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Truck violates 3 foot passing law; cyclist dies

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Truck violates 3 foot passing law; cyclist dies

Old 03-07-09, 04:05 AM
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Blue Order
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Truck violates 3 foot passing law; cyclist dies

Well-known Bicyclist Killed
March 6, 2009 - 7:22 PM
John Pless

A man described as one of the biggest advocates of bicycling in Chattanooga was killed early Friday morning while riding his bike to work.

51-year-old David Meek was making his morning commute on Ashland Terrace when police say he was hit by a truck.

Just everyone who is a part of the local bicycling community is feeling a sense of loss with the news that Meek has died.

"Not only was he a fabulous person but a very, very integral part of Chattanooga's bicycling community," said Minya James with Chattanooga Outdoors.

Meek was a husband and father who's life's passion was getting around on two-wheels, whether on the road or off. Meek ran his own machine shop in East Chattanooga where he also custom manufactured titanium bike frames under the name Privateer Bicycles.

Philip Pugliese, bicycle coordinator with Chattanooga Outdoors, said "I'm very, very saddened to hear the news of course, David was a personal friend and we worked professionally together on bicycle advocacy issues for many years."

Meek worked with Pugliese on many projects with Outdoor Chattanooga and served in leadership roles with the Chattanooga Bicycle Club and the Southern Outdoor Recreational Bicycle Association.

Meek also helped establish Chattanooga's Bike To Work program to get more people interested in their health, saving gas and the environment. Pugliese and many others got an e-mail from Meek Friday morning.

"David had actually posted a message encouraging people it was going to be a nice day and to go out and ride you bike to work," Pugliese said.

As Meek was cycling south on Ashland Terrace about 6:30 Friday morning a large truck brushed up against him. Chattanooga police said it appears the truck's bumper caught Meek's saddlebag, causing his bike to crash. He died a short time later.

The law in Tennessee says that vehicles driving on roads like Ashland Terrace must share the road when they come up on bicyclists and yield by giving them at least three feet of space.

"Bicycles are legally considered a vehicle and have every right of way that a vehicle does too," James said.

But many drivers aren't aware of that and advocates like James and Pugliese know first hand how rude and at times dangerous drivers can be around cyclists in the Chattanooga area.

"The bottom line is cyclists are extremely vulnerable and if you make a mistake in a 4,000 pound vehicle the cyclist is typically going to loose in that equation," Pugliese said.

One week ago 51-year-old Ellen Pitman, known as the "Pink Lady," was killed while riding her scooter on Brainerd Road. Police say Warnesta Robins is now charged with failure to yield the right of way.

In Friday's crash police said charges against the truck driver are pending the outcome of their investigation.








Ride in peace, David Meek.

Last edited by Blue Order; 03-12-09 at 10:45 AM.
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Old 03-07-09, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Blue Order View Post
Thanks for posting that link. As I was riding this morning I was astounded by drivers on my early morning, lightly traveled roads with two lanes in my direction who would not move out of the right hand lane, or even slow down as the passed me. While they didn't "buzz" me, the sound of an apparently obliviously driven car is still unnerving. It seems to be just a lack of common courtesy and compassion. I was pretty liberal in dispensing my bicyclist curses this morning after reading that article.

Here in Massachusetts, and I don't have the details, I recall hearing that there is a proposed law to make it mandatory to slow down and give a wide berth to vehicles stopped on the side of the road, with particular reference to police vehicles. Can you believe this has to be made a law? In my darkest thoughts, I sometimes think the only reason cagers don't want to hit a cyclist is that they don't want to scratch their car.

I must admit though in my experience, truck and bus drivers in general are more courteous than auto drivers. I haven't made up my mind if there is any correlation between automobile size and courtesy.
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Old 03-07-09, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Thanks for posting that link. As I was riding this morning I was astounded by drivers on my early morning, lightly traveled roads with two lanes in my direction who would not move out of the right hand lane, or even slow down as the passed me.
Please explain the rationale and/or requirement for one vehicle to slow down when passing another assuming proper clearance is maintained? Specifically, in your opinion, (or in a law if one exists) how slow is a motorist supposed to be when passing a bicyclist?
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Old 03-07-09, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Please explain the rationale and/or requirement for one vehicle to slow down when passing another assuming proper clearance is maintained? Specifically, in your opinion, (or in a law if one exists) how slow is a motorist supposed to be when passing a bicyclist?
No requirement, just a rationale, IMO, since the cyclist is unshielded from the noise and mass of an upcoming car:

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
... While they didn't "buzz" me, the sound of an apparently obliviously driven car is still unnerving. It seems to be just a lack of common courtesy and compassion. I was pretty liberal in dispensing my bicyclist curses this morning after reading that article.

