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.