Legislation to protect vulnerable road users in our state will create enhanced penalties for drivers who injure or kill a vulnerable roadway user (VRU), including people who bike, walk, or use wheelchairs.

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LMB supports the VRU bill package. These bipartisan, bicameral bills close a gap in existing law between charges that are not serious enough and charges that are too serious, giving prosecutors appropriate options. They recognize that people who walk, bike, ride horses, and use wheelchairs (a.k.a. vulnerable roadway users or VRU) are exposed to traffic risk but not protected by steel frames, just like road workers or farmers on tractors. 

In Oct. 2023, Sen. McCann, Sen. Klinefelt, Rep. Rogers and Rep. Schuette introduced SB 617, SB 618, HB 5223 and HB 5224. SB 617 and 618 were referred in a unanimous vote by the Senate Civil Rights and Judiciary committee on May 8, and HB 5223 and 5224 were referred with 11 yes votes, 0 no votes, and 2 pass on May 14 by the House Transportation, Mobility and Infrastructure Committee.

Twelve states (see below) have passed legislation to protect vulnerable roadway users (VRU) including people who walk, bike, ride horses, or use wheelchairs. These laws create enhanced penalties for drivers who injure or kill a person who is not protected by a motor vehicle in a crash.

Current Michigan law provides for a felony punishable by up to 15 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $7,500 or both for a moving violation causing death to a person operating “an implement of husbandry” (i.e. farm equipment.) 

These bills would extend this felony to all vulnerable roadway users, define “vulnerable roadway user”, and create an additional felony punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $5,000 for a moving violation causing serious injury (requiring inpatient treatment at a hospital or rehab facility) to vulnerable roadway users and individuals operating an implement of husbandry.

Many Michigan drivers who kill a bicyclist in a crash are only charged with a misdemeanor, “Moving Violation Causing Death.” As former League of Michigan Bicyclists board member Bryan Waldman wrote in 2017, “given the current state of Michigan law, when a motorist injures or kills a bicyclist, the prosecutor is left with an almost impossible decision regarding the appropriate charge for the crime and it is damn near impossible to obtain a meaningful conviction.”

Everyone deserves the choice to bike or walk safely. We already have increased penalties in Michigan for drivers who hit and kill road workers or police officers, and these bills follow the same principle. Please ask your legislators to support them!



“12 states – Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington – have VRU laws that define a set of road users as vulnerable and provide specific processes and penalties for actions directed at those users.” Source: https://bikeleague.org/bike-laws/model-legislation/model-vulnerable-user-law/

“Vulnerable roadway user” is defined as a pedestrian; a person using roller skates, inline skates, nonmotorized scooter, nonmotorized skateboard, or a wheelchair; a person riding a horse (or other equine such as a donkey or mule) or driving or riding a carriage; or a person on a bicycle, electric bicycle, electric skateboard, or electric personal assistive mobility device.

Photo CC-BY Rory Finneren, 2011. “Ghost Bike we set up for my father, Ralph Finneren. It’s located on Giddings Rd. directly outside of the General Motors Orion Assembly Plant in Orion Township, Michigan, very near where the crash occurred.” This was one of the first ghost bikes in the state of Michigan, a public memorial marking the site of a fatal crash.