Monday, April 02, 2012

No Foolin' - Cars Must Now Give Bicyclists 4 Feet When Passing

Today Pennsylvania joined 21 other states with a Safe Passing Law requiring motorists to give bicyclists four feet of clearance when passing.

The Drive Safe PA website gives a good summary on the changes in the law:

"Effective April 2, 2012, motorists must allow at least four feet between your vehicle and a bicycle for the vehicle to safely pass the bicycle. When safe to do so, it is legal to cross the center double yellow line if necessary to provide the required four feet when passing a bicycle."

"Also, no turn (right or left) by the driver of a motor vehicle shall interfere with a bicyclist proceeding straight on a roadway or shoulder."

Don't expect police bike patrols going out with yardsticks to measure passing distances. This law's true strength is its role as a vulnerable road user law for cyclists. It gives law enforcement a tool to hold negligent motorists accountable in the event of a crash. It also helps clarify the relationship between cars and bicycles on the road, and how both can and should maneuver around one another to keep everyone safe.

Success of the law may be hard to measure but with a good promotional campaign this law can help police and civilians understand how to coexist with cyclists on the road.

A short clip from Fox29 featuring our own Mary Duffy after the jump.




5 comments:

Aaron said...

I am giving serious consideration to mounting 4-foot horizontal poles on either side of my bike, along with banners reading "Thanks, Governor Corbett" or "Wide Load" or something.

Discuss.

patrick said...

I'm actually worried about this. On small one-way streets with cars parked on both sides, it makes me really nervous when someone gets behind me and refuses to pass. They have room to spare, but there's no way there's four feet.

Nicholas Mirra said...

Patrick - that's a negotiation you make with the cars. If you want them to pass you, pull over or motion for them to do so.

This law helps protect against the opposite scenario: a driver who attempts to pass a bicyclist without safe space to do so.

Andy B from Jersey said...

Uhhh... I really hope your not happy with the grotesque bias in the FOX 29 report. It's 95% bike bashing!

Peter said...

I read that the bill includs a new "bikes must stay as far to the right as practicable" provision. Is this anything new or is it similar to what was already on the books?

Thanks