Sharing the road with bicyclists; the annual ride to Mackinac

EAST LANSING, Mich. (WSYM) - More than 1000 bicyclists from over 30 states are hitting the pavement and pedaling across Michigan.

It's part of the annual Dick Allen Lansing to Mackinac known as the DAL-MAC bike tour.

The majority of the riders will begin at the MSU Pavilion in East Lansing on Wednesday and Thursday and make their way north on either a 4 day or 5 day trek.

In all, more than 1000 cyclists will pedal several different routes across the state to Mackinac City.

The riders range in ages from 8 to 90 and this year there are 175 new riders. At least one registered participant has 43 DALMAC's under his belt.

They'll stay in pop-up tents at designated camping sites along their route each night.

The goal of the tour is to promote a bicycle-friendly environment.

It's now a law in Michigan to give bicyclists three feet of space when passing in a car.

If giving a cyclist three feet is not possible, the law requires drivers to pass "at a safe distance and speed."

Michigan bicycle fatalities doubled from 19 in 2012 to 38 in 2016.

About a quarter of those accidents involved cars.

The Tri-County Bicycle Association, which represents Ingham, Eaton, and Clinton counties, sponsors the event. The entire event is ran by volunteers.

It all started when former State Rep. Dick Allen challenged his friends and co-workers in 1971 to ride all the way to the bridge to prove that bikes and cars could share the road.

The routes:
Five-day East: this route is designed to head straight up the middle of the state. It has the shortest days and overall mileage. The three-day route joins in at Gladwin and the two-day route joins in at Grayling.

Five-Day West: this route veers west as it heads north, eventually passing near Traverse City and taking in the scenery of Torch Lake, Petoskey, Harbor Springs and the "Tunnel of Trees."

Four-Day West: The standard Four-Day West route follows a similar path to the Five-West, just in one less day. So it also veers to the west as it heads north.