Ohio and Virginia just joined the list of states that require a motorized vehicle to provide at least 3 feet of space when passing a bicycle. It is now actual law in 23 states that a motorized vehicle must provide at least 3 feet of space when passing a bicycle. In one state (PA) the motorized vehicle must provide at least 4 feet of space. In several highly populated states, such as California, Oregon, and New York there is no such law yet enacted. In those states it is only required that a motorized vehicle provide a “safe distance” when passing.
In the remaining states there is no law regarding passing a bicycle at all. These laws are definitely a step in the right direction. However, for them to have any teeth, it will require actual enforcement. This can possible be done through remote cameras or simply having local police staking out positions in the same way they issue red light and speeding violations.
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As a bicycle accident lawyer and as an avid biker myself, I know how many times a motor vehicle passes me with the most narrow of margins of safety. I think you would have a hard time finding a biker that does not have a story of a car/truck coming way too close for comfort when passing him/her. The part that is most concerning is that many times due to a distraction, the motor vehicle didn’t even know you were there!!! We must constantly educate all drivers to be looking out for bikers. Remember we are not “bikers”, we are simply “people”. It is time we stopped thinking of bikers as some sub-set of people, in the same way we don’t consider people “drivers”.
Ride. Be Safe. Have Fun.
Bicycle Injury Lawyer / Enthusiast
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