Here in Massachusetts, and I don't have the details, I recall hearing that there is a proposed law to make it mandatory to slow down and give a wide berth to vehicles stopped on the side of the road, with particular reference to police vehicles....

I must admit though in my experience, truck and bus drivers in general are more courteous than auto drivers. I haven't made up my mind if there is any correlation between automobile size and courtesy.
As I mentioned, some drivers do slow down and give me extra clearance, for which I am liberal in bestowing bicycling blessings. Actually, on a heavily traveled road, I don't really expect any special courtesy from drivers, and I just watch out for myself with my rearview mirror. I guess I expect on a heavily traveled road, the drivers may be more alert since the have to be more careful for their own safety besides that of a cyclist (or a stopped police vehicle.) Furthermore, on a heavily traveled road, drivers are forewarned of my presence by the preceding cars and are probably better maintained in their position by the flow of trafffic. When a single car passes, my safety depends more on the alertness, skill and depth perception of that single driver.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 03-07-09 at 08:51 AM.
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Old 03-07-09, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Please explain the rationale and/or requirement for one vehicle to slow down when passing another assuming proper clearance is maintained?
Common sense.......If I am in my car and I see a puppy on the side of the road I slow down when I pass it. I would expect at least the same amount of consideration for an actual human being.
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Old 03-07-09, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Please explain the rationale and/or requirement for one vehicle to slow down when passing another assuming proper clearance is maintained? Specifically, in your opinion, (or in a law if one exists) how slow is a motorist supposed to be when passing a bicyclist?
15 miles per hour for every 12 inches they give me. If they're doing 45 I'd better get at least 3 feet. Trucks (10 and 18 wheelers) should give more space per speed because they create a significantly larger low pressure zone.

Some kind of minimum should probably be added to that. Like a foot. So at 45mph you need to give 4 feet.

If I'm hogging the far left side of the right lane and they're in the left lane then it's my problem for being in a stupid place.

I don't know what the other guy things but for me it's a space/speed trade off. I feel like I'm buzzed if either:
1. I could reach out and touch their car.
2. I feel as if I'm being sucked into their cars path when they get ahead of me.
3. They floor it before they get ahead of me.
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Old 03-07-09, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by garysol1 View Post
Common sense.......If I am in my car and I see a puppy on the side of the road I slow down when I pass it. I would expect at least the same amount of consideration for an actual human being.
Yeah, it's always amazed me that folks will give room to a dog, but not another person.
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Old 03-07-09, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by crhilton View Post
15 miles per hour for every 12 inches they give me. If they're doing 45 I'd better get at least 3 feet. Trucks (10 and 18 wheelers) should give more space per speed because they create a significantly larger low pressure zone.
That's basically what I go by - I could care less about someone (not a truck or bus) passing less than 3 feet away if they're only going 5mph faster than I am.

Since I ride to school, I'm typically passed by several school buses, all of which give me the entire lane and wait for the largest gaps in oncoming traffic (they also turn their hazard lights on while doing so; not quite sure why). When a semi truck comes behind me, I either pull off the road or slow down when the truck is passing, since they never wait nearly as long as school bus drivers for gaps.

Based on my definition of getting 'buzzed', i've only been buzzed once - that was when I was a few inches inside a bike lane and someone flew by (without moving over) in the right lane at probably 45mph or so.
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Old 03-07-09, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
No requirement, just a rationale, IMO, since the cyclist is unshielded from the noise and mass of an upcoming car:



As I mentioned, some drivers do slow down and give me extra clearance, for which I am liberal in bestowing bicycling blessings. Actually, on a heavily traveled road, I don't really expect any special courtesy from drivers, and I just watch out for myself with my rearview mirror.
That is exactly the point I wanted to make.

