Cycling and bicycle discussion forums. 
   Click here to join our community Log in to access your Control Panel  


Go Back   > >

Advocacy & Safety Cyclists should expect and demand safe accommodation on every public road, just as do all other users. Discuss your bicycle advocacy and safety concerns here.

User Tag List

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 12-17-13, 07:23 PM   #1
Chris516
24-Speed Machine
Thread Starter
 
Chris516's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Wash. Grove, MD
Bikes: 2003 Specialized Allez 24-Speed Road Bike
Posts: 6,054
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Curiosity regarding local law enforcement's(state, county, city) policy on 3ft

Since regional law enforcement includes DC, along with the Maryland State Police and Virginia Highway Patrol, seven county(4-MD, 3-VA), seven city(DC, 2-MD, 4-VA), and nine university(Univ. of MD, Univ. of VA, Univ. of DC, American Univ., Howard Univ., Gallaudet Univ., George Washington Univ., George Mason Univ., Marymount Univ.) police forces. I thought I would ask each one about their respective policy on the 'close passing law for their respective state(and DC).

So far:

I have heard back from the Police Chief in my county who gave me a 'standard' answer.

But when I talked with a Sgt. with the City of Fairfax, I not only had a terrific conversation with the officer. He is a cyclist himself and definitely supported having a helmetcam. Saying that would definitely help in getting a violator(of course that is presuming the cyclist gets' the license plate number). He did say one thing that bothered me. When they changed their computer system in 2006, that since then, they have not filed charges against driver involved in a collision with a cyclist.

My curiosity stems from the reactions I have seen from officers' with city, county, and state police.
Chris516 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-17-13, 07:32 PM   #2
FBinNY 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: New Rochelle, NY
Bikes: too many bikes from 1967 10s (5x2)Frejus to a Sumitomo Ti/Chorus aluminum 10s (10x2), plus one non-susp mtn bike I use as my commuter
Posts: 29,660
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 217 Post(s)
IMO this is a basically unenforceable law passed simply to pacify bicycle advocates. Like many laws passed thse days it's main intent is so the sponsor and supporters can tell interested votes, that they were concerned about their issues, and did something for them.

Even with a helmet cam video, it'll be hard to prove a close pass, unless the helmet is aimed down and to the side.

Of course, in the event of a broadside during a pass, the collision itself would prove that the pass was too close. But here again it just duplicated existing law about right of way and safe passing.

We've had a 3' law in New York for 3 years, and to my knowledge there has been zero effort to publicize the law, which goes to show how serious the state is. These laws don't do us one bit of good via enforcement. They might via publicity, instructing motorists about how to pass safely.
__________________
FB
Chain-L site

An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

“Never argue with an idiot. He will only bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.”, George Carlin

“One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” - Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN

WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.
FBinNY is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-17-13, 07:34 PM   #3
B. Carfree
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Eugene, Oregon
Bikes:
Posts: 6,271
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 75 Post(s)
Around here, I just have three cities, one university, five county sheriffs and the state police departments in my normal riding zone. None of them will enforce our great/nonexistent passing law. (Great: "room to fall" on roads without a bike lane and with speeds of 35 mph or greater. Nonexistent: everywhere else.)

There aren't may cyclists among those crews. The local city had a handful a few years back, but they would only do training rides together with clothing that clearly labeled them as Police. After one of them got killed (not on a bike), that seemed to take the wind out of their sails and I haven't seen them riding these past two years.
B. Carfree is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-17-13, 08:51 PM   #4
Pibber
Senior Member
 
Pibber's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: AdMo
Bikes: cannondales 84 ST500; 87SR500; 95 CAAD 3 Silk Road 500; 99 CAAD 3 Frameset(project)
Posts: 481
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris516 View Post
they have not filed charges against driver involved in a collision with a cyclist.

not surprising. the driver that hit me wasn't charged. that was in arlington, the courthouse neighborhood.
Pibber is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-17-13, 09:03 PM   #5
mr_bill
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Massachusetts
Bikes:
Posts: 1,301
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 80 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
We've had a 3' law in New York for 3 years, and to my knowledge there has been zero effort to publicize the law, which goes to show how serious the state is. These laws don't do us one bit of good via enforcement. They might via publicity, instructing motorists about how to pass safely.
§ 1122-a. Overtaking a bicycle. The operator of a vehicle overtaking, from behind, a bicycle proceeding on the same side of a roadway shall pass to the left of such bicycle at a safe distance until safely clear thereof.

