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Michigan Lefts aren’t new, but visitors might not understand them

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Michigan Lefts aren’t new, but visitors might not understand them


First-time visitors to Michigan might be wondering any number of things, from why do I keep seeing all these references to Coney Island to exactly how many flavors does Faygo make?

They might also be wondering why they’re told not to turn left at some busy intersections as they drive around metro Detroit and other parts of the state. In other words, they might be wondering about the Michigan Left.

What is a Michigan Left?

We’ll rely on the Michigan Department of Transportation for the most definitive answers to our Michigan Left questions. Here’s MDOT’s definition:

“Michigan Lefts, also referred to as indirect left turns, are a common type of turn that have been part of Michigan’s road system since the late 1960s. Intersections that have Michigan Lefts do not allow traditional left-turn movements. Instead, to turn left, a person must drive straight through the intersection or turn right, then make a U-turn at a median crossover.”

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Why would I turn right to make a left-hand turn?

Safety is the word. Michigan Lefts redirect traffic to cut down on left turns across oncoming traffic, which tend to increase the risk of a serious crash. According to MDOT, about 30% of all crashes in Michigan occur at intersections and almost 58% of those are head-on left-turn and angle crashes. “In addition, roughly 30% of all Michigan fatal crashes occur at intersections.”

Why is a specific location picked for a Michigan Left?

MDOT cites crash history, the type of road and traffic volumes. “Michigan Lefts are most often used in urban situations where congestion and crashes are more common. Indirect left turns can be built on divided roads with any number of lanes … but they are not used on freeways or limited-access roads.”

More: Ford Road project would mean no left turns

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Should I pull behind or beside the vehicle ahead of me at a Michigan Left?

That depends on how many lanes you see. A single-lane Michigan Left isn’t meant to accommodate more than a single lane of traffic, according to MDOT. The extra space you sometimes see is for trucks and large vehicles that need additional room to make the turn. Sometimes a Michigan Left is paired with a loon, an extension of the roadway across from the turn area, so big trucks can make the U-turn without rolling up on a sidewalk. There are multilane Michigan Lefts, but they include clearly marked lanes, not just more space.

More: Ferndale parking choice led to ticket for Waterford woman

What about bicyclists?

MDOT says bicyclists have options here. “Bicyclists can use a Michigan Left as a pedestrian, dismounting the bicycle and crossing in the pedestrian area, or as a bicyclist, riding through the Michigan Left and using the designated median crossover to navigate a U-turn.”

More: 24 songs about cars, driving to crank with the windows down

If you want more information about Michigan Lefts, MDOT has a brochure posted at https://www.michigan.gov/-/media/Project/Websites/MDOT/Travel/Safety/Road-User/Michigan-Lefts/Michigan-Left-Brochure.pdf?rev=e4bea28e194e4070b973db40e5f610ce#:~:text=What%20is%20a%20Michigan%20Left,allow%20traditional%20left%2Dturn%20movements

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By the way, we did a quick check of the Faygo website, and it says there are more than 50 flavors. Hey, editors, maybe it’s time for a taste test.

Contact Eric D. Lawrence: elawrence@freepress.com. Become a subscriber. Submit a letter to the editor at freep.com/letters.



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Michigan

Man dies after being pulled from Lake Michigan near Chicago’s 31st Street Beach

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Man dies after being pulled from Lake Michigan near Chicago’s 31st Street Beach


Man dies after being pulled from water near 31st Street Beach

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Man dies after being pulled from water near 31st Street Beach

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CHICAGO (CBS) — A man is dead after he was pulled from Lake Michigan early Saturday morning.

Rescue crews were seen near 31st Street Beach just before 5 a.m.

Chicago police said a 38-year-old man was pulled from the water and was taken to UChicago Medicine, where he died.

It’s not clear why he was in the water or if he drowned.

No further information was immediately available.

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Lifeline for Biden as Michigan Crowd Chants ‘Don't You Quit’

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Lifeline for Biden as Michigan Crowd Chants ‘Don't You Quit’


President Joe Biden held a campaign rally in Detroit, Michigan, on Friday night where a crowd implored him not to call off his re-election bid, at a time when a growing number of Democrats in Congress are saying otherwise.

“You made me the nominee. No one else. Not the press, not the pundits, not the insiders, not the donors. You, the voters decided. No one else. And I’m not going anywhere,” Biden said, adding he was “not done yet.”

