Ohio Bicyclists Protected by New 3-foot Rule
Ohio Governor John Kasich has signed HB 154 into law, establishing safe passing distance for cars passing bicyclists. The old law mentioned only “safe” passing distance. The new law, which goes into effect March 19, 2017, defines that distance as a yardstick: three feet. Twenty-six other states have already adopted the standard. An agreed-upon passing margin will improve safety for cyclists, and it’s an enforceable statute. The bill was passed by the House last May and by the Senate on December 12, 2016.
The second element of HB 154 is to permit all Ohio vehicles to proceed through an intersection after stopping and yielding right-of-way when the vehicle is not detected by the device designed to switch the signal from red to green. Many intersections modify traffic signals when a signal detects that a vehicle is waiting to pass. However, bicycles and even some motorcycles may be too light to trip the signal. The bill says that it is legal for bicyclists to stop, yield the right-of-way, and proceed with caution if the signal is malfunctioning.
Ohio Representative Michael Sheehy is a primary sponsor of the bill and had pressed it forward since it was introduced in April of 2015. The Ohio Bicycle Federation is another strong advocate for the bill, publicizing it and working with bike clubs across the state to build support. TMACOG Transportation Public Administration Specialist Christine Connell is the Secretary for the Ohio Bicycle Federation Board. She has worked with Board President Chuck Smith on this effort. TMACOG leadership wrote a letter in support and endorsed a resolution supporting the bill last September.
Chuck Smith, Board President of the Ohio Bicycle Federation; and
Representative Mike Sheehy, a sponsor of House Bill 154.