Yeah, other than passing bicycles safely is in the New York State driver's manual, and other than New York, like Massachusetts, has a safe passing law, rather than a 3 foot law, these laws do no good at all when advocates can't even quote them correctly.

-mr. bill
mr_bill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-17-13, 09:27 PM   #6
dynodonn 
Senior Member
 
dynodonn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Bikes:
Posts: 7,316
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 45 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
IMO this is a basically unenforceable law passed simply to pacify bicycle advocates. Like many laws passed thse days it's main intent is so the sponsor and supporters can tell interested votes, that they were concerned about their issues, and did something for them.

Even with a helmet cam video, it'll be hard to prove a close pass, unless the helmet is aimed down and to the side.

Of course, in the event of a broadside during a pass, the collision itself would prove that the pass was too close. But here again it just duplicated existing law about right of way and safe passing.

We've had a 3' law in New York for 3 years, and to my knowledge there has been zero effort to publicize the law, which goes to show how serious the state is. These laws don't do us one bit of good via enforcement. They might via publicity, instructing motorists about how to pass safely.
I use a rearward facing video camera, and I have videos of a couple of motorists that passed me within inches. In one video, one can see my tire tracks on the wet pavement, and it can be easily gauged on how close the vehicle was from me, in the other video, the bike lane stripe is clearly visible, with the motorist a foot over the line of a 5ft bike lane, with a curb on the other side. If our 3ft law was in effect, it would definitely have been enforceable upon being viewed by law enforcement.
dynodonn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-17-13, 09:42 PM   #7
FBinNY 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: New Rochelle, NY
Bikes: too many bikes from 1967 10s (5x2)Frejus to a Sumitomo Ti/Chorus aluminum 10s (10x2), plus one non-susp mtn bike I use as my commuter
Posts: 29,660
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 217 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by dynodonn View Post
it would definitely have been enforceable upon being viewed by law enforcement.
There's a big difference between what may be enforceable in theory, and what will actually be enforced. The video would be evidence if there's an accident, but I doubt you could get the police or DA interested in pursuing it if you brought it in to file a complaint on the violation alone.

In any case, citing and fining handfuls of drivers doesn't do anything except put a few dollars into state coffers, and possibly have a few more drivers miffed at the "bicycle lobby" (doesn't matter what you do wrong, it's the fault of the guy that catches you). Even if the drivers learn a lesson and never pass close again, it's a drop in the bucket.

IMO if the states are going to pass laws intended to change conduct -- ANY laws intended to change conduct -- it's a meaningless gesture unless they spend the dollars to make sure citizens know the new law.
__________________
FB
Chain-L site

An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

“Never argue with an idiot. He will only bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.”, George Carlin

“One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” - Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN

WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.
FBinNY is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-17-13, 10:40 PM   #8
howsteepisit
Senior Member
 
howsteepisit's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Eugene, OR
Bikes: Mecian
Posts: 3,671
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 46 Post(s)
And enforce the new laws. Without the threat of credible penalty, there will not be widespread compliance.
howsteepisit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-17-13, 11:29 PM   #9
dynodonn 
Senior Member
 
dynodonn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Bikes:
Posts: 7,316
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 45 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
There's a big difference between what may be enforceable in theory, and what will actually be enforced. The video would be evidence if there's an accident, but I doubt you could get the police or DA interested in pursuing it if you brought it in to file a complaint on the violation alone.
Seeing other cyclists on BF getting law enforcement to act by seeing a video of a close pass, and in the fact that my locale's high collision rate, hovering between number 1 and 2 out of nearly 100 cities of similar size in our state, gives me more than ample assurance that local law enforcement will not completely ignore our state's 3 foot law when it is enacted.
dynodonn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-17-13, 11:40 PM   #10
FBinNY 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: New Rochelle, NY
Bikes: too many bikes from 1967 10s (5x2)Frejus to a Sumitomo Ti/Chorus aluminum 10s (10x2), plus one non-susp mtn bike I use as my commuter
Posts: 29,660
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 217 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by dynodonn View Post
Seeing other cyclists on BF getting law enforcement to act by seeing a video of a close pass, and in the fact that my locale's high collision rate, hovering between number 1 and 2 out of nearly 100 cities of similar size in our state, gives me more than ample assurance that local law enforcement will not completely ignore our state's 3 foot law when it is enacted.
I'll go out on a limb and bet you 3 beers to one, that nothing changes significantly after the law is passed. I'll trust you as a man of honor to give me an accurate report when the time comes to settle the bet.
__________________
FB
Chain-L site