Earlier, those in attendance chanted “don’t you quit” and “we got your back.” And when Biden commented critically on members of the media, the crowd booed them.

“You may have noticed that since the debate, the press—the good guys up there—they have been hammering me,” Biden said, eliciting the negative response from supporters.

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“No, no, no, it’s okay,” Biden continued, seeking to tamp down the boos. “They’ve been hammering me because I sometimes confuse names. I say that’s Charlie instead of Bill. But guess what? Donald Trump has gotten a free pass.”

Trump’s verbal blunders include repeatedly confusing Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) with former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, and Biden himself with former President Barack Obama. Trump also flubbed a line while attempting to mock his rival last month.

Biden on Friday also took a few personal shots at the former president.

“It is time for us to stop treating politics like entertainment and reality TV,” he said, alluding to the former host of The Apprentice. Later, Biden referenced Trump’s odd recent fixation with sharks, while making a dig at his well-known choice of leisure activity.

“Poor Donald,” Biden said. “He can’t even watch TV this week because it’s Shark Week.”

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Biden also warned about Project 2025, a controversial right-wing agenda for Trump’s return to office that he has tried to distance himself from.

“You heard about it? It’s a blueprint for a second Trump term that every American should read and understand,” Biden said, adding that his opponent isn’t publicly embracing it “just like he’s trying to distance himself from overturning Roe v. Wade—because he knows how toxic it is. But we’re not going to let that happen.”



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Biden insists that he’s ‘OK’ in Michigan — then flubs congresswoman’s name at rally

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Biden insists that he’s ‘OK’ in Michigan — then flubs congresswoman’s name at rally


President Biden swore to Michigan voters Friday that he was “OK” during a campaign stop in the crucial swing state — before misnaming a prominent Democratic congresswoman.

“I promise you, I am  – I’m OK,” the 81-year-old president told supporters at a Northville, Mich., restaurant before heading to a larger rally in Detroit, where he stumbled attempting to shout-out Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.).

“Members of Congress – Debbie Haley,” Biden said, apparently referring to Dingell, a five-term congresswoman. 

“And by the way, I want you to know that I’ve spent a lot of time with Debbie,” he added. “She helped me a lot.” 

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Biden went on to note Dingell’s resemblance to his wife, first lady Jill Biden.

“I forget which event we were at, and someone said, you’re his wife, aren’t you?” Biden said, explaining that Dingell “looks like Jill.”

Biden, who didn’t correct the gaffe, admitted much later in the event that “sometimes I confuse names.”

Many of the state’s political power players were notably absent from the campaign rally. 

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer – a Biden campaign co-chair and rumored Biden replacement option – was out of the state for the event. 

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Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), a candidate for the Wolverine State’s open Senate seat, was also not in attendance, and neither was United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain. 

Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), who earlier this week declared that Biden “absolutely” could defeat former President Donald Trump in November and expressed his belief that Democrats will be able to hold their slim majority in the upper chamber, was also absent.

“I promise you, I am  – I’m OK,” the 81-year-old president told supporters at a Northville, Mich., restaurant before heading to a larger rally in Detroit, where he stumbled attempting to shout-out Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.). REUTERS

Biden’s remarks, at Detroit’s Renaissance High School, were made at the same venue where on the 2020 campaign trail he proclaimed to be “a bridge” to a new generation of leadership. 

“I’m not going anywhere,” Biden told rally-goers, as calls from Democratic lawmakers for him to end his re-election effort mounted this week.

“I am running and we’re going to win,” the president said.  

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President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event at Renaissance High School in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., July 12, 2024
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer – a Biden campaign co-chair and rumored Biden replacement option – was out of the state for the event. AFP via Getty Images

Trump, 78, leads Biden in Michigan by less than a percentage point, according to a RealClearPolitics average of polls. 

An Emerson College survey, conducted after Biden’s disastrous June 27 debate against Trump, showed the former president ahead of the incumbent by 1 point, 45% to 44%. 

Meanwhile, a post-debate Bloomberg/Morning Consult poll had Biden leading by 5 points, 48% to 43%. 

The Wolverine State narrowly went for Biden in the 2020 election, 50.6% to 47.4%, after Trump topped former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the state in 2016 by less than 11,000 votes. 

However, Biden’s general support for Israel’s war against Hamas following Hamas’ Oct. 7, 2023, attack has turned off the state’s sizable and key Arab American voting bloc. 

Over 100,000 people voted “Uncommitted” in Michigan’s February Democratic primary over Biden’s support for the Israeli offensive. 

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