Anyone who expects/demands that all traffic on heavily traveled roads and streets be required to "slow down" in the presence of a bicyclist, as if the bicyclist were a bewildered lost puppy dog, is an unwitting advocate for getting cyclists removed by law from such roads and streets.
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Old 03-07-09, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post

Anyone who expects/demands that all traffic on heavily traveled roads and streets be required to "slow down" in the presence of a bicyclist, as if the bicyclist were a bewildered lost puppy dog, is an unwitting advocate for getting cyclists removed by law from such roads and streets.
You changed what you said....You never mentioned HEAVILY traveled roads. That is a whole different scenario then just riding down a two lane road where drivers can safely back off a little when passing. If I am riding on a heavily traveled road I expect fast and close moving traffic. I have put myself in that situation.
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Old 03-07-09, 10:42 AM
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It's definitely speed combined with distance. If I'm in the right portion of the right lane, and a vehicle gives me the width of that lane and pulls left into yet another lane, I don't really care how fast he/she is moving. If the adjacent lane is not clear for their use, they should either wait to pass me or at least slow down if passing me in my lane.

It amazes me how many drivers act as thought their brakes are inoperative and they have absolutely no choice other than passing me at that moment. It's as if their car would melt if it they slowed to acknowledge my presence on the road.

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Old 03-07-09, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by garysol1 View Post
You changed what you said....You never mentioned HEAVILY traveled roads. That is a whole different scenario then just riding down a two lane road where drivers can safely back off a little when passing. If I am riding on a heavily traveled road I expect fast and close moving traffic. I have put myself in that situation.
I asked about laws or rationales for expecting vehicles to slow down without passing. You replied with a rationale that motorists should treat cyclists on the street at least as well as a puppy dog by the side of the road

Presumably motorists (and politicians, police officials) should believe that cyclists have just as much justification for being near the road as a puppy dog.

Seems the situation is clarified now. There is a world of difference between cycling on lightly traveled streets and busy streets, and also seems a world of difference between the expectations of cyclists who routinely ride one type rather than the other.
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Old 03-07-09, 11:30 AM
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What I can't understand is the need the cagers think they have to race and to show no courtesy for anybody or anything else on or near the road.
Not puppies, not bicycles, not motorcycles, nor other cars. Racing to me seems insane since there is always a red light just up ahead that they have to wait at.
I always show courtesy to other cars or trucks (in my car, or on my motorcycle) that a: need to change lanes, b: have made a wrong turn and need to move somewhere else, c: that are looking for an address or driveway to turn into and can't see it yet, d: are driving slower, etc.
Why not? All the racing does is get you to the next light faster, where you stomp on the brakes and wait. Then the bike or motorcycle catches up.
All the racing does is assure you will have an accident, and you do not get anywhere faster. And it puts more wear and tear on your car, and uses more gas.
Courtesy extended to others makes you feel better.
The logic of space between vehicles is so they don't collide.
Collisions slow you down a lot.
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Old 03-07-09, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Here in Massachusetts, and I don't have the details, I recall hearing that there is a proposed law to make it mandatory to slow down and give a wide berth to vehicles stopped on the side of the road, with particular reference to police vehicles. Can you believe this has to be made a law? ....
BOSTON (AP) ―
Trooper Cresta was investigating an accident on the Massachusetts Turnpike in Newton when he was hit by an alleged drunken driver. Some lawmakers are calling for a new law to protect state troopers at traffic stops on highways.

The push for a so-called "move over" law comes after trooper Dana Cresta was hit early Saturday in the breakdown lane on the Massachusetts Turnpike westbound at Newton.

Police said the 49-year-old Cresta received injuries to his head, face, legs and ribs and was hospitalized at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

Police said Cresta was investigating a single-car crash when 23-year-old Patrick Sullivan of Framingham hit him with his Nissan Maxima.

The "move over" bill would require drivers to slow down and give wide berth to emergency vehicles parked on the roads with their lights flashing or face a ticket of at least $100.

( 2009 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Though I applaud this bill to avert tragedies, puppy dogs and cyclists, even those riding to the right of the white line, need not apply.

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Old 03-07-09, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
BOSTON (AP) ―
Trooper Cresta was investigating an accident on the Massachusetts Turnpike in Newton when he was hit by an alleged drunken driver. Some lawmakers are calling for a new law to protect state troopers at traffic stops on highways.