An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

“Never argue with an idiot. He will only bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.”, George Carlin

“One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” - Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN

WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.
FBinNY is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-17-13, 11:54 PM   #11
dynodonn 
Senior Member
 
dynodonn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Bikes:
Posts: 7,316
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 45 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
I'll go out on a limb and bet you 3 beers to one, that nothing changes significantly after the law is passed. I'll trust you as a man of honor to give me an accurate report when the time comes to settle the bet.
I let you know when the time comes and what the outcome is when I happen to make my next report. I have been averaging 1 to 2 close passing reports annually.
dynodonn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-18-13, 12:20 AM   #12
FBinNY 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: New Rochelle, NY
Bikes: too many bikes from 1967 10s (5x2)Frejus to a Sumitomo Ti/Chorus aluminum 10s (10x2), plus one non-susp mtn bike I use as my commuter
Posts: 29,660
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 217 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by dynodonn View Post
I let you know when the time comes and what the outcome is when I happen to make my next report. I have been averaging 1 to 2 close passing reports annually.
Just so there's no arguments later--- foreign or domestic?
__________________
FB
Chain-L site

An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

“Never argue with an idiot. He will only bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.”, George Carlin

“One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” - Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN

WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.
FBinNY is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-18-13, 03:06 AM   #13
Chris516
24-Speed Machine
Thread Starter
 
Chris516's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Wash. Grove, MD
Bikes: 2003 Specialized Allez 24-Speed Road Bike
Posts: 6,054
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
IMO this is a basically unenforceable law passed simply to pacify bicycle advocates. Like many laws passed thse days it's main intent is so the sponsor and supporters can tell interested votes, that they were concerned about their issues, and did something for them.

Even with a helmet cam video, it'll be hard to prove a close pass, unless the helmet is aimed down and to the side.

Of course, in the event of a broadside during a pass, the collision itself would prove that the pass was too close. But here again it just duplicated existing law about right of way and safe passing.

We've had a 3' law in New York for 3 years, and to my knowledge there has been zero effort to publicize the law, which goes to show how serious the state is. These laws don't do us one bit of good via enforcement. They might via publicity, instructing motorists about how to pass safely.
When I finally able to get a helmetcam from GoPro, I will also get their Chest Harness, so the camera will always be facing the road.
Quote:
Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
Around here, I just have three cities, one university, five county sheriffs and the state police departments in my normal riding zone. None of them will enforce our great/nonexistent passing law. (Great: "room to fall" on roads without a bike lane and with speeds of 35 mph or greater. Nonexistent: everywhere else.)

There aren't many cyclists among those crews. The local city had a handful a few years back, but they would only do training rides together with clothing that clearly labeled them as Police. After one of them got killed (not on a bike), that seemed to take the wind out of their sails and I haven't seen them riding these past two years.
That is sad.
Chris516 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-18-13, 10:12 AM   #14
mconlonx 
Nobody
 
mconlonx's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Bikes:
Posts: 7,140
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 456 Post(s)
I reported a pass where passengers struck me with arms out a window as an assault.

When cops caught up to the offender they admitted the hit, but said it was accidental. I accepted issuance of a 3' passing violation as a resolution instead of assault. If I'd been thinking more clearly when talking to the cop, I'd have pushed for a charge of hit and run. But I was just thrilled that they'd get hit with the 3' violation.

Wouldn't have happened without them being stupid and admitting to the cop that they did in fact hit me.
__________________
I know next to nothing. I am frequently wrong.
mconlonx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-18-13, 06:21 PM   #15
dynaryder
PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes
 
dynaryder's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: BicycleSPACE warehouse in SW Washington DC
Bikes:
Posts: 6,983
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Chris: you forgot a few.

