Anyone who has spent time bicycling in Colorado has probably experienced the spine-tingling fear of a passing motorist who comes too close for comfort. Have you ever been buzzed by a car that gets too close to you when you are riding your bike on the road? As cyclists in Colorado for many years, Colorado Bicycle Accident Attorneys Brian Weiss and Jason Crawford know that experience of cars getting too close for comfort.
Fortunately, a Colorado law gives cyclists more room on the roads. Colorado’s bicycle law gives cyclists a three foot cushion when cars pass bikes on the road. There are other provisions in the new law which give protection to cyclists as well. This law became effective on August 5, 2009.
Some other states, like Michigan, have no safe passing law at all. As reported by Michigan Bike Law Lawyer Bryan Waldman, twenty-one states and the District of Columbia have enacted “three foot passing laws,” mandating that the safe distance to pass a cyclist shall be no less than three feet. (Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, and Wisconsin). Pennsylvania has a four foot passing law, and Virginia has a two foot passing law. California recently passed a three foot passing law, but it will not take effect until September 14, 2014. Additionally, nineteen states (including South Carolina) have “general passing laws,” which require vehicles to pass bicyclists at a safe distance and speed, but do not provide a specific minimum distance for passing.
The new law can be found in the Colorado statutes at section 42-4-1002 and it provides more safe and bike-friendly rules for bicycles and cars on public roads. Here are the key provisions:
In addition to the three foot passing requirement, the law gives drivers more flexibility to safely pass a bicyclist by allowing them to cross the centerline when it is safe to do so.
The law gives bicyclists the ability to ride as far right as is safe. Also, on one-way roads with more than one lane, bicyclists may also ride as far left as is safe.
MORE THAN ONE RIDER
The law clarifies that bicyclists may pass one another or ride side-by-side if they are not impeding the normal flow of traffic.
The law makes throwing any object, such as a beer can, at a bicyclist a misdemeanor crime, and also makes driving towards a bicyclist in a dangerous manner a careless driving offense.