Safe Passing Laws for CyclistsLast updated on: November 15, 2022
Is Passing a Bicyclist Legal?
Accidents involving a vehicle and a bicyclist can result in great bodily harm to the cyclist. Thus, there has been increasing interest across the United States in safe passing laws for cyclists. States currently have different laws regarding passing cyclists, and some have no statutes for passing cyclists.
In some states, it is legal for a motorist to pass a bicyclist even in a no passing zone. Typically, the cyclist must be going half the speed limit or less, and the motorist may not exceed the cyclist to pass him or her. Many states have statutes outlining the minimum passing distance between the motorist and the cyclist.
What Is the Safest Way to Pass a Cyclist?
In Texas and many other states, bicycle riders must take extra precautions in order to remain safe on the road. Thousands of accidents involving bicycles occur each year injuring many riders.
At times, the culprit may be dangerous road conditions. The city, county or state that maintains roads has a duty to maintain public property so that it is safe to use.
However, motorists are also to blame for accidents involving bicyclists. To safely pass a cyclist, slow down rather than speed up. Pass the bicycle as if it were another vehicle, and get in the adjacent lane to the left of the cyclist.
Getting “Buzzed” by Cars on a Bike—What Should You Do?
Anyone who rides a bike regularly has most likely experienced the spine-tingling fear of a passing motorist who comes too close for comfort. This is called “buzzing” and in some states, it is against the law.
Even if the cyclist is not hit by the car, they can be knocked off their bike by a side view mirror or be driven off the road. This can be a terrifying experience and you can find yourself alone in a ditch with bumps and bruises, as well as damage to your bike.
If you were buzzed by a car, your options for how to proceed depend on the state you live in and whether you were hurt. At Zinda Law Group, we understand the distress you may be feeling. We aggressively represent cyclists who have received injuries as a result of being buzzed by a car.
Some states are trying to pass stronger laws to protect cyclists, as many motorists simply do not watch out for those on motorcycles and bicycles. According to CarInsurance.org, the most dangerous cities for cyclists (based on fatalities per 100,000 commuters) include the following:
- Cape Coral, Florida
- Abilene, Texas
- San Bernardino, California
- Dayton, Ohio
- Pompano Beach, Florida
- Chula Vista, California
- Stockton, California
- Baton Rouge, Louisiana
- Memphis, Tennessee
- Lakeland, Florida
- Bakersfield, California
- Charlotte, North Carolina
- Arlington, Texas
- Lafayette, Louisiana
- Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
- San Antonio, Texas
- Modesto, California
- Fort Lauderdale, Florida
- Phoenix, Arizona
- Miami, Florida
Zinda Law Group has been helping cyclists involved in accidents like these for years. We know that bicycle injuries can often be very severe and leave the victim with ongoing medical needs. If you or a loved one has been injured in this type of accident, then you need professional representation. Our staff and attorneys are always on hand if you have questions. Call Zinda Law Group today for a free case evaluation.
We offer a no-cost evaluation of your case, and we have been helping bicyclists recover the settlement they deserve for many years. We can work to help you recover lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering and other expenses.
What is a Safe Passing Law?
The state of Texas has struggled over the past ten years to enact “Safe Passing” laws for cyclists. The “Safe Passing” legislation has been up for legalization several times but has failed to be enacted into law.
Some Texas cities are working on their own laws to protect vulnerable road users. This can include more than just cyclists. The last bill in Congress added any slow-moving vehicles such as tractors. It also added equestrian riders, child skaters, runners, and disabled persons.
Though the bill failed, several cities are now passing legislation to protect this vulnerable group of road users. Fortunately, most states have a safe passing statute protecting cyclists.
What is 3’ Safe Passing?
Ordinances that increase the safety of cyclists by regulating the conduct of motor vehicle operators define the “safe” distance for passing a cyclist as 3 feet for cars and 6 feet for trucks. Also, a motorist may not execute a right-hand turn in front of a cyclist without leaving a safe distance. Motorists are not allowed to throw objects at cyclists or other vulnerable road users.
A task force associated with various city bicycle associations has introduced the safe passing concept while working with city staff to enforce them. The local police department and the city legal department continually labor to craft enforceable policies and laws that protect cyclists and other vulnerable groups.