Out of the minimum 24-hours of ADTSEA instruction that is to required to be taught in Michigan as part of drivers education, teen drivers receive two hours of education specially regarding the topic of sharing the road with other users. This includes pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcycles, mopeds, large vehicles, emergency vehicles, trains and public transportation, and construction vehicles and work zones. Sharing the road with bicyclists is only a small subsection of this two hour portion. The limited time restraints make it difficult to comprehensively cover all the possible interactions a driver may encounter with bicyclists. This is especially true with the rapid growth of Complete Streets all across Michigan. The design principle, which emphasizes that our roads are intended for all users, is resulting in the installation of various road facilities engineered specifically for bicyclists. Ensuring drivers understand how to safely navigate these facilities and share the road with bicyclists is paramount to eliminating confusion and misunderstanding which can result in dangerous interactions between motorists and bicyclists.
Michigan's curriculum leaves 1.5 hours of classroom training up to the discretion of the instructor, providing opportunities to expand upon these issues. Share MI Roads is currently researching best practices and exploring opportunities to develop a toolkit that Michigan drivers education instructors can use in the classroom to emphasis how to safely share the road with bicyclists. It will focus on common misconceptions and crash scenarios and provide supplemental resources for instructors to use during the Section 1 curriculum, especially during the portion left to the discretion of the instructor. The growing number of drivers who opt out of taking formal drivers education training after turning 18 will also likely find these materials beneficial.