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Giving Bicycles Room: Legal Standards for Passing Slow-Moving Vehicles

As bicycles become more of the common traffic on busy roads across America, it’s important to make sure that “regular” motorists are educated on how to share the road. With today’s energy concerns and personal health awareness, many are choosing to use their own “human power” to get where they need to go. Unfortunately, many of them face dangers on the road from ill-advised or non-advised drivers who don’t understand the rules.

Bicycle AccidentOne of the most misunderstood aspects of bicycling on busy roads is that the bicycle commands space as a vehicle. Too many drivers don’t know that there are legal guidelines for passing bikes, and that the car or truck doesn’t just “own the lane” with bikes relegated to the shoulders. As the bicycle safety resource BicyclingInfo.org points out, the majority of state traffic codes provide a mandatory two feet or more for passing a bike. That applies even if the bike is partially in a lane of traffic.

In places where drivers are used to dealing with slow-moving traffic (think Amish communities with their common low-mph horse-drawn buggies) drivers may have a better idea of how to pass slower vehicles, but even in these areas, many drivers just don’t get that a bicycle, despite its small frame and lack of bully engine apparatus, is a vehicle, and protected by the rules of the road. And many certainly don’t know that the law provides guidelines for passing bikes. A large number of the tragic bicycle accidents that happen across the country are caused by this ignorance of the law, which won’t help a driver when they are hauled into court.

If you are someone in your family has been injured in a bicycle accident, call the Orange County Personal Injury Attorney Samer Habbas at 888-848-5084 to learn about any legal recourse available to you under the law.