daniel. Cycling is a very prominent activity for many in the Dexter community. It deserves more attention.
Stacey Wing August 02, 2012 at 02:00 PM
Phyllis, I saw the same error when I read this on facebook. I see that they changed it in the title, but the link still contains the error. Serious malfunction in editing here.
Daniel Lai August 02, 2012 at 02:00 PM
Yes, I see a lot of people riding bikes in the area. I used to ride, but it's gotten real dangerous in the past few years.
Daniel Lai August 02, 2012 at 02:10 PM
Once a story is published, the URL cannot be changed. The title in the headline has been corrected, Stacey.
melissa ochoa August 02, 2012 at 02:17 PM
I am all for cycling, but some of them are very careless. They think they are driving vehicles. I don't understand it. It's maddening. I drive defensively as it is, now having to look out for careless cyclists really chaps me.
Jason August 02, 2012 at 02:26 PM
Yeah, some cyclists are careless on the road. Lots of drivers are as well. What's the point? Both have the same legal right to use the roadways.
Jason August 02, 2012 at 02:40 PM
Having to look out for careless drivers when I'm cycling really "chaps me" as well, especially when their carelessness can easily kill me.
Bill August 02, 2012 at 10:07 PM
I thought the reason we installed Bike trail was for bikes???? But they refuse to use them and challenge vehicle 1000 times there mass and speed!
Pete Potsos August 03, 2012 at 12:31 AM
I wonder if there are fewer accidents in Dexter, because most of the main roads have been closed for construction? Here is a link to an article that does a nice job of addressing the rules of the road for bicycles in Michigan: http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2011/08/traffic_talk_what_are_the_rule_2.html
Steve A August 03, 2012 at 03:03 AM
I wonder if it has occurred to Bill that cyclists might actually USE that "stinkin" bike trail if it was better than the other choices. Just like in the olden days that "coloreds" would have preferred "their" water if IT had not been inferior as well. That bike trail must be pretty poor if cyclists would RATHER "challenge vehicle (sic) 1000 times (more sic)...
Jason August 03, 2012 at 01:51 PM
Bike trails are great, but they are incredibly limited and don't take me where I want or need to go. For the same reason you don't use your car exclusively to do laps in a subdivision, I don't use my bike to do laps at Hudson Mills. A bike is transportation with the same legal right to use the road as a car. If you can't coexist with other legal users of the roadway, please leave your car in the garage.

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