The push for a so-called "move over" law comes after trooper Dana Cresta was hit early Saturday in the breakdown lane on the Massachusetts Turnpike westbound at Newton. [SNIP]
Though I applaud this bill to avert tragedies, puppy dogs and cyclists, even those riding to the right of the white line, need not apply.
How this bill, if it had been enacted prior to the accident on the Massachusetts Turnpike shoulder would have averted the tragedy escapes me. How this bill, if enacted, will avert any future tragedies where motorists leave the road to hit vehicles and people on the shoulder also escapes me.

Seems to me to be an empty gesture to do "something" about a tragedy regardless if it is likely to have any positive impact.
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Old 03-07-09, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
How this bill, if it had been enacted prior to the accident on the Massachusetts Turnpike shoulder would have averted the tragedy escapes me. How this bill, if enacted, will avert any future tragedies where motorists leave the road to hit vehicles and people on the shoulder also escapes me.

Seems to me to be an empty gesture to do "something" about a tragedy regardless if it is likely to have any positive impact.
Yep and gives law enforcement another charge to bring... IMHO you only need about 5 motor vehicle laws. 1) Failure to maintain control resulting in property damage, 2) Failure to maintain control resulting in injury. 3) Failure to maintain control resulting in death. 4) Failure to maintain control period (which would cover swerving, illegal passing, etc, etc. And 5) Driving under influence (which would cover cellphones, oatmeal, alcohol, drugs, makeup, cigarettes, children, irate spouses and anything else used to distract the driver.

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Old 03-07-09, 03:01 PM
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They just had a moped rider die when a car pulled out in front of it. The only thing the driver was charged with was "failure to yield".
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Old 03-07-09, 05:16 PM
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There's no 3-foot rule or law in Tennessee. The driver claims he "didn't see" the cyclist until he had already hit him. Apparently he "buzzed" the rider, and the right running board of the truck snagged the left pannier on the bike, jerking bike and rider down & under the truck's rear wheels.
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Old 03-07-09, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Pscyclepath View Post
There's no 3-foot rule or law in Tennessee.
According to this site, Tennessee does have a 3 foot passing law.


Originally Posted by Pscyclepath View Post
The driver claims he "didn't see" the cyclist until he had already hit him.
An admission that he wasn't keeping a proper lookout.

It's going to be up to the legal profession to hammer on "I didn't see him" until it's no longer seen as an excuse, but rather, an admission of negligence.
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Old 03-07-09, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
Yep and gives law enforcement another charge to bring... IMHO you only need about 5 motor vehicle laws. 1) Failure to maintain control resulting in property damage, 2) Failure to maintain control resulting in injury. 3) Failure to maintain control resulting in death. 4) Failure to maintain control period (which would cover swerving, illegal passing, etc, etc. And 5) Driving under influence (which would cover cellphones, oatmeal, alcohol, drugs, makeup, cigarettes, children, irate spouses and anything else used to distract the driver.

Aaron
If a person decides to drive under the influence of anything or any extraneous activity, including lack of sleep, illness, "cellphones, oatmeal, alcohol, drugs, makeup, cigarettes, children, irate spouses", etc. then this is also a case of choosing to drive in circumstances where proper control of the vehicle is likely compromised.

It is very simple if a person passes out, falls asleep, composes a text message, writes a novel, changes a daiper, disciplines a kid, etc. then by definition they are no longer driving (in control of) the car. So your number 5 is actually the same as 1 through 4.

I see no need to distinguish between any of your proposed laws, the outcomes may differ, but otherwise the laws are identical. i.e. There should only be one law that can be broken - failure to maintain control.

I would extend this to include the following types of scenario - if a driver chooses to drive after rain and the temperature falls below the freezing point of water resulting in black ice, then any loss of control driving over the ice that resulted in any collision and damage (to person or property other than the driver and the driver's property including vehicle) would be considered a culpable crime. Ditto loss of control, due to encountering surface water, mud, landslide, etc.

Having said that, how does this answer the scenario in the earlier post of a driver (in control) that pulls out in front of a scooter rider, killing them, and only gets charged with 'failure to yield'?

The notion that heavy or light traffic should have some bearing on rider expectations is nonsense - under no circumstances should a rider expect their safety to be compromised by other road users. If a driver sees a sign that says "Animals crossing", this is not to suggest they get their camera ready because they might get to photograph Bambi, its because animals on the road are known to be vulnerable and larger animals, for example cows, can do considerable damage to the vehicle (and occupants). The sign is telling drivers to slow down and pay more attention and be ready to stop if necessary.

