The USA Must Stop Legislating a Mere 3-foot Gap when Passing Bicyclists

June 29, 2018

Despite recent new laws in several American states, which stipulate a three-foot gap as being enough space when passing cyclists, there are multiple circumstances in which passing that closely is both inadequate and dangerous.

Photograph of a car passing a bicycle at a bad location on a mountain curve.
Cyclists are often passed badly by reckless or unthinking drivers, and faster sections of road such as shown here, are definitely a place where passing just three feet from a cyclist, at speed, would be both dangerous and frightening.  (Copyright image, 2012).

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How much space should drivers give when passing bicycles?

Here in the USA, it has become ‘fashionable’ but dangerously inadequate for states to introduce laws requiring drivers to leave only three feet of space when passing a bicyclist.  However, there are many circumstances, typically involving speed and/or the size of the vehicle, when passing that closely would at the very least be frightening for the person on the bicycle and at worst be downright dangerous.

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