Ohio Bicycle Federation have been pushing hard for years to get a state-wide 3-ft passing law in Ohio, but our state House of Representatives keep refusing to pass it. The most recent attempt was in HB145 which was introduced in April of 2013. Recently we learned that the bill will come out of committee, almost a year later, to be passed WITHOUT the law requiring motorists to give people on bikes a minimum of 3 feet of space when passing.
Why this is important? Currently state law says that motorists must pass a bicycle at a “safe distance.” By defining the minimum safe distance as 3 feet, it makes the law more enforceable. In fact, Bike Cleveland is hosting a training for local law enforcement on how to effectively enforce laws to ensure bicycle and pedestrian safety, and educating how to enforce safe passing is a key piece of the training. Learn more about the training at BikeCleveland.org/Enforcement. In short, 3-foot passing laws create a legal framework to protect bicyclists who are hit or buzzed from behind, create a less arbitrary standard and raise awareness of the importance of safe passing.
What is the concern of our state lawmakers? One concern expressed was about the narrowness of Ohio lanes and possible dangers involved in motorists passing cyclists by 3 feet (in some cases possibly crossing the center line). This is an invalid concern because under Ohio law motorists can cross the double yellow line to pass a slow moving vehicle.
In Ohio, 3-foot minimum passing laws already exist in Bay Village, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Toledo. Across the country, 22 states and Washington DC have passed 3-foot passing minimum laws. It is time for our leaders in Ohio to take action to ensure the safety of people riding bikes on our public roadways and pass a 3-foot minimum passing law.
Take a moment and contact your state representative asking them to pass a state-wide 3-foot minimum passing law.
You can find your local representative and contact them here: http://www.ohiohouse.gov/members/district-map
We are also asking advocates to contact the Ohio House of Representative’s Chair of the Transportation, Public Safety and Homeland Security, Rep. Rex Damscroder, telling him to reconsider and keep the minimum 3 foot passing provision in HB145 because one life lost is one too many. You can email here: http://www.ohiohouse.gov/rex-damschroder/contact.
Lastly, take a moment and sign Bike Cleveland's petition, which will be packaged together with all the signatures with testimony from Bike Cleveland about the importance of a 3-foot passing law in making our streets safer for people on bikes (be sure to include your address).