Some states are now recognizing and codifying laws to further protect the class of road users considered vulnerable, this class includes cyclists. This real world activity is the opposite of the potential threat described by I-Like-To-Vomit-On-Other-Peoples-Threads above:
Anyone who expects/demands that all traffic on heavily traveled roads and streets be required to "slow down" in the presence of a bicyclist, as if the bicyclist were a bewildered lost puppy dog, is an unwitting advocate for getting cyclists removed by law from such roads and streets".
Here is a photo with rule 163 from the UK Highway code, oh look another recognition of a vulnerable road user
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Old 03-07-09, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by HoustonB View Post
Some states are now recognizing and codifying laws to further protect the class of road users considered vulnerable, this class includes cyclists. This real world activity is the opposite of the potential threat described by I-Like-To-Vomit-On-Other-Peoples-Threads above:


Here is a photo with rule 163 from the UK Highway code, oh look another recognition of a vulnerable road user
Speaking of vomit, Jack, name one state in the "real world" that requires passing motorists to slow down before or while passing any type of vehicle. You might also explain how such a law or practice provides any additional safety for the passed vehicle in your "real world." In fact, you might even explain how such a slow down law would have protected the victim in the OP.

Apparently you can't distinguish between giving proper clearance and slowing down. Perhaps your own bile is clouding your ability to digest what you read.

Last edited by I-Like-To-Bike; 03-07-09 at 08:33 PM.
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Old 03-07-09, 08:34 PM
  #22  
HoustonB
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Speaking of vomit, Jack, name one state in the "real world" that requires passing motorists to slow down before or while passing any type of vehicle. You might also explain how such a law or practice provides any additional safety for the passed vehicle in your "real world." Apparently you can't distinguish between giving proper clearance and slowing down. Perhaps your own bile is clouding your ability to digest what you read.
You are implying that if common sense is not formally codified in law then it should not be considered common sense. Please do not ask me to disprove a negative - at no point have I stated or implied that a law exists requiring anyone to slow down prior to, or during overtaking. Given that I have never made such a claim in the first place, why would I want to go further and "explain how such a law or practice provides any additional safety"?

It is a common tactic of yours along with references to "Jack" as in Jackass.
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Old 03-07-09, 08:46 PM
  #23  
I-Like-To-Bike
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Originally Posted by HoustonB View Post
It is a common tactic of yours along with references to "Jack" as in Jackass.
If the shoe fits, wear it. You are the whatever who is accusing me of vomiting on this thread because I specifically questioned several poster's specifically stated expectation that drivers should slow down whenever approaching a bicyclist.
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Old 03-07-09, 08:53 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
How this bill, if it had been enacted prior to the accident on the Massachusetts Turnpike shoulder would have averted the tragedy escapes me. How this bill, if enacted, will avert any future tragedies where motorists leave the road to hit vehicles and people on the shoulder also escapes me.

Seems to me to be an empty gesture to do "something" about a tragedy regardless if it is likely to have any positive impact.
In Missouri they passed that law a few years ago and put up signs all along every major roadway. I have seen a HUGE decrease in people passing right by an emergency vehicle. In fact I have not seen it since. RIght after the law was passed the troopers were working in pairs. One would make a traffic stop and the other would wait behind for someone to not move over then he would go pull them over as well.

I dont think we have had a trooper die since whereas the year before the bill was passed we had several get killed.

I think those laws work if they are well advertised.
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Old 03-07-09, 09:50 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by Pscyclepath View Post
There's no 3-foot rule or law in Tennessee. The driver claims he "didn't see" the cyclist until he had already hit him. Apparently he "buzzed" the rider, and the right running board of the truck snagged the left pannier on the bike, jerking bike and rider down & under the truck's rear wheels.
The “Jeff Roth and Brian Brown Bicycle Protection Act of 2007” was signed into law on May 3, 2007, by Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen. Tennessee joins a handful of states that have moved forward to further protect cyclists on our roadways.
Passed without opposition in both the House and Senate, this act provides that “the operator of a motor vehicle when overtaking and passing a bicycle proceeding in the same direction on the roadway, shall leave a safe distance between the motor vehicle and the bicycle of not less than three feet (3’) and shall maintain such clearance until safely past the overtaken bicycle.”
A violation of this section is a Class C misdemeanor.

https://www.bikechattanooga.org/Bicyc...ectionAct.html
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