Uniformed Secret Service;unless it involves a diplomat or VIP,they won't get involved.

Capitol Police;around the Capitol and National Mall.

Park Police;most parkways and many city parks(get mugged in 14th & K,don't call MPD).

Metro Transit Police;anything involving Metro Buses(think MPD covers the Circulator) and bike theft at stations.

Various Agency Police. Friend got left-hooked near Union Station,and some Treasury Police showed up. They were actually really helpful.

You would think that with all the 'police' we have around here,people would drive better.
__________________

C'dale BBU('05 and '09)/Super Six/Hooligan8and 3,Kona Dew Deluxe,Novara Buzz/Safari,Surly Big Dummy,Marin Pt Reyes,Giant Defy 1,Schwinn DBX SuperSport,Dahon Speed Pro TT,Brompton S6L/S2E-X
dynaryder is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-18-13, 07:22 PM   #16
Chris516
24-Speed Machine
Thread Starter
 
Chris516's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Wash. Grove, MD
Bikes: 2003 Specialized Allez 24-Speed Road Bike
Posts: 6,054
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by dynaryder View Post
Chris: you forgot a few.

Uniformed Secret Service;unless it involves a diplomat or VIP,they won't get involved.

Capitol Police;around the Capitol and National Mall.

Park Police;most parkways and many city parks(get mugged in 14th & K,don't call MPD).

Metro Transit Police;anything involving Metro Buses(think MPD covers the Circulator) and bike theft at stations.

Various Agency Police. Friend got left-hooked near Union Station,and some Treasury Police showed up. They were actually really helpful.

You would think that with all the 'police' we have around here,people would drive better.
Yes, I did forget a bunch, lol.
Chris516 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-19-13, 11:49 AM   #17
spivonious
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Lancaster, PA, USA
Bikes: 2012 Trek Allant, 2016 Bianchi Volpe Disc
Posts: 1,857
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
PA has a 4' law and they did a fair job publicizing it (newspaper articles, TV news reports, etc.). I still get passed closer than 4' by roughly 80% of motorists, but I'd say only 1% are dangerously close (<2'), and only 0.1% are a true threat (<1').

I have never heard of anyone receiving a ticket for it.
spivonious is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-19-13, 01:25 PM   #18
mconlonx 
Nobody
 
mconlonx's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Bikes:
Posts: 7,140
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 456 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
I reported a pass where passengers struck me with arms out a window as an assault.

When cops caught up to the offender they admitted the hit, but said it was accidental. I accepted issuance of a 3' passing violation as a resolution instead of assault. If I'd been thinking more clearly when talking to the cop, I'd have pushed for a charge of hit and run. But I was just thrilled that they'd get hit with the 3' violation.

Wouldn't have happened without them being stupid and admitting to the cop that they did in fact hit me.
The above was Berwick ME local police dept.

I know ME has added a required segment dealing with cyclists in their driver's ed curriculum, so everyone who gets a license has at least had it taught to them.

A cop to whom I reported some jackhole merging into my lane, getting way closer than 3' in Portsmouth NH had never heard of the 3' statute in his state, nor had his immediate supervisor.
__________________
I know next to nothing. I am frequently wrong.
mconlonx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-19-13, 02:27 PM   #19
noisebeam
Al
 
noisebeam's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: AZ
Bikes: Cannondale SuperSix, Lemond Poprad. Retired: Jamis Sputnik, Centurion LeMans Fixed, Diamond Back ascent ex
Posts: 14,109
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 77 Post(s)
Read the very bottom of this: http://azbikelaw.org/articles/ThreeFoot.html

There have been a couple local MV-bike crashes in the last few years where the focus is now on if the cyclist was in bike lane or not when hit, since if they are not the 3ft law doesn't apply.
noisebeam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-13, 09:22 AM   #20
Fargo Wolf
Resident smartass.
 
Fargo Wolf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Kamloops, BC, Canada
Bikes:
Posts: 392
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
I'm not in the US, but Provincial/Territorial law generally requires that motorists pass cyclists at a minimum, 1m (3ft). However, drivers will give a lot more room if they can do so. Often a full lane in some cases.
Fargo Wolf is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:11 PM.