It's the only state highway in the nation where motor vehicles are prohibited, surrounded by the fresh blue water of Lake Michigan: M-185. About the only rubber hitting the road in this town comes from bicycles making their way around the island loop of 8 miles. The rules date back to the 1890's, and since the start of the ban, just a handful of vehicles have ever rumbled on the asphalt. Even emergency vehicle traffic here is rare, with the local fire department owning a fire truck that probably sees more darkness than light.
In fact, it is likely among the safest roads in America- because of the ban on motor vehicles, no doubt. M-185 hadn't seen one accident since it was bestowed the title of state highway until 2005 rolled around. It has been reported that over a half million people travel the route every year. In 2008, USA Today named the island one of the "10 great places to get your feet back on the ground" as a car-free destination, highlighting the unique status of M-185 in the process.
The only known motor vehicle collision on Mackinac Island occurred on M-185 at the head of the Shepler passenger ferry dock on May 13, 2005, when the island's fire truck slightly damaged the door on the island's ambulance. Both vehicles were responding to a report from the ferryboat that an injured passenger required medical attention. It has been reported that before this incident, it was the only state highway that never had an automobile accident.
A few times a motor vehicle has been allowed to use the road: in 1979, while filming Somewhere in Time, a car was brought on the island for Christopher Reeve's character to drive. The next time that a vehicle was permitted on the island was on July 6, 1998, to commemorate the original ordinance that prohibited cars from Mackinac Island. A 1901 Geneva steam-powered car toured the island and was exhibited in Marquette Park before being towed by horse back to British Landing.
With all the talk we do about driving and cars, perhaps it would be nice to do away with the car for a day and just bike or walk. I'm not the only one who thinks so- in 2008, USA Today named the island one of the "10 great places to get your feet back on the ground" as a car-free destination".
Would you like to experience a car-free road like M-185?