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.
One 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.