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OH passes 3' law

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OH passes 3' law

Old 03-27-17, 03:13 PM
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OH passes 3' law

I didn't find this posted on first two A+S pages, so...

Std "3 feet gap when passing" law:

'Give bikes 3 feet': New safe-passing law set to enact for Ohio cyclists - Story

Ohio's new bike passing law goes into effect March 21 | cleveland.com
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Old 03-28-17, 11:13 AM
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Education is the key. Last summer the sheriff of Montgomery County, which borders Philadelphia and is home to tons of cyclists, started a public awareness campaign after he was informed of PA's 4' passing law that had been in effect for some 4 years. He admitted that he was completely unaware of the law and started holding press conferences. He also had signs printed and placed along side roadways.


I have toured across PA twice. It's been my experience that motorists in "Pennsyltucky" are more courteous and law abiding than motorists in and around larger cities. I was expecting a lot of yahoos driving pickups recklessly. Just didn't experience it.
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Old 03-28-17, 07:53 PM
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Have to agree. They passed it but how are they alerting drivers about it? Will there be a campaign with PSAs to educate people? If not then, then law will be somewhat useless.
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Old 03-28-17, 09:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Bmach
Have to agree. They passed it but how are they alerting drivers about it? Will there be a campaign with PSAs to educate people? If not then, then law will be somewhat useless.
Even without PSAs or knowledge of the law, it will be useful in assigning fault if a motorist hits a cyclist while passing. Otherwise, cyclist must prove they were riding legally before most will look at the motorist as 'at fault'.
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Old 03-28-17, 09:34 PM
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But that does not help the cyclist who now has injuries, if he is still alive. Would it not be better to be proactive and get the word out. They love to pass or change traffic laws but never get the word out.
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Old 03-28-17, 10:08 PM
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Originally Posted by seeker333
Depending on locale i.e. Cleveland, Cincinnati, etc.; watch motorists' come up with countless reasons for not obeying it. Then watch law enforcement come up with countless reasons for not enforcing it.
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Old 03-29-17, 04:37 AM
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Cycling is not regarded well as a form of transportation. I wonder if it gets greater respect in countries where cycling also has as a financial benefit in moving around due to not being able to afford a car? Just added to my Google to do list to see if there are accident statistics for countries with a greater cycling population.


Now back to the topic. I typically regard myself as non judgmental but I have noticed that the drivers who do not respect bicyclers that obey traffic laws are usually young and ill-educated.
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Old 03-29-17, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by churnman
Now back to the topic. I typically regard myself as non judgmental but I have noticed that the drivers who do not respect bicyclers that obey traffic laws are usually young and ill-educated.
I would change that to incomplete education as the students coming and going from the local collage can be some of the worst.
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Old 03-29-17, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by CB HI
Even without PSAs or knowledge of the law, it will be useful in assigning fault if a motorist hits a cyclist while passing.
Not unless there's video. Probably not even then. "I was giving him 3 feet, he swerved in front of me."

"That video is too hard to judge distances from, inadmissible."
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Old 03-29-17, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Chris0516
Depending on locale i.e. Cleveland, Cincinnati, etc.; watch motorists' come up with countless reasons for not obeying it. Then watch law enforcement come up with countless reasons for not enforcing it.
"Across Ohio, Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati, as well as Bay Village, already have enacted three-foot bike passing laws."

-mr. bill
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Old 03-29-17, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by churnman
Cycling is not regarded well as a form of transportation. I wonder if it gets greater respect in countries where cycling also has as a financial benefit in moving around due to not being able to afford a car? Just added to my Google to do list to see if there are accident statistics for countries with a greater cycling population.


Now back to the topic. I typically regard myself as non judgmental but I have noticed that the drivers who do not respect bicyclers that obey traffic laws are usually young and ill-educated.
Please do follow up on that and post. I moved to Tennessee (which has a 3' law) two years ago from Indiana -which does not- and the difference is amazing. But Tennessee also posts reminders of the law- especially on roads that also display bike route signs. My "close calls" are down by over 90%! The remaining ones are two types- people on cell phones or texting and RENTAL trucks driven by beginners.
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Old 03-29-17, 09:38 AM
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with No enforcement funds , due to tax cuts..
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Old 03-29-17, 12:48 PM
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In my way of thinking ( often wrong or justly criticized just to save other posters the effort) - Lack of enforcement renders a law essentially null and void. Why comply if there is no penalty to not comply. The argument that it adds a yields a charge in the event a cyclist is hit is true, but does little to achieve any goal of the law.

Does allow politicos to claim they are doing something without having to withstand too much criticism from those that object to laws such as this.
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Old 03-29-17, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
with No enforcement funds , due to tax cuts..

they get the money from fines...
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Old 03-29-17, 03:03 PM
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As far as getting the word out I saw it several times, on multiple days, on the local news.
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Old 03-29-17, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by mr_bill
"Across Ohio, Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati, as well as Bay Village, already have enacted three-foot bike passing laws."

-mr. bill
They enacted them. But wait to see if they are observed by motorists, and enforced by law enforcement.
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Old 03-29-17, 11:53 PM
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IMO - the benefit of laws like this isn't in the enforcement, because that affects only a small number of drivers. It lies in (hopefully) changing behavior through education.

Without education, even with enforcement, the law is nothing more than a halfassed "tax" collection scheme. OTOH - education about safe passing, has the potential to change behavior, and I, for one, am more interested in having more drivers pass wider, than punishing the few that are caught not doing so.
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Old 03-30-17, 04:24 AM
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Cincinnati has had this law for 3-4 years now in the city there are many billboards around town saying give cyclist 3 feet clearance
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Old 03-30-17, 05:57 AM
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3 foot or 4 foot, kinda depends on how fast the traffic is moving doesn't it?
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Old 03-30-17, 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY
IMO - the benefit of laws like this isn't in the enforcement, because that affects only a small number of drivers. It lies in (hopefully) changing behavior through education.

Without education, even with enforcement, the law is nothing more than a halfassed "tax" collection scheme. OTOH - education about safe passing, has the potential to change behavior, and I, for one, am more interested in having more drivers pass wider, than punishing the few that are caught not doing so.
However, if education were effective a simple public information campaign, or a series of them would be all that is needed and we would not have the myriad of laws we now have. Although I am generally pretty optimistic about people. it seems like without a lurking "hammer" they are not too inclined to do the right or safe thing.

Last edited by howsteepisit; 03-30-17 at 09:18 AM. Reason: Added not to make myself clear, added a missing s to satisfy CBHI
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Old 03-30-17, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by howsteepisit
However, if education were effective a simple public information campaign, or a series of them would be all that is needed and we would have the myriad of law we now have. Although I am generally pretty optimistic about people. seems like without a lurking "hammer" they are not too inclined to do the right or safe thing.
Without the law, it is as if cyclists are begging, hat in hand for space; with the law, there is authority telling motorists to give space.
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Old 03-30-17, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Rollfast
they get the money from fines...
I was actually wondering what the fine is for a violation. IIRC, in PA it's only $25. Not much of a fine. An expired parking meter ticket in Philly is more than that.
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Old 03-30-17, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by genec
Originally Posted by howsteepisit
However, if education were effective a simple public information campaign, or a series of them would be all that is needed and we would not have the myriad of laws we now have. Although I am generally pretty optimistic about people. it seems like without a lurking "hammer" they are not too inclined to do the right or safe thing.
Without the law, it is as if cyclists are begging, hat in hand for space; with the law, there is authority telling motorists to give space.
Without the clarity of a law, the "education" is just a recommendation, which people have a right to ignore. It's weak.

Having it as a law eliminates the counter arguments that it's optional or that some other smaller distance is just as good.

It's mostly unenforceable but I don't think that's the point.
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Old 03-30-17, 11:24 AM
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I would much rather see cycling advocates focus on how fast cars are going when they pass cyclists, and much less on how close they are. A too close pass can frighten, and also anger but not much else. A too fast pass can... ... This obsession with passing distance completely ignores the lethality of excessive speed being the main factor in cyclist death, if and when a collision occurs. The enforcement of neither close passing or excessive speed passing are likely to be very assiduous. Both would require vastly more law enforcement presence on American roads. $$$$$$$. Not going to happen. Not that it matters. No matter what statute(s) are adopted, the majority of drivers will follow them. At the present time they do not know just how lethal fast passes are. That should change! When they learn to slow down when passing cyclists, more cyclists will benefit. Passing distances can become smaller with no consequences. In many areas 3' is simply not practical, wouldn't you rather a driver slowed to a crawl and slid by you in that case than simply hoping for the best as they blast by at full speed only 1' away?! I would. But drivers need to 1. know what they need to do and 2. they need to be prosecuted by the state, to the fullest extent of the law when the severity of a cyclists injuries indicate that excessive speed was a factor in the accident.
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Old 03-30-17, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm
I would much rather see cycling advocates focus on how fast cars are going when they pass cyclists, and much less on how close they are. ....
I agree, and when non-cycling friends ask, I tell them to allow 1' for every 10mph of their speed. (the cyclist speed doesn't matter). That's easy to learn and manage.

However speed based rules would be impossible to enforce, so are more dependent on education and voluntary compliance. I think that the 3' laws need support by way of public education, which ideally would remind folks that 3' is a minimum, and they should increase the separation when traveling at more than 30mph.

BTW - I think that what would help the most is telling drivers that it's both legal and appropriate to cross center lines, including double yellows, to pass a bicycle when sight lines and distance to oncoming vehicles are adequate. (same rules as for passing cars across a dashed center line). This may call for changes in the law in some states, but is SOP already for many drivers (the ones who pass wide), regardless of the law.
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Last edited by FBinNY; 03-30-17 at 12:03